Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 31, 2007 - Classifiction

Classifiction for Classification is a case of a missing vowel that brings a chuckle, and images of the works of Twain, Hemingway, Steinbeck and Faulkner who all wrote classy fiction. Even though it is unlikely that this word would be legitimate in any database, we always recommend that you check each record individually. If nothing else, the word may be followed by a 'sic.' This is found on our D List at, meaning that the word has a low probability of being found in an opac.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30, 2007 - Witchita

Witchita for Wichita was not chosen for any particular reason other than the fact that it amused us this morning. We probably should have held out for Halloween, but it just wasn't meant to be. This is the rarest sort of typo - a letter added that shouldn't be there. This can be found in the C section of the library typos pages, meaning that it was found between 8 and 15 times in Ohiolink. We assume that this typo applies to both the city in Kansas and Wichita Falls, TX. In any case, if this typo is in your catalog, you're not in Kansas anymore.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 29, 2007 - Envrionmental

Envrionmental for Environmental is a welcome relief from all of those typos that have missing "i's," and also gives us a chance to highlight a topic that is much in the news lately. While driving to work this morning, we heard Dave Ross's radio commentary in which he relates that farmers in Greenland love global warming because it is giving them more farm land, and also generating a new supply of ultra-pure water which they employ in the production of beer. Back to the topic at hand, this inverted word was prevalent enough to show up on the 'B' list of our typographical errors pages, meaning that the word was found at least 16 times in OHIOLink. Indeed, this morning we found more than 30 hits there. However, it only came in at a modest 150,000 plus hits on Google today.

Friday, May 25, 2007

May 25, 2007 – Jame

When A. A. Milne wrote the rollicking line "James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree…" there could only have been one person answering to that handle. But some names are so similar they give rise to a highly ambiguous typo: Jame can be a misspelled reference to either James or Jane.
(It can also be a correctly spelled foreign-language word, or a surname, or even—given the creativity some parents are seized with when it comes time to label the baby—a quirky English forename.) This probable typo pops up 133 times in OhioLINK. You may have to do some checking to figure out whether your "Jame" is a Jane or a James, although you can often determine that from the context, as names generally appear more than once on a bibliographic record.

Carol Reid

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 24, 2007 – Metropolitian

Many typos involve words that end in –ion or –ian or –ious, where the i has been accidentally omitted. (Typical examples include: Administraton, Associaton, Christan, Civilizaton, Collecton, Divison, Editon, Educaton, Exhibiton, Foundaton, Informaton, Musican, Physican, Politican, Populaton, Technican, Translatin, Transportaton, and Varous.) Less common is the reverse situation, like that of today's typo, in which the ending –an is incorrectly rendered –ian. But that's far from the only way to misspell this classic moniker for art museums, opera houses, newspapers, and insurance policies, along with trains, cars, beds, guitars, and more. Other forms of this typo found on the Ballard list include:



(Illustration is from a poster for the 1927 German film Metropolis by Fritz Lang.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May 23, 2007 - Fo

As the giant at the end of Jack's beanstalk liked to say: Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman! I, on the other hand, smell a "very high probability" typo in Fo, which shows up 1,819 times in OhioLINK and 212 times in my own OPAC. When it is a typo, it usually means of or to or for. In many cases, though, Fo is part of a proper name, like that of Dario Fo, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, or many Chinese people. FO is also a type of page layout software (Formatting Objects) and can stand for "financial officer," among other things. Whether friend or foe, you'll find a lot of these along the way, so take care not to commit another "fo pas" when clearing your database of this common typo. (Illustration is by Arthur Rackham.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 22, 2007 - Fascimile

Facsimiles are rarely as fascinating as the real thing. Truth, as they say, is often stranger than fiction. One noteworthy fact about them, though, is the way the word is so frequently misspelled Fascimile. Typos are begotten of various reasons, one being ignorance of the correct spelling, another arising from the arrangement of the keyboard, and yet a third having to do with a plethora of similar words where the troublesome letters are reversed. The last seems to be what is going on here. This word is both written and pronounced exactly the way it sounds, but the eyes and ears may have trouble telling it to the hand. Merriam Webster contains approximately three dozen words beginning with faci– and about the same for fasc–. However, there is only one word beginning with facs—and that's facsimile. The Ballard list of library typos puts Fascim* in its "highest probability" category and there are 28 examples of it in OhioLINK. Another variant is Fasimil*, which occurs six times.

Carol Reid

Monday, May 21, 2007

May 21, 2007 – Abstact*

Abstact* appears 22 times in OhioLINK and 181 times in WorldCat (on keyword searches of Abstact, Abstacts, and Abstacted) and also ranks in the "high probability" portion of the Ballard list. No need to be tactful with this distracting typo. You can retract and redact every one of these stat, without having to dodge any false hits, since Abstact does not appear to do double duty as a proper noun, place name, or foreign word. Of course, all abstractions must be taken with a grain of salt, so make sure to examine the source when the typo appears in a transcribed field, and apply "sic" as needed.

Carol Reid

Friday, May 18, 2007

May 18, 2007 - Resarch

Resarch for Research is a high probability typo. It's a difficult word to spell correctly! Of the 83 hits in OhioLINK, two records had either [sic] or [i.e. Research]--meaning that the author, publisher, or printer had difficulty spelling the word as well. The typo "Resarch" can be found in almost every field of the bibliographic record, doing the most harm in series and corporate body name headings. "Research" is used frequently as a subject subdivision and deserves an investigation in your own catalog.

Wendee Eyler

Thursday, May 17, 2007

May 17, 2007 - Editoral

Editoral for Editorial is on the high probability list as a typo in most catalogs. A check of OhioLINK resulted in 81 hits for "Editoral" with the majority of hits being in two categories. One category was for the English language "Editoral" board, or staff, or directors, or consultants, or assistance, usually in the subfield "c" portion of the title field. The other category fell into non-English language typos, usually Spanish or Italian languages, with "Editoral" as a typo in a publisher's name. Editorial comment: The Typographical Errors in Library Databases list deals with identifying and correcting English language typos.

Wendee Eyler

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

May 16, 2007 - Lastest

Lastest for Latest.
Have you heard the latest?
A high percentage of "Lastest" typos are hidden in contents and summary notes, with a smaller percentage in title fields. Take care not to correct the title "Lastest Gun in the West"--a title used both in The New Three Stooges television series and the season 13 episode from the television series The Simpsons with guest star Dennis Weaver.

Wendee Eyler

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May 15, 2007 - Yeild

Yeild for Yield.
Remember "i before e except after c"--there are some exceptions, but Yield is not one of them. Check for word ending variations as well, such as "Yeilds" and "Yeilding," or truncate your search when possible in your own online system to yield the best possible results.

Wendee Eyler

Monday, May 14, 2007

May 14, 2007 - Enlish

Enlish for English.
Most libraries will have a high probability of finding Enlish in their online catalogs. The typo will be found in titles, particularly subfield "c" of the 245: "…translated into Enlish by …" and subfield "l" in uniform titles: "Gigi. $l Enlish". Also, 500/546 note fields have a high occurrence rate: "… Enlish translation by …" and "In Enlish and Spanish." If time is short for correcting typos, at least check subject headings. Common typos include: "Enlish literature" and "Romances, Enlish."

Wendee Eyler

Friday, May 11, 2007

May 11, 2007 - Kindgom

A simple transposition error, Kindgom occurs 22 times in OhioLINK. Add a truncation mark and the number jumps to 27. Adding "and not sic" to the search strategy did not reduce the number of records retrieved, so it's likely (but not surely) that the errors are those of catalogers rather than of the materials producers.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

May 10, 2007 - Idenit*

Fifteen cases of mistaken idenit* were found recently in OhioLINK. These include the forms:


And in one case, even a German-language error (how rare!): Idenität

Be careful not to "correct" this title: Celtic minded 2 : essays on Celtic, football culture and idenity [sic].

If you elide the t while speaking, perhaps you can identify with this post.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

May 9, 2007 - Illl**

This is the third and final post on errors beginning with Illl. Note the double asterisk. Truncation marks vary among automated systems. OhioLINK instructs:

Use * for right-hand or embedded truncation of 1-5 characters.
Examples: environment* gentle*n
Use ** for right-hand-only truncation of any number of characters.
Example: gender ident**
Use ? for right-hand or embedded truncation of a single character.
Example: duck?
The * and ? truncation characters must have at least 2 characters to their LEFT.
Example: gentlem?n

Eliminating the two words we've already brought to your attention, twenty-one instances of the eye-triple-ell error are still to be found. They include:

Beware of cases not in error, such as: 'Kjwalll'kje'k'kootha ïlll'kje'k (That's right, 'Kjwalll'kje'k'kootha ïlll'kje'k)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

May 8, 2007 - Illlustrations


Three l's showed up in sixteen records in OhioLINK yesterday. Depending on how your local system indexes data, you might also find the abbreviation illl. in field 300b of your MARC record. Or, for pre-AACR2 cataloging, illlus. Watch out, though, for the International Lutheran Laymen's League, an organization whose initialism is sadly omitted from the web site

Monday, May 7, 2007

May 7, 2007 - Illlustrated


Can you see the typo in this picture? That will in part depend on how the letters L and I are displayed in your catalog. Try changing the case. A search for illlustrated as a complete word in OhioLINK today retrieved 35 records. More tomorrow on other variations of the eye-triple-ell error.

Friday, May 4, 2007

May 4, 2007 - Atmopsheric

Atmopsheric for Atmospheric is one of those typos that we had to look at twice before we figured out what was wrong. This shows up in the 'C,' or moderate probability list of the library typos site at listing shows as a truncation that would also cover 'Atmopshere,' but the main problem here is clearly atmopsheric, which is present in more than 40 records in Worldcat.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

May 3, 2007 - Los Angles

Los Angles for Los Angeles has its entertaining possibilities. From what we have read, Los Angeles is full of people trying to sell new angles on old stories to studios and networks. This is on the high probability section of the main library typos page at The chances that Los Angles will be in your library are fairly high, since the term shows up nearly 250 times in WorldCat. Even that doesn't tell the entire story. Here is the scenario that often happens. A new best-selling book appears. There is a typo somewhere in the record that is first produced. Hundreds of libraries catalog this book, and most of them do not see the typo. A month or so later, OCLC finds the typo and fixes it, but most of the damage has already been done. Years later, the Libtypos volunteers find it and publish it to the web pages.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May 2, 2007 - Enviroment

The environment has been the subject of much discussion lately, so we were interested in the typo Enviroment on the Highest probability section of the Library Typos page at In looking over the results, we found that this made the A list for a good reason - there are more than 400 of these in Worldcat, and 5 million in Google. As usual, we urge librarians to look at each record before making a correction. This could be a case where the typo occurs in the book and is marked with a 'sic.' This is more than just a theory - when one types enviroment and sic in worldcat, there are 9 hits. There is also the possibility that this typo occurs deliberately in a poem or song title. There are no sure things in this line of work.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May 1, 2007 - Aniversary

Today is May Day, and a day rich in anniversaries, so we chose the most prevalent typo for this word - aniversary. If Elvis had stayed married and alive, he would be celebrating his 40th anniversary with Priscilla today. Fifteen years ago today, Rodney King asked if we could all just get along. More recently, on May 1, 2003 President George W. Bush made his "mission accomplished" speech. This appears to be one of those words that people aren't sure how to spell - that's why there are nearly a million hits for aniversary in Google. In our pages of typographical errors, this makes the B list
Naturally, there are other variations in the lower lists, such as 'Anniversay.'