Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wordly (for Worldly)

Sadly, in a word, this is one that really should be one, but somehow isn't. There are 24 instances in OhioLINK of Wordly and, although some are intentional puns (as seems only apt in this case), most of them are typos for worldly. The men who began compiling the Oxford English Dictionary in 1860 were undoubtedly both worldly and wordly, perhaps none so much as the "madman" in Simon Winchester's wonderful book The Professor and the Madman—William Chester Minor, pictured here.

Note: The Urban Dictionary includes the word wordly, claiming it means both "awesome" and "indeed." Wordly.

Carol Reid

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thoer* (for Theory)

O before e except after th? That's just a theory and not a very good one at that. As, it turns out, is the one that goes, "I before e except after c." (Too many exceptions, not enough rule.) In the case of theory, OhioLINK finds 54 exceptions to the rule, proving that Thoer* is a typo of "high probability." So remember: your theory might not always be correct, but you can always spell it correctly. (Pictured is the exceptional 1918 Thor motorbike, manufactured by the Aurora Machine & Tool Company in Chicago, Illinois.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nothern (for Northern)

There's no place like home, as Dorothy once said, but sometimes there's no direction home, as Dylan once did. Nothern was located 54 times in OhioLINK, making it a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. In the film version of The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow at one point points in all directions at once and no direction at all. The book's author L. Frank Baum took his first steps in Chittenango, New York—about a hundred miles due northwest of here. (Editorial cartoon from the January 17, 1987, Chicago Tribune, upon the death of Ray Bolger.)

Carol Reid

Monday, January 28, 2008

Extraod* (for Extraordinary)

From the so-called "human oddities" of the erstwhile circus to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, what is oftimes seen as odd may be mostly in the eye of the beholder, and it may also include most of you. Only a lucky geeky few, however, have that extra something special. Extraod* appears in OhioLINK 14 times, Extrordin* seven times, and Extaordin* six times. (In an ad entitled "Odd-Shaped Eyeglasses Express Personality," which ran in a 1936 issue of Popular Mechanics—apparently without irony—"a heart-shaped pair, for feminine wear, is illustrated.")

Carol Reid

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vidore*, etc. (for Videorecording)

Vidore* is a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list, recorded five times in OhioLINK. And, considering the way videorecordings and the VCRs that played them have largely gone to that great blue-screen graveyard up yonder (or should that be out yonder, in our landfills?) where all media formats are summarily dispatched shortly after we just start getting used to them, we probably won't be seeing a whole lot more. On a far graver note, the waters around the island of Vido, near Corfu, are called the Blue Graveyard (or Plava Grobnica) after a World War I poem written by Milutin Bojić. (Photograph of Blue Graveyard Memorial from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Orgin* (for Origin)

When it comes to making a martini, just as there are staunch stirrers and unshakable shakers (as well as whisperers and eschewers of vermouth), there are also lemon lovers and olive snobs. And let's not forget the age-old debate: vodka or gin? With 139 hits in OhioLINK, Orgin* (for origin et al.) is a highly probable typo, its potency heightened by the fact that there are a number of different words for which it could be intended, many of which are commonly found in bibliographic records. For the Albany Institute of History and Art's 2005 Edible Books Festival, I submitted a Princess and the Pea layer cake in honor of the 200th anniversary that month of Hans Christian Anderson's birth—but my favorite entry was this martini setting meant to illustrate the book title Oliver Twist. (Created by Rich and Karen Nicholson, photo courtesy of AIHA.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Horicultur* (for Horticulture)

With eight lapses in OhioLINK (two of which were original sins), Horicultur* would appear to be a low-to-moderate type typo. Robert Service was an Englishman of Scottish descent who moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, when he was 21 years old. A popular, accessible, serviceable writer, Service became known as the "Canadian Kipling." He had a rather rough-and-tumble approach to his subject matter and I can recall my own father reciting "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" with a certain gusto and flair. In another poem, titled "My Madonna," the poet seems to have positioned his tongue in his cheek, while at the same time modeling the attitude of Christ himself:

I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model's seat
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture and went away.
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
"'Tis Mary, the Mother of God."

So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire,
Where you and all may see.

(Portrait of Robert Service from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ecstacy (for Ecstasy)

Scaling the heights of the Ballard list, there are 112 hits of Ecstacy in OhioLINK, revealing what is clearly a very commonly misspelled word. This is most likely because we are so familiar with the feminine name Stacy and because there are so few words at all that end with either -stacy or -stasy (apparently, like the legs of an arachnid, there are eight such words in total, four of each). Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) was probably ecstatic with his first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and fortunately for him that didn't require knowing whether the noun form takes an s or a c. But for those of us who wish to please our patrons, it's a sticking point we really ought to master. (Drawing of Gwen Stacy by Steve Rude, from [correction] Spider-Man: Life-Line #3.)

Carol Reid

Monday, January 21, 2008

Revelan*, Releven* (for Relevance, etc.)

Revelan* is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list with 33 hits in OhioLINK. Here we have an example, not of misspelling or mispronunciation, but rather a bit of confusion owing to the arrangement of letters on the keyboard. It's much easier to type R-E-V-E before switching hands to type the L than it is to type R-E with the left hand, then L with the right, and then back again to the left for the E and the V. This is often the case with typos. We may also be influenced by the number of words in the dictionary containing similar strings of letters. A sort of automatic reflex takes over, temporarily suppressing one's awareness of how a particular word should be written. Releven*, on the other hand, which retrieves 21 records in OhioLINK, looks more like a spelling error. But let's not revel too much in the reasons for these typos. Just hurry up and correct them so your catalog records won't be irrelevant. (Portrait by Elsa Dorfman of French philosopher Jean-François Revel, whose birthday was on Saturday, and his son Matthieu Ricard, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Zerox" for Xerox

“Zerox” has a low probability of being found in your catalog--but a quick search in your catalog will show if you need to correct the typo or not. If you do find “Zerox,” the typo would probably be in the publisher field as “Zerox University Microfilms” or “Zerox Education Publications,” or as a note, such as “Library has Zerox copy.”

Wendee Eyler

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Automobl*" for Automobile*

A search for “Automobl” in OhioLINK retrieved 9 results, a couple in French language, with two of the hits in English for the subject misspelled as “Automobliles.” That typo could drive away your users from the material you have available on Automobiles.

Wendee Eyler

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Agricutur*" for Agriculture

Agricutur*” can be a typo for Agriculture, Agriculture’s, Agricultural, Agriculturalists, etc., and has a high probability of being a typo in your catalog. The correct spelling is a jumble of letters and forgetting the "el" is common--What the 'el ...?!

Wendee Eyler

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January 15, 2008 - “Progess” for Progress

The typo “Progess” for Progress retrieves 73 hits in OhioLINK, with about 26 in the title field. Truncating the typo as “Progess*” retrieves 120 hits, adding plenty of non-English titles to the results. Terry Ballard's "Typographical Errors in Library Databases" list at reports only American English typos.

Wendee Eyler

Monday, January 14, 2008

January 14, 2008 - "Microfrom" for Microform

“Microfrom” for Microform has a high probability of being a typo in online catalogs. A recent search of OhioLINK resulted in 191 retrievals. The term Microform (and the typo!) is usually found in subfield h of the 245 field in MARC records, being the medium or general material designation (GMD).

Wendee Eyler

Friday, January 11, 2008

January 11, 2008 - Achive*, etc. (for Archive, Achievement)

My mother used to feed us chives as children, gathering them from the garden, their soft purple tops bobbing, snipping them with scissors into little sections, and sprinkling them over cottage cheese. We understood that they were "good for us," but didn't really mind. It was much later I achieved the knowledge that chives were members of the Onion Family, which only made them seem friendlier still. OhioLINK yields 25 instances of Achive*, making it a typo of "high probability" on the Ballard list. Approximately a third of these are typos for archive, archives, etc.; the rest are for words like achieve. Related typos include: Acheiv*, Achievment*, Achievemnt*, and Achieven*. (Drawing of a chive plant from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10, 2008 - Woood*, Woudl, etc. (for Wood*, Would, etc.)

How much Woood* would you say we should chuck in all our catalogs? Perhaps you should chew on that one awhile yourselves, but eager beavers across the land could surely dam up any access problems concerning this typo in no time flat. I should probably point out, however, that woodchucks, also known as groundhogs (being solitary, subterranean squirrels of a sort) have little in common with beavers besides the word wood. OhioLINK turned up four cases of Woood* and one each of Woudl, Wwould*, Coud, Woudn't, and Shoudn't, along with four instances of Shoudl. (Take care when it comes to the elision of the l, though, particularly in works from the 17th century—most strikingly the play by Sir George Etherege, She Wou'd if She Cou'd.) These are typos of low or lowest probability, but they would, could, and should be corrected wherever they happen to occur. (Woodchuck shucking a nut from Wikimedia Commons.) P.S. Happy Birthday, Woody!

Carol Reid

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

January 9, 2008 - Transexual* (for Transsexual)

With 29 occurrences in OhioLINK, today's word has a bit of an identity crisis, since not everyone considers it to be a typo at all. According to Wikipedia: "Some individuals may prefer to spell transsexual with only one s, thus writing transexual. They will typically assert that they are attempting to divorce the word from the realm of psychiatry and medicine and place it in the realm of identity." Although, frankly, this makes no sense to me. How does spelling it with one s make it less of a medical matter and more of an identity issue? It only seems to make it less semantically correct, since trans- is an established prefix and "tran-" isn't. At any rate, this is clearly one case in which you must consult your primary source. Whether or not you then choose to regard it as a "sic-ness" may be left to your own discretion.

(Portrait of a young Gore Vidal, author of the 1968 novel Myra Breckinridge, by Harlem Renaissance photographer Carl Van Vechten, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January 8, 2008 - Documet*, etc. (for Document)

Some libraries are like Will Rogers was with men: They've never met a document they didn't like. These are called "full depository" libraries. "Federal depository" libraries, of which there are 1,250 throughout the country, collect documents published by the Government Printing Office and have done so since 1813. Despite the fact that Will was a well of wit and once quipped, "Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for," depository libraries are glad to get the work. There are 23 examples of Documet* in OhioLINK, depositing it in the "high probability" section of the Ballard list, which also contains the following related typos:


In a parting shot from Rogers, remember: "Nothing you can't spell will ever work." (Photo from the ultimate depository collection, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.)

Carol Reid

Monday, January 7, 2008

January 7, 2008 - Marraige, etc. (for Marriage)

One way to tell what kind of an accent you have is to see whether you pronounce any or all of these words the same way: Mary, marry, and merry. (Click here to take an online quiz and find out.) Marraige (with 19 occurrences in OhioLINK) and Marrige* (with 18) are "high probability" typos on the Ballard list, followed by the lesser variants Marrage* and Marrriage* (four apiece) and Maraige* (one). Mery plus Christmas serves up eight records as well, but a few of these seem to be proper Medieval or early English spellings. (Dedicated to my merry niece Mary, who is not yet of marriageable age, has an upstate New York accent, and loves trolls.)

Carol Reid

Friday, January 4, 2008

January 4, 2008 - Ethopi* (for Ethiopia)

Ethopi* appears 32 times in OhioLINK, making it a typo of "high probability" on the Ballard list. As my Ethiopian niece (adopted as a teenager) and nephew (as an infant) are both currently learning, spelling is very important when it comes to bridging cultures and otherwise making their way in the world. A much-loved and lauded children's librarian from the Albany area, Micki Nevett, passed away suddenly a couple weeks ago and a fund has been established in her name for Ethiopia Reads, a non-profit group to which Micki was devoted. The organization was founded to "improve literacy and create a culture of reading in Ethiopia, in order to bring hope, vision, and educational skills to this generation of Ethiopian children." In 2003, it established the Shola Children's Library in the capital city Addis Ababa, where the library now reports 60,000 visits a year. (Photograph of Haile Selassie, who introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution in 1931, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 3, 2008 - Zoolig*, etc. (for Zoology)

Not to be cryptic, but there's zoology and there's zoology. Or, rather, there's cryptozoology. Defined as "the search for animals believed to exist, but for which conclusive evidence is missing," it covers the likes of the Loch Ness Monster and Lake Champlain's Champ; a pantherish creature resembling the animus of Simone Simon in Cat People; the Mothman of West Virginia; and perhaps most compellingly of all—Sasquatch, Yeti, or, as it's known around these parts, Bigfoot. (During a game of Scrabble, Bart Simpson coined yet another term for the Homeroid hominid: Kwyjibo.) According to a 1992 book coauthored by a coworker, there have been approximately 140 reported Bigfoot sightings in Vermont and New York State alone. I sighted 11 typos in OhioLINK for the words zoology et al., including Zoolig*, Zolog*, and Zoolg*. On the Ballard list, these typos would be considered "low probability." But still.... (Illustration from Monsters of the Northwoods, by Paul and Robert Bartholomew, William Brann, and Bruce Hallenbeck.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

January 2, 2008 - Begining

Begining for Beginning is found on the B, or High Probability, section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was seen at least 16 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Looking at WorldCat, we see that there is a serious chance for this typo to arrive in your catalog - more than 800 hits. The good news is that we saw a number of "sic" entries, meaning that the typo was in the original work. The bad news is that we also saw multiple cases where the typo was at the beginning of the title. From all of us on the Libtypos team, have a great new beginning for your year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 1, 2008 - Inforat* (for Information)

For your information, this is the Chinese Year of the Rat, and perhaps the most informative rat in all of literature was Templeton, who at the behest of Charlotte would take daily trips to the dump to score scraps of words for her to copy into her web. (Although, Kenneth Grahame's Ratty and Julia Cunningham's Andrew both spin great yarns as well.) Thus we are informed that Wilbur is "terrific," "radiant," and "humble." In other words, "Some Pig!" Here's hoping that 2008 proves equally exemplary for all of you. Inforat* is a "moderate probability" typo, appearing nine times in OhioLINK. (There are fully 11 more variations on this typo currently to be found on the Ballard list also.) Librarians, as we all know, are friends of both information and good writing, and as Wilbur says at the end of the book: "It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both." (Illustration by Garth Williams, from Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.)

Carol Reid