Friday, December 31, 2010

Beginnn* (for Beginning, etc.)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;

The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells” is often paraphrased on this day when the old year is ending and a new one just beginning. And so we will ring out 2010 with the moderate-probability typo Beginnn* and look forward to a whole new selection when we return next year.

(New Year’s Eve fireworks in Paris, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thrid (for Third)

Last week’s snowy weather caused untold travel woes throughout much of Europe and frayed the nerves of weary holiday hordes. One young Minneapolis resident, clearly out of patience after being stranded at London’s Heathrow Airport, was heard to exclaim “It's pathetic—you would think this is a Third World country." Ah, memory is short! Should any American be casting stones at another country’s weather preparedness measures after our own disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina just five years ago?

However, if you eliminate the moderate-probability typo Thrid from your catalog, you may forget all about it with a clear conscience.

(Heathrow’s international arrivals hall, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Leagal (for Legal)

Score one for common sense! Recently, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled against a neuroradiologist who sued his golfing buddy after being partially blinded by an errant ball. The plaintiff maintained his companion should have shouted the traditional “Fore!” to warn him, but in a ruling similar to that from a 2007 California legal case, the New York court rejected the plaintiff’s claim. It declared the defendant was not responsible because 1) the victim was never in the intended path of the ball, and 2) the plaintiff assumed the risk of possible injury when he decided to play golf in the first place.

Leagal is billed as a low-probability error, but right now there are 9 English-language results in OhioLink and one additional hit for an English-language note. Correcting such typos in your own catalog would be the right thing to do, but at least no one will sue you for negligence if you don’t.

(Golf ball, by Lotus Head, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Conudrum* (for Conundrum, etc.)

According to, conundrum is number six on its list of the “Top 10 Most Frequently Searched Words.” This list has no trendy, current events lingo, but rather features “the eternally vexing words that remain among the most looked up over time.” Today’s typo keeps company with such words as “pretentious,” “cynical,” and “albeit.”

Fortunately, the lowest-probability Conudrum* retrieves only one hit in OhioLink, so your own catalog shouldn’t pose any difficulties. Unless, of course, that title is The Modern Sphinx: a Collection of Enigmas, Charades, Rebuses, Double Acrostics, Triple Acrostics, Anagrams, Logogriphs, Metagrams, Square Words, Verbal Puzzles, Conundrums, Etc. Original and Selected, and you can’t resist checking it out.

(Oedipus Explains the Riddle of the Sphinx (Oedipus and the Sphinx), by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tradtion* (for Tradition, Traditional, etc.)

There are probably almost as many holiday traditions as there are folks to observe them. Traditional food, traditional music, and traditional rituals prescribing how, when, and where to celebrate. Whatever yours might be, here’s hoping that the holiday season is above all a safe and enjoyable one.

Tradtion* is a typo of high probability on the Ballard list. Presently, there are 26 English-language instances of it in the OhioLink database, but I doubt many of us will start a new tradition of catalog cleaning this week!

(Christmas cookies, by Gillian, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, December 24, 2010

Locatin* (for Location*)

December 24th, 1955, was the first night of a Christmas tradition: when NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) began to track the air travel of Santa Claus and his reindeer.

The story is particularly germane to this blog because it began with a simple typo: an incorrect phone number in a Colorado Springs newspaper inviting kids to call and say hi to Santa. Instead, the children reached the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center (NORAD’s predecessor). Quick-thinking Colonel Harry Shoup instructed his team members to respond to the calls by locating Santa on their radar and reporting the location to the thrilled children. And so a tradition began.

Now, each year kids can track Santa’s whereabouts in seven languages by email or phone, on NORAD’s website ( or through various social networking sites including Facebook, and Twitter.

(Photo of Col. Pierre Ruel and Gen. Christian Barabé checking the radar screen in preparation for tracking Santa Claus from Wikimedia Commons.)

Leanne Olson

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Associact* (for Associat*)

According to Reader's Digest, "Jingle Bells" was actually not intended as a Christmas carol. If you listen to the words, there is no reference to the holiday or timing other than a mention of "dashing through the snow."

James Pierpont wrote the song for a Thanksgiving program at his church in Boston in 1857. He originally called it "The One-Horse Open Sleigh." The young performers and the audience members enjoyed the song so much that it was repeated at Christmas, and thus began its present association (not associaction) with the holiday.

You can see scans of the original version of the song online at the Library of Congress.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Leanne Olson

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Herione* (for Heroine*)

When I saw herione* my brain jumped straight to Hermione Granger, the heroine from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

Or, perhaps, Hermione from Greek mythology, the daughter of Menelaus and Helen of Troy. The Greek Hermione's name is also spelled Ermione, which at first looks like an error without the H, in Gioachino Rossini's opera Ermione.

Herione* is, however, more likely a typo for heroine*, which is how it's used in the majority of its 56 hits in WorldCat.

(Photo of Emma Watson as Hermione Granger from Emma Watson online.)

Leanne Olson

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Newsaper* (for Newspaper*)

The first thing I turn to in the newspaper (not newsaper) is the crossword puzzle. It’s hard to imagine that less than 100 years ago, papers didn't include crosswords at all.

On this day (December 21) in 1913, the first English language crossword puzzle was published, in the New York World. You can actually see the puzzle on the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament’s website (scroll down).

There are many different styles of crossword puzzles out there, with the North American (pictured above), British, and Japanese puzzles all appearing fairly similar, though varying on the number of black squares and arrangement of the latticework.

I find the Swedish-style crossword to be the most interesting, as it contains clues within the squares, and no black squares at all. An example can be seen below, or larger on Wikipedia.

(Top image from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.)

Leanne Olson

Monday, December 20, 2010

Precipt* (for Precipit*)

I’m posting this from Southwestern Ontario under several feet of snow. Our “Snowmaggedon” (as it’s been dubbed) may break records in London, Ontario. We’re currently at 122.2 centimetres of snow, and the previous record for snow falling in December was 134.1 back in 1977.

On the bright side, while the snow was falling I had a lovely break to type up a few blog entries from home, as the university and entire city was shut down.

If you’ve been out shoveling this frosty precipitation, it’s not hard for your cold (and tired!) fingers to miss a few keys, so watch out for precipt*, a low probability typo for precipit*. Precipation also appeared on the previous Library Typos blog, back in February of 2007, so keep an eye out for that error as well.

(Photo of the University of Western Ontario from Jim Walewander's Flickr photostream.)

Leanne Olson

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mattt* (for Matt*)

Don't have a cow, man, but Matt Groening's baby, The Simpsons, turns 21 years old today! Instead of trying to blow out 21 trick candles—remember the episode where Homer is unable to blow out the (regular) candles on his cake and falls asleep exhausted, setting his party hat, and subsequently the rest of the house, on fire?—you might want to celebrate the occasion by listening to Luke Ski's parody tribute song "88 Lines About 44 Simpsons." There were 15 examples of today's typo in OhioLINK, which is rather fitting because the Simpsons are from Ohio ... or Oregon ... or Illinois ... or any one of 68 other places in the United States called Springfield. So happy birthday to all and to all a good Matt!

(Matt Groening, February 24, 2005, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cenus (for Census)

You think it's hard counting all the people in the census every ten years? Try counting all the stars in the sky! Taurus is bullish and those born under this sign make very good accountants. Centaurs are half human and half horse. Centaurus was one of the first 48 constellations listed by 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy. Cenus (for census) was counted 12 times in the OhioLINK database today.

(Centaurus constellation, 2006, from Wikimedia Commons. Click pic for animation.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Higlight*, Hightlight* (for Highlight*)

A lot of people think they know who or what God is (light, love, knowledge, compassion, energy, infinity, an old guy sitting on a cloud, the "Fat Lady" in Franny and Zooey, Joan Osborne's "One of Us," and on and on), but leave it to a physicist to actually discover something called the "God particle" (otherwise known as the Higgs boson). Particle physics has a long history, in fact, and if you're interested in learning more about it, the 1993 book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? certainly covers the highlights and might be a good place to start. We discovered six instances of Higlight* in OhioLINK, and two of Hightlight*.

(Peter Higgs, Mathematisches Institut Oberwolfach, 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vietman* (for Vietnam*)

Our governor and various powers that be may find it necessary to destroy the State Library in order to save it; among other cutbacks, a dozen or so employees will be getting the sack on the night before Christmas, or shortly thereafter. The library (which hasn't been able to buy books in close to three years and whose funds have been routinely raided by other state agencies) is taking a disproportionate hit compared with the rest of the Education Department. In recognition of the fact that real people will be suffering from these draconian budget cuts, coworkers are holding a "Sad Layoff Luncheon" next week at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Man, it seems like such a paltry gesture in the face of this harsh and dysfunctional reality, but it's one way of honoring our library veterans and wishing them well. There were 23 cases of Vietman* (for Vietnam*) in the OhioLINK database today.

(A Vietnamese woman with groceries in a basket, 2007, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chrismas (for Christmas)

According to AustenProse, one of the most outstanding illustrators of Jane Austen's oeuvre was a young woman named Christiana Hammond. Like Austen a century before her, "Chris" Hammond never married and tragically died quite young. She was, however, well educated and classically trained. An artist of considerable renown (she illustrated Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Emma, along with assorted works by Thackery, Mrs. Gaskell, George Elliot, Oliver Goldsmith, and Maria Edgeworth), she went by a shortened form of her Christian name in order to maximize her chances for success in a Victorian man's world. We found 24 cases of Chrismas (for Christmas) in OhioLINK, only a handful of which look like they might be personal names or antiquated variants.

("Christmas Weather" by Chris Hammond, from Emma, 1898, courtesy of Indiana University's Lilly Library and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 10, 2010

Siplif* (for Simplif*)

Y scream, U scream, we all scream for Ys cream? Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey (who was otherwise known as Melvil Dewey—or, better yet, Dui) was born on this day in 1851. And if he were still with us today, he'd probably be calling for the traditional birthday fare, even while insisting that it be spelled "cak and ys cream." Librarians are taught to pay particular attention to the way words are spelled, but if we'd had Melvil Dewey as a teacher (he was head librarian at Columbia University where he established the nation's first library school; director of the New York State Library and founder of the New York Library Association; and secretary and executive officer of the New York State Education Dept.), he'd be actively encouraging us to misspell virtually every word we could. However, there was clearly a method to Melvil's madness. Dewey was a big fan of simplification and standardization and promoted the adoption of both the metric system and a form of phonics known as simplified spelling (along with other such notables as Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Bernard Shaw). While this idea never quite caught on the way these guys had hoped it would, an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune points out that they might nevertheless have been heartened by the popularity of tweeting and text messaging a hundred years later. Dewey was also the founder of the Lake Placid Club, where many adventurous teachers and librarians celebrated their birthdays and other happy occasions. A menu from September 1927 features the following dishes: "Hadok, Poted beef with noodls, Parsli or Masht potato, Butr, Steamd rys, Letis, and Ys cream." There were only two instances of our typo du jour in the OhioLINK catalog; coincidentally enough, both had to do with spelling reform, yet were clearly unintentional: "In Mandarin with siplified Chinese subtitles" and "Siplified Spelling Society."

(Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index catalog card, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Inpress* (for Impress*)

Alfred Sisley was one of the lesser known Impressionist painters of the 19th century. Despite the fact that he is sometimes damned with faint praise by critics who regard his style as having "almost a generic character, an impersonal textbook idea of a perfect Impressionist painting" (in the words of art historian Robert Rosenblum), Sisley did occasionally deviate from form, at least a little bit. I especially like the picture entitled Flussufer (Riverside), which I think would look great in a children's book. (And that's not damning with faint praise.) We found a dozen examples of Inpress* (for impress*) buried deep within the OhioLINK database on this cold wintry morning (approximately half of which were foreign words of uncertain spelling).

(Garden in Louveciennes in the Snow, Alfred Sisley, 1874, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pess (for Press)

The word press has many meanings, most of which are fairly pleasing: printing press, wine press, cheese press, coffee press, bench press, cider press, alternative press, etc. Take care when typing the domain name for, however. If you write wordpess by mistake, you'll be unceremoniously rerouted to a tricky and annoying "ad/link page." (Just one more reason to try and avoid making typos.) Perhaps the most pessimistic use of the word can be found with regard to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, where the only male "witch" (Giles Corey) was subjected to a slow torturous death by "pressing" (a form of what's known in French as peine forte et dure). The female "witches" were all drowned. But let's press on to happier thoughts. There are 47 examples of Pess in OhioLINK, most of which seem to be typos for Press. If any of these are oppressing your own database, just put the cursor after the P and press R.

(Engraving of printer using the early Gutenberg letter press during the 15th century, artist unknown, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wefare (for Welfare)

A great many Americans are out of work right now (around a dozen employees or so were recently laid off at my own library) and things aren't looking to get better any time soon. President Obama just made a deal with the Devil (or rather, the Republican Congress) in which he agreed to permanent tax breaks for the rich in exchange for temporary jobless benefits for the poor. It isn't fair, but there may come a time when We (the people) will all be on welfare. Actually, there are several kinds of "welfare," according to Wikipedia, including Corporate welfare and the title of a 1975 documentary by Frederick Wiseman. We documented eight cases of Wefare (for welfare) in OhioLINK this morning.

(An evening with Frederick Wiseman, 13 June 2005, by Charles Haynes, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 6, 2010

Warefare (for Warfare)

Wares are things that get sold to people and so, in many cases, are wars. Furthermore, those who get sold this bellicose bill of goods often end up suffering from a serious case of buyer's remorse. Soldiers, in particular, pay a very high price. According to the HBO documentary Wartorn: 1861–2010, the price of warfare on the combatants themselves was usually termed "hysteria," "melancholia," or "insanity" during the Civil War, "shell-shock" during World War I, and "battle fatigue" during World War II. Today it's referred to as "PTSD" (post-traumatic stress disorder). There were 14 examples of today's typo in the OhioLINK database this morning. Warefare... What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

(Soldier boiling his rations, National Geographic Magazine, 1917, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 3, 2010

Litarary, Litarature (for Literary, Literature)

Many movie actors and directors are subjects of print biographies, both authorized and unauthorized, and some of them even highly regarded autobiographies, but very few can lay claim to having been the catalyst for a classic work of literature. Charlie Chaplin married Lita Grey in 1924, when Grey was only 16 years old and pregnant. The marriage was at once a tiresome domestic drama and a tawdry affair. It also came dangerously close to becoming a criminal matter. Chaplin went on to play the role of bridegroom three more times and Lita (who had twenty years on him) tied the knot thrice more herself. She wrote two autobiographies, the first one mainly comprising "exaggeration and fabrication" (allegedly on the part of her co-author, Morton Cooper) and the second one (published in 1998, three years after her death) apparently more truthful. Her marriage to Chaplin is considered by his biographer, Joyce Milton, to have been the inspiration for Vladimir Nabokov's literary masterpiece Lolita, published in 1955. We found three cases of Litarary in the OhioLINK database today, and four of Litarature.

(Publicity photo of Lita Grey in 1925, from Famous Film Folk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Midddle* (for Middle*)

Once upon a summer vacation, I read aloud portions of a book called Crazy English by Richard Lederer, which we had found up at camp, to my young niece and nephew. They were too little to understand it, really, but they loved repeating the title and seemed to get the general idea: English is crazy! Sarah Palin probably had a similar reaction when informed that, despite the fact that repute, refute, and repudiate all exist, "refudiate" does not. According to Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day yesterday, tmesis is defined as: "stuffing a word into the middle of another word." While Palin's "refudiate" and Bush's equally infamous "misunderestimate" are not true examples of tmesis, they do come fairly close. Related forms of wordplay include Pig Latin and Ubbi Dubbi. But tmesis, actually, is a-whole-nother matter. Certain cases also resemble what's known as a minced oath. While retaining the swear word in question, the main word is literally chopped up in such a way that the resulting expression is at once both softened and reinforced: re-flipping-diculous, abso-bloody-lutely, guaran-damn-teed, etc. (See also Ned Flanders's pious patois: "Hi-diddly-ho, neighbor!") When I mentioned this to a friend this morning, he exclaimed: "Oh, it's like turducken!" "Well, no," I said, "the word turducken isn't exactly..." "Not the word," he replied. "The thing itself." Today's typo has an extra letter stuffed into the middle of it, and turns up seven times in OhioLINK. (If you leave off the E, you'll get eight.)

(Screenshot of the TV sitcom The Middle, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Footware (for Footwear)

"These boots are made for walking," sang Nancy Sinatra, "and that's just what they'll do. One of these days, these boots are gonna walk all over you." Some shoes are made for walking, while others seem made only for wearing, their main function being either to decorate or titillate, often arousing envy, amazement, or lust in the viewer. All manner of footwear are currently on display at the Albany Institute of History and Art: the kind that you wear, plus the kind created solely as objets d'art. Our typo for the day is Footware, which has left its muddy prints in OhioLINK at least seven times. Wear/ware words often get misspelled in this way, so you might want to also try some others on for size: Hardwear and Softwear will probably get you the most hits, but you may find some errors in the Sportsware, Eyeware, Flatwear, Neckware, &c. departments to boot. (Complete lists of such words here and here.) Beware of puns and wordplay, though, as this form of typo/misprint lends itself rather easily to such things. For example, Hardwear: Jewelry from a Toolbox (I love that title!) and HardWear: The Art of Prevention (about condoms in art and advertising). I'm not sure what's meant by the title Transylvanian Softwear, but the spelling appears to be intentional or, in any case, written like that on the work itself. Put your foot down today and make sure this typo gets fixed wear-ever it should.

("Baby Opera: Walks of Life" by Judy Haberl, from the The Perfect Fit exhibit at AIHA, photo by blogger.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Borwn* (for Brown*)

In the 1969 television special A Boy Named Charlie Brown, our hapless but eponymous hero finds himself a contestant in the annual national spelling bee. With the "Peanuts" gang wildly cheering him on, he makes it to the final round, where he promptly chokes on the relatively simple beagle, which he spells B-E-A-G-E-L. (The bee, by the way, began with the word supersede, a notorious toughie.) Cartoonist Charles Schulz was considered a contemporary philosopher by many of his fans and here he shows a rather profound understanding of the almost mystical ironies that seem to imbue spelling bees. I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but it's as if there's a guiding hand behind so many of these spectacular fin-de-bee flameouts. For instance, there was the Indian kid who couldn't spell Darjeeling (even while hundreds of his dad's friends were chanting for him to win, and probably quaffing the stuff to boot). Then there was the Canadian girl with the German-speaking father who for some strange reason spelt weltschmerz with a V—although she managed to get the rest of it perfect. And then there was the the guy who misspelled the word misspell. (I've made my own blushing blunders as well and, believe me, it's not as funny as it sounds.) However, as Linus tells his good friend, who had taken to his bed with an acute case of, well, weltschmerz (i.e., mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state): "But did you notice something, Charlie Brown? The world didn't come to an end." A recent question put to the listserv concerned the difference between typos and misspellings. I suppose there is somewhat less shame attaching to the former than the latter, but mistakes are mistakes. Who knows why they get made sometimes? And yet the world doesn't come to an end. In honor of Charlie Brown and his born-again faith in getting it right, our typo for today is Borwn* (for Brown*) and was found seven times in the OhioLINK database.

(Charles Schulz, 1956, Library of Congress, New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 29, 2010

Litttle (for Little)

Our typo for today is Litttle, which comes up five times in OhioLINK, making the word little just a little bit bigger. (You get seven hits if you truncate after the three T's, the other two being Littterature [sic] and Litttéraires [sic].) Louisa May Alcott, who was born on this day in 1832, is perhaps best known for the novel Little Women and its several sequels, which are based on her childhood and family life (like Jo March, Louisa also had three sisters) in Concord, Massachusetts. Her father, Amos Bronson Alcott (with whom she shared a birthday), was a leading light in the Transcendentalist movement, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller, all family friends from whom Louisa received an early education. (She later chronicled her experience with these utopians in an newspaper article entitled "Transcendental Wild Oats.") Louisa was an abolitionist and a feminist. She wrote short stories for the Atlantic Monthly, along with a variety of novels and other works, including "wholesome" books for children (one being a three-volume set she composed for her niece, agreeably entitled Lulu's Library). She also produced a number of potboilers and steamy stories involving crime and romance under the nom de plume A. M. Barnard. (I especially like the title of this one: A Long Fatal Love Chase.) Louisa herself was unlucky in love, but quite lucky (or plucky) in work. The story of her own remarkable life is told in the 2010 documentary Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women.

(Louisa May Alcott at around age 20, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 26, 2010

Comsum* (for Consum*)

The Friday after Thanksgiving (as if we hadn't learned a thing from the previous day, either with regard to gluttony or being thankful for what we've got) is rather ominously called "Black Friday," purportedly because retailers hope it will put them "in the black" by spurring a near-hysterical mass buying spree, a frenzy of consumerism. Flipping through the 48 hits found for today's typo in OhioLINK, I was given another reminder of the dark side of consumption, a state in which the consumer becomes the consumed. One video bib record describes La Bohème as: "The story of an ill-fated love affair between an idealistic poet and a comsumptive flower-maker." Another one puts a more stalwart, almost cheery, spin on the subject, with William Sweetser's 1836 tract: A treatise on consumption; embracing an inquiry into the influence exerted upon it by journeys, voyages and change of climate. With directions for the comsumptive visiting the south of Europe, and remarks upon its climate. Adapted for general readers. Here's hoping we general readers can all manage to strike the right balance between shopping and stopping this holiday season. And, in the meantime, don't let today's "high probability" typo consume your catalog.

(Maria Kuznetsova, the opera singer, as Mimi in La Bohème, prior to 1917, from an old Imperial Russian postcard, scanned and posted to Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Footbal, Footall, Footaball (for Football)

Very few folks say "Fooey" when it comes to Thanksgiving, a holiday that is equal parts food and football in most American households. (If football isn't your game, however, movies about football might be a good substitute.) While the ballplayers on the right look positively underfed compared to today's pigskin passers, that's only because they didn't partake in extra helpings of anabolic steroids back in those days. We found one sample each of Footbal, Footall, and Footaball (hike!) in OhioLINK this morning. Be a team player and toss these typos out of your catalog as soon as you get back to work on Monday.

(Unknown early American football team, circa 1895-1910, originally published by the Detroit Publishing Company, from the Library of Congress.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Freinds (for Friends)

Friend is sort of a friendly word. And lately, sort of a trendy one too. Thanks to Facebook, it's even considered to be a verb now, along with its antagonistic antonym: unfriend. (Last Wednesday, in fact, was National Unfriend Day, per late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel). Libraries have Friends, and Quakers are Friends. The word itself inspired the name Wendy, which was popularized (if not actually invented) by James Barrie in connection with the "Peter Pan" story. It lends itself to poetry because it rhymes with so many other useful words: bend (in the road), blend (together), fend (for oneself), mend (a rift), rend (a garment), send (one's regards), spend (some time), tend (the garden), wend (one's way), and best of all—friends till the end. There were 36 cases of Freinds for friends in the OhioLINK database today.

(Lisa Kudrow of the sitcom Friends, visiting Vassar College in February 2004, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recordin (for Recording)

One man's music is another guy's noise, you might say. Beauty is in the ear, as well as the eye, of the beholder. In the 1960s, long-harried parents, not caring for the long-haired Beatles, would often carry on about all the racket they were making. But that probably had more to do with their screaming fans than with their actual recordings. So which came first: the record or the din? As Oliver Sacks explains in Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, there are many forms of music appreciation, and the lack thereof. On the far end of the spectrum is a brain disorder called amusia, which can make a symphony, for example, sound like the clattering of pots and pans. I first saw Sacks on C-SPAN in 2001, talking about his book Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood, and noticed then that he had an apparent fondness for tee-shirts: he was sporting a colorful tie-dye that almost seemed like a visual representation of some of his more reactive recollections. The eccentric NYC neurobiologist and best-selling author (Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, The Mind's Eye, etc.) also drives a motorcycle, has been in analysis for over forty years, serves on the board of the New York Botanical Garden, and is in touch with his inner werewolf. We found ten cases of Recordin in the OhioLINK database today. Removing this typo from your own OPACs will help restore a certain cerebral harmony to your records.

(Oliver Sacks at TED 2009.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 22, 2010

Finish* + Finnish (for Finnish or Finish*)

Finish and Finnish are homophones or, to be more specific, heterographs (words that have different meanings and spellings, but that sound the same), a combined search on which will frequently turn up a few typos. We found eight examples of this one in OhioLINK today. Tove Jansson, who passed away in 2001 at the age of 87, was Finland's gift to children's literature, a field that features a great many Scandinavians—from Hans Christian Andersen in Denmark and Alf Prøysen in Norway, to Astrid Lindgren, Selma Lagerlöf, and Maj Lindman in Sweden, among others. Jansson wrote over a dozen books about the strange and amazing, but thoroughly engaging, denizens of Moominvalley, a various and sundry lot if ever there was one. The character Too-ticky is based on her longtime companion, Tuulikki Pietilä, and some of the others are reminiscent of Jansson's friends and family as well. (The president of Finland herself has been dubbed "Moominmamma.") To know them is to love them and the Moomintroll books are known and loved throughout the world. If you start reading them now, you'll be Finnish before long.

(Finn Family Moomintroll cover, from the blog Oliver Weiss Designs.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 19, 2010

Typograh*, Typograpi* (for Typography, Typographical)

It seems rather odd that we typo grapplers have never featured these typographical errors here before, but better late than never. The makers of the soft drink Grapico almost had to admit error themselves back in the early part of the 20th century, not for misspelling the name of their product, but for implying it contained grape juice when it didn't. In 1929, Pan American (to whom J. Grossman's Sons had sold the business) legally lost the right to employ the word Grapico on their artificially flavored soda. In 1940, Alabama entrepreneur R. R. Rochell received the trademark on Grapico, enabling him to use the name anywhere in the United States. In 1955, the company introduced "Orangico" as well, troubling to include some orange juice this time, but it still didn't sell very well (perhaps because the name was too hard to figure out how to pronounce and/or was too reminiscent of orangutan). Buffalo Rock acquired the franchising rights to Grapico in 1981 and the Orangico tm was revived in 2005. Grapico is currently being produced in Columbus, Georgia, once again without any actual fruit juice in it—just like in the good old days! There are 14 cases of Typograh* and eight of Typograpi* in the OhioLINK database.

(1916 cover of the songsheet "Meet Me in the Land of Grapico" by jazz composers Peter DeRose and Ivan Reid, commissioned and published by J. Grossman's Sons, from the Mississippi State University Libraries, Special Collections. Copies of the song were sent free to customers who requested them.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spritual* (for Spiritual*)

Is one "spritz" a sprit, y'all? Not that it really matters that much, since it's practically impossible to eat just one. These traditional German Christmas cookies, properly called Spritzgebäck, are simply heavenly, if not to say a downright spiritual experience. As the folks at Wikipedia a bit primly put it: "When made correctly, the cookies are crisp, fragile, somewhat dry, and buttery." Spritzen means "to squirt," which is how these holiday treats get made: by extruding the dough through a cookie press with patterned holes or nozzles attached. Spritz are quite popular in the Netherlands too; the word cookie itself derives from koekje and the Dutch are quite justly famous for them. Another one of my favorites (and not just because it's fun to say!) is the stroopwafel, which is made to balance nicely atop your teacup, the steam arising from which softens up the syrupy center. There were 61 examples of Spritual* in OhioLINK this morning, making this one a typo of "high probability" on the Ballard list. Sweeten up your catalog by squeezing out these typos today.

(Spritzgebäck, 2005, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Earing* (for Earring*, Earning*, etc.)

A coworker emailed the staff today to say that she had found a "Lost earing" in the parking lot, which got me to wondering whether this might be a commonly found typo too. Well, turns out it is, and for more than just the word earring. We found 17 examples of today's typo in OhioLINK: seven for earrings and two for earring, two for earning and one for earnings, two for Earing (proper names), one for hearing (with a [sic]), one for rearing, and one I'm not really sure what it's a typo for. I used to love to wear earrings, but at some point I let the holes in my lobes close up and put my jewelry box away. I still like to look at them sometimes, though, and now have a passel of blessed nieces (and nephews?) I can pass them down to. Speaking of old earrings, I like this one, pictured to the right. The earring itself is of a woman wearing earrings, which seems to suggest that our ancient ancestors had a sense of whimsy and irony when it came to their accessories.

(Feminine head, element from a gold earring, South Italy (Magna Graecia), ca. 350 BC, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teusday*, etc. (for Tuesday*)

You've got Super Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Ruby Tuesday, and let us not forget '60s Hollywood icon Tuesday Weld—but when I looked for the erstwhile sex kitten in Wikimedia Commons, I couldn't find any pictures of the real Tuesday Weld, only "The Real Tuesday Weld," a British musical group fronted by lead singer Stephen Coates. TRTW makes jazzy cabaret-style music with an electronic influence, a genre Coates likes to call "antique beat." We got four hits this Tuesday on Teusday*, and one apiece on Tusday*, Tueday*, and Truesday*. The word Tuesday is related to the planet Mars, which symbolizes war. Let's all go on the warpath today and dispatch these typos from our databases.

(Stephen Coates of the band The Real Tuesday Weld, 2007, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 15, 2010

Comunication, Comunicating (for Communication, Communicating)

If you've ever tried talking to a member of the opposite sex, the book You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation—which was published in 1990 and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly four years—just might speak to you. However, depending on the sort of feminism you subscribe to (equality or difference), you may or may not appreciate the message it's communicating. Which is to say that, generally speaking, women and men will often speak in very different ways and for very different reasons. Comunication* was found 39 times in OhioLINK and Comunicating four times (each result containing a couple of antiquated variants from the 1600s or so). Regardless of gender, or gender identification, let's all try and keep the lines of communication open by keeping today's typo out of our catalogs.

(American sociolinguist Deborah Tannen in Amsterdam, July 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 12, 2010

Peddlar* (for Peddler* or Pedlar*)

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, over in Amherst, Massachusetts, has a great many things in it. It has a great big room full of Eric Carle stuff. And a couple of other big rooms with a lot of other artists' stuff. It has a really cool bookstore. And a large room for crafts. It even has a children's library. The day I visited last summer, it also had a terrific little set of Caps for Sale playlets taking place in the auditorium, including the silhouetted puppet show pictured to your right. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business was written by Esphyr Slobodkina and won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1938. The book, says Wikipedia, "is a sly take on the saying, 'Monkey see, monkey do'...." Peddlar* for peddler* (or pedlar*, which is the British way of spelling it) turned up 16 times in OhioLINK. Don't fall asleep on the job today and find yourself imitating this problem with your own CAPS—er, catalogs.

(Photo by self.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vetrans, Veteren* (for Veterans, Veteran)

I recently saw an independent film at the NYS Museum, entitled The Way We Get By, which the New York Times has called "profoundly humane," but which I suspect some of my fellow anti-war lefties would preemptively see as a waste of their moviegoing time. The truth is, I didn't recognize a single person in the audience, composed of a fair number of men and women in army fatigues. But, despite the fact that it celebrates the service our military recruits and officers are rendering in Iraq and Afghanistan, you don't have to be supporter of these, or any other, wars to be deeply touched by this film. It chronicles the departure and return of our troops, by way of an airport terminal in Bangor, Maine, and as attended by a dedicated and tireless troop of "greeters" (one of whom was in attendance the night I saw the film, along with her son, the director, and his wife, the interviewer, for post-viewing Q&A). And it's mainly those volunteers who, as many critics and viewers have pointed out, give this film its profound universality. We found four cases of Vetrans in OhioLINK, and four more of Veteren* (including one with a [sic] and one for the Latin word veterensis). You can return to our typographical mission here tomorrow, but for now, have a happy Veterans Day.

(A building at the Minnesota Soldiers' Home Historic District in Minneapolis, Minnesota, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Killl*, Kiling (for Kill*, Killing)

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, and to raise money for literacy awareness, a marathon reading of the Harper Lee classic took place at our local independent bookstore on Saturday, Nov. 6. "Until I feared I would lose it," says Scout, the book's protagonist, "I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." To Kill a Mockingbird, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, was Harper Lee's only book. She showed similar reticence throughout her life when receiving numerous honorary degrees: she always declined to make a speech. Ms. Lee was the childhood best friend of another famous Southern writer, Truman Capote (the model for Scout's friend Dill), with whom she helped research the book In Cold Blood. The typo Killl* shows up four times in OhioLINK today, and Kiling three times.

(President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee during a ceremony, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room of the White House. Photo by Eric Draper, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Coference* (for Conference*)

I spent a lovely couple of days last week at the New York Library Association's annual conference in nearby Saratoga Springs. Saratoga is famous for its horses and its race track, its mineral waters and spas, its glorious hotels and battlefields of yore, its potato chips (Saratoga invented the chip, say some, though this claim "may be looked at with appropriate skepticism," according to the book Civil War Recipes and Food History: The Potato During the Civil War), and its world-famous folk music (Caffè Lena is the oldest continuously running coffeehouse in the United States). It has also proven itself to be a favorite conference location for NYLA, which is planning to gather its members there again in both 2011 and 2012. There were 15 examples of today's typo found in OhioLINK this morning. One record contained a [sic] and two others (for a work from 1629) had the antiquated spelling co˜ferences.

(Fuzzy image of the front of Caffè Lena, on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 8, 2010

Experss*, Expess* (for Express*)

My local public library is airing a series of silent film classics from the 1920s. The films are wonderfully accompanied by a variety of area musicians performing original scores, live and in total darkness! The three movies composing this mini-festival of the modern and the macabre are Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang, The Cat and the Canary by Paul Leni, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by Robert Wiene, all exemplars of the cinematic movement known as German Expressionism. (Like a demented cataloger or overwrought reference librarian, this screenshot vividly expresses the anguished desire to solve the mystery of Caligari.) There were nine examples of Experss* and six of Expess* skulking about the OhioLINK database this morning.

(Original 1927 quad poster for The Cat and the Canary, from Wikimedia Commons. Speaking of typos, note the missing "the" in the title.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hindusi* (for Hinduis*)

This week is Diwali, the festival of lights in Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. This holiday involves the lighting of lamps, wearing new clothes and eating sweets. It celebrates the return of Lord Rama from his fourteen-year exile. While you're celebrating, check your catalog to make sure you haven't misspelled the name of the religion. While this is not a common typo (Section E-lowest probability on the Ballard list), I found it in the title field in both the OhioLINK and WorldCat catalogs, several times when it was the only word in the title. So go find those books, learn more about Hinduism and make sure your patrons can, too!

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

Image of Rangoli decorations from Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scince*, Scine* (for Science*)

On Nov. 4, 1869, the magazine Nature, a major scientific magazine, was published for the first time. I don't know if science can explain why it is so easy to mistype words, but there is a large collection of misspellings of the word science on the Ballard list, including today's iterations, Scince and Scine. It is, admittedly, quite easy to miss that first e (or to reverse the i and the e), but make sure you don't do it! This could also be a typo for since, which appears more commonly in bibliographic records than you (or at least I) would expect.

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

Image of the first issue of Nature from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Aiplane* (for Airplane*)

Chicago had a bit of a scare last week when we learned that bombs had been sent via airplane to several area synagogues. Fortunately, our intelligence intercepted them before they were delivered, but it was another wake-up call that the United States is vulnerable. Today's typo, dropping the r, appears on Section E, or lowest probability on the Ballard list, but it does appear 3 times in the OhioLINK catalog. Make sure your craft can take off from the ground by making sure they're in the air, not the ai!

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

Image of a United Airlines Boeing aircraft (both companies have offices in Chicago) from Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Francico (for Francisco)

My father is a huge San Francisco Giants fan, so he is ecstatic at the news that they have won the 2010 World Series. The frequent California earthquakes may cause our typo, Francico, where the "s" is thrown into space. This typo is on the D, or low probability section of the Ballard list. A similar typo, Fransisco, is found on Jeffrey Beall's "dirty database" list, which is a way to test your database to see how many common typographical errors exist. There are a number of other variations on this typo as well, including Franciso and Franisco.

Congratulations, Giants!

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

Image of San Francisco Giants insignia from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nutur* (for nurtur*)

Today we learned that, according to tools found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa, humans were using a sophisticated technique called pressure-flaking to sharpen weapons over 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. A frequent debate in science, which may also have been taking place earlier than we thought, is whether an instinct for violence is innate or learned, otherwise known as the debate between Nature and Nurture. Today's typo seems to be an effort to make these two words more similar, by removing the first r from nurture. I found this error 29 times in OhioLINK, several times in a title field, and 227 times in WorldCat, and is found in the High Probability section of the Ballard list. Don't nurture this error in your own catalog!

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

Image of the points found at the Blombos Cave, from Wikimedia Commons

Friday, October 29, 2010

Czechoslav* (for Czechoslovakia, etc.)

Kostnice Sedlec, or Sedlec Ossuary, is the final resting place of an estimated 40,000 souls. It’s located under the Cemetery Church of All Saints, Kutná Hora, in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), and many people refer to it simply as the “Bone Church.” That’s because in the 1870s, Czech woodcarver František Rint used the skeletal remains of the occupants to redecorate the chapel, lending it an eerie but strangely delicate beauty. Among Rint’s creations are a chandelier containing all the bones of the human body, four “bells” (one for each corner of the chapel), and two monstrances located near the main altar.

Czechoslav* persists on the list of high-probability errors, even though the country of Czechoslovakia officially perished in 1992. In fact, one might say today’s typo is a linguistic memento mori. There are 25 English-language entries for it in the OhioLink database, and 33 occurrences altogether.

(Kostnice Sedlec chandelier, by Daniel Wabyick, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mystrey (for Mystery)

When Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune, moved from New Haven, Connecticut, to San Jose, California, in 1884, she began building a mansion. It would eventually contain 160 rooms and cost about $5,500,000 over the course of the 38 years it took to complete. That’s not so unusual, perhaps, for someone of her wealth and status.

But the story of the Winchester Mystery House is far from ordinary in every possible way. Sarah, grieving after the loss of her husband and only child some years earlier, had turned to spiritualism for solace. A medium pronounced she was being haunted by the spirits of people her family’s weapons had killed; they had caused the deaths of her loved ones, and she herself was in danger. However, she could she could appease these spirits by moving west and building a great house for them.

That’s exactly what Sarah Winchester did. Construction continued around the clock for the rest of her life, and the results were as odd as their owner—staircases leading nowhere, doors opening onto walls, secret passageways, and the like. Rooms were built, torn down, and rebuilt in an endless cycle. And not surprisingly, the number of reports about cold spots, unexplained noises, and ghostly sightings grew along with the house.

Sarah died in 1922, and ten years later, the Winchester Mystery House opened its doors to the public. It’s still a popular tourist attraction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mystrey is a typo of lowest probability, meaning one should expect to find only one such entry in OhioLINK. As of this writing, there were two in that database, but this is balanced out by the fact that Mystrery—in the same category—retrieved nothing.

(Ambrotype of Sarah Winchester, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Terrois* (for Terrorism, etc.)

Today is the birthday of Yorkshire actor Peter Firth (1953). Fans of the Kudos/BBC television program Spooks will recognize Firth for his portrayal of Sir Harry Pearce, the formidable head of MI5’s counter-terrorism unit. As a leader, Harry doesn’t hesitate to make the tough decisions when the safety of British citizens is at stake. Nor does he suffer fools gladly, particularly when they place political or self interest above that of the nation. Harry’s a master of the one-liner when expressing contempt for those who fail to live up to his standards. (“I’m sorry–that’s the sound of incredulous laughter being stifled.”) And he’s one lucky fellow, given the dangerous nature of his job and Spooks’ penchant for killing off its characters; Firth is the only actor to have survived the entire run of the series thus far.

But this current project is hardly Firth’s first taste of success. In his youth, he played the part of troubled teenager Alan Strang in Peter Shaffer’s Equus, both in the original London and Broadway stage productions, and later in the film version with Richard Burton. For a complete list of Firth's credits, check out the Internet Movie Database's extensive filmography. Firth received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 2009.

Terrois* is a low-probability typo on the Ballard list with 7 entries in OhioLink. Should you find any in your catalog, be prepared to take immediate countermeasures.

(Peter Firth at the 2009 BAFTA Television Awards ceremony, where Spooks was nominated for Best Drama Series. Photo by damo1977, from Flickr)

Deb Kulczak

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alaphabet* (for Alphabet, Alphabetical, etc.)

Edward (St. John) Gorey is an American author and illustrator most often associated with the macabre. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his abecedarian, or alphabet, book The Gashlycrumb Tinies, first published in 1963. In fact, one could call this the original “Series of Unfortunate Events,” with 26 children all meeting ghastly or even absurd ends. In verse, no less, as this couplet illustrates:

M is for MAUD who was swept out to sea
N is for NEVILLE who died of ennui

Gorey wrote or illustrated around 100 books, including at least five other alphabet ones (The Fatal Lozenge, The Utter Zoo, The Chinese Obelisks, The Glorious Nosebleed, and The Eclectic Abecedarium). His creepy cartoons (animated by Derek Lamb) have adorned the credits of the PBS series Mystery! since it began airing in 1980.

Alaphabet* is another low-probability error with 5 OhioLink English-language results. There are additional French (alaphabétique) and German (alaphabetisch) entries, and if you look, you just might find some lurking in your own catalog.

(Cover art for The Gashlycrumb Tinies, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak