Friday, April 30, 2010

Electic* (for Electric*, Eclectic)

It's time to begin thinking about mowing the grass, or sowing some seeds, or frolicking in a field, or whatever other springtime activities get you off the couch and out the door—and because of all that, it's time for a little reminder about Lyme disease. This tick-borne illness is not something anybody would ever elect to get, but doctors assure us it's highly treatable if caught early on. And the electric-red rash it produces is virtually unmistakable. (For a much less reassuring, but extremely eye-opening, point of view on this, check out the 2008 documentary Under Our Skin.) Today's "high probability" typo is Electic* and occurs 46 times in OhioLINK. Most of these are for words like electric, but some of them are clearly eclectic.

(From Wikimedia Commons: "This 2007 photograph depicts the pathognomonic erythematous rash in the pattern of a 'bull's-eye,' which manifested at the site of a tick bite on this Maryland woman's posterior right upper arm...")

Carol Reid

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strutur* (for Structur*)

"Here's a sentence you will enjoy from a friend's local paper: The library’s financial structure is far more stable than it was 10 years ago when it was forced to shudder its doors because it was broke..."

The coworker who sent me that message was right; I did enjoy it. While I pondered weak and weary, though, I couldn't find a single typo for either shutter or shudder (and we really don't need another Edgar Allan Poe post, in any event). I was, however, struck by the fact that OhioLINK houses 33 cases of Strutur*—almost enough to make us shudder in our structure, but not enough to make us pack up our cataloging manuals and shutter our doors. Contrariwise, let's strut our stuff and correct those typos!

(Craig Wedren playing live with Shudder to Think in 1994, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Distrub* (for Disturb* or Distrib*)

Do not disturb these pickles, which are made in Canada from organic ingredients and are widely distributed throughout the world. While there are apparently "never enough!" to satisfy hungry Strub's fans, after 80-odd years, these folks know how to leave well enough alone. Distrub* was discovered 127 times in OhioLINK, which is more than enough, and just a little jarring. So quit your dilly dallying, pick out the typos in your own catalog, and start jerkin'.

(Strub's Pickles logo, since 1929.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eduat* (for Educat*)

Architect Wilbur Post (played by actor Alan Young) never had to ask: "Hey, Ed, where you at?" (The horse, it seems, was always in his stall.) But if he had had to, TV's "Mr. Ed" could answer him—lugubriously and selectively (he only ever talked to Wilbur) and in the velvety voice of Allan Lane, whose own name (for some reason) never appeared in the credits. The Wikipedia article on this hit sitcom, which ran from 1961 to 1966, was quite educational. I was surprised to learn, for instance, that the eponymous equine was created by the esteemed Walter R. Brooks of Freddy the Pig fame. (Of course, of course!) Brooks, who hailed from Rome, New York, and attended the University of Rochester around the turn of the century, wrote for The New Yorker and other popular magazines of the day. He published 180 short stories all together, 25 of which had to do with Ed the talking horse. The television program was reportedly based on a Prohibition tale entitled "Ed Takes the Pledge." Unlike the voice actor Allan Lane, Walter Brooks received credit on every episode for "the famous Mr. Ed." The high-probability typo Eduat* (for Educat*) turns up 58 times in OhioLINK today. Take a pledge to catch it in your own catalog, if that's where it's at.

(Walter R. Brooks, from Freddy the Pig's homepage.)

Carol Reid

Monday, April 26, 2010

Municpal* (for Municipal*)

Munich is a friendly city or, at any rate, seems to want to think of itself that way. For one thing, it's named after monks, who can be surprisingly affable. And its motto is "Munich Loves You" (supplanting "Cosmopolitan City with a Heart"). Notable exceptions Adolf Hitler and Joseph Ratzinger both lived there. So did Freddy Mercury and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Its American "twin city" is Cincinnati, Ohio. Munich was the site of the first Nazi concentration camp (Dachau) as well as the student resistance movement known as the White Rose. Municpal* was found 13 times in OhioLINK (and if you shorten it to Municp*, you can make that 14). So be a pal today and fish around for this typo in your own pool of records.

(Two Munich pals in a municipal fountain at Marienplatz, 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, April 23, 2010

Microsot, etc. (for Microsoft)

Sots (also known as drunkards, topers, tipplers, bibbers, soakers, sponges, love-pots, tosspots, guzzlers, boozers, inebriates, tavern haunters, thirsty souls, revelers, carousers, bacchantes, and mænads, among many others) come in a variety of sizes. And all sorts of sots have been all sorts of soused on all sorts of things besides booze. They've gotten drunk on love. They've drunk the Kool-Aid. They've been drunk with power and drunk in the shower. And in the 1990s, it seems too many of them were recklessly drinking the heady champagne of the dot-com bubble. In OhioLINK, we found four cases of Microsot, three of Microsft, two of Micosoft, and one of Microsof. Bill's might not have been a Gate-way drug to the rest, but it's been a long hangover for most. Whichever software you use, don't be soft on typos for Microsoft.

(Drunk groom cake topper, photo by Sebastien Paquet of Moncton, New Brunswick, 2004, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gobal*, Golbal* (for Global*)

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. It's been celebrated on April 22 ever since its inception in 1970 by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson. Actually, the name of the day (which Nelson had dubbed the "National Environment Teach-In") occurred to several people, including Leonard Koenig, an ad copywriter who later won acclaim with his "Think Small" Volkswagon [i.e. Volkswagen] commercial. (The designated date also happened to be Koenig's birthday, which inspired the rhyming phrase Earth Day.) Gaylord Nelson was a proponent of population control, though he was also responsible for securing warning labels about the side effects of oral contraceptives (see the "Nelson Pill Hearings"). He once summed up his priorities by saying: "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around." If you think of the earth as a big blue ball bouncing through space, today's typo is like a cheerleader hopefully urging it on: Go, ball! The typo Gobal* turns up 26 times in OhioLINK, and Golbal* six times. (About half are correctly spelled foreign words and personal names.) Now warm up your workspace and make these typos global.

(Governor Gaylord Nelson, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hapiness (for Happiness)

Have you ever wanted to see a man in a skirt, with long hair and pendulous breasts? Well, this should make you Hapi. Also spelled Hapy, the Egyptian "genius of fecundity" actually looks a little ticked off about the whole thing, but perhaps he's carrying reed seeds in his balled-up fists. Regarded as the god of the River Nile, or more specifically, the annual flooding of same, his name translates to "Running One." He was also called "Lord of the Fishes and Birds of the Marshes" or "Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation." A pursuit of Hapiness in OhioLINK yielded 14 records, including three where the potential typo was qualified with a [sic], plus two containing possible "antiquated" spellings, which may or may not appear that way on the original. Happily, though, you won't have to lift any heavy clay tablets or unroll a scroll of dusty papyrus in order to find out.

(Statue of the god Hapi, 100-200 A.D., housed in the Vatican's Gregorian Egyptian Museum, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poepl* (for Peopl*)

According to the London Guardian yesterday, 7,000 unsold copies of an Australian cookbook called The Pasta Bible were pulped by the publisher after a reader wrote in to complain that a recipe for tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto also called for adding "salt and freshly ground black people." (Soylent Black, anyone?) The publisher dismissed the predictable outrage, calling it a "silly mistake" and pointing out that his proofreaders were focused on catching inaccuracies in ingredient amounts, a far more common concern when it comes to cookbooks. In any event, this one is sure to go down in the annals of expensive typographical errors (the mea culpa is expected to cost Penguin $20,000). Poepl* is peppered liberally throughout OhioLINK, 39 times to be exact.

(Piper nigrum, by Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen, 1887, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, April 19, 2010

Diary + Dairy (for Dairy or Diary)

Dear Diary,
It was a cold day in Atlanta and I was feeling rather peckish when I spotted what looked like a giant ice cream treat on the Georgia Tech campus. It turned out to be a work of "art," but before you could say, "I know what I like," I'd gotten my tongue stuck to it! (I think I'll stick to dairy products from now on...)

We whipped up 31 cases of Dairy + Diary in OhioLINK this morning, only one of which was an example of both words spelled correctly in context. Five of them were Dairy for diary; the rest were Diary for dairy. Dare I say, lick this typo today?

("Dairy Queen" statue at the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts, Georgia Institute of Technology, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sepera* (for Separate, etc.)

A sepera, according to the website Urban Dictionary, is: "1) a mischievous genius or militant womanizer; or 2) a serpent-like man, one who is wise and crafty." The definition goes on to say: "A Sepera is someone who is a Rebel against the systems of the world, although he seems to Master it and use the system to his personal individual advantage. Sepera does not know how to make the world better, but he knows how to get the best out of it." Darlene Love seems to have been defending a certain sepera when she sang:

He's a rebel and he'll never be any good,
He's a rebel 'cause he never ever does what he should,
But just because he doesn't do what everybody else does,
That's no reason why I can't give him all my love,
He's always good to me, always treats me tenderly,
'Cause he's not a rebel, no no no,
He's not a rebel, no no no, to me. . .

OhioLINK returns 201 hits on Sepera*, making it an exceedingly common typo or, more likely, an intentionally typed spelling error. Which are two separate things. (As Urban Dictionary puts it: "Too many ignorami spell SEPARATE as seperate.") So save your rebellion for some "militant womanizing" after work and, until then, let's try and separate the leader from the OPAC.

(Darlene Love and Phil Spector, from the website Pantheon Songs: Songs That Transcend Classic Status.)


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Assitan* (for Assistan*)

Today is Library Assistants' Day in New York State and the typo Assitan* shows up 64 times in OhioLINK. (By the way, this might be the worst visual pun here ever, but I simply couldn't resist.) This iconic image is bound to be seen as politically incorrect by some, and in more ways than one, but I'll leave most of those to your own overheated imaginations. I will, though, address the hot-button topic of tanning. The mainstream medical position continues to be that you should slather yourself in sunscreen whenever you step outside; however, some people are starting to question this advice in light of the growing epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency. We may well see a resurgence of unfiltered sun worship as the "sunshine is evil" viewpoint starts to fade away. The bare bottom pictured here has also disappeared of late and in recent ads the kid is even shown with a hat and shirt on. Jodie Foster made her acting debut in a Coppertone commercial in 1965, but the original model was the daughter of Joyce Ballantyne Brand, who, although she's tired of talking about it, retains the audacious attitude that drew her to make this daring (she says "boring") drawing in the first place.

(Coppertone girl sign at 7300 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami, Florida, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Epherm* (for Ephemera, etc.)

I like to memorize poetry and was casting about for a new poem to learn the other day when I came across an old childhood favorite entitled Forgiven, by A. A. Milne.

I found a little beetle; so that Beetle was his name,
And I called him Alexander and he answered just the same.
I put him in a match-box, and I kept him all the day...
And Nanny let my beetle out—
Yes, Nanny let my beetle out—
She went and let my beetle out—
And Beetle ran away. . . .

Today I'm cataloging some ephemera, which strikes me as the sort of word one might mis-key from time to time, so I decided to look it up in OhioLINK and, sure enough, 11 cases of Epherm* popped up, a couple of which could have been correctly spelled Greek words, but most of which were clearly typos. One in particular caught my eye: A Bibliography of Ephermal [sic] Bibelots, by Frederick W. Faxon, 1897. A bibelot is "a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity; akin to a bauble." All of this put me in mind of a segment I recently saw on CBS Sunday Morning about British "micro-sculptor" Willard Wigan. Wigan started fashioning vanishingly minute tableaux after a teacher once told him he was bound to be a failure, a cruel remark that made him feel "small." His mother offered some sage advice: "If you keep making small things, your name will get bigger!"

"It began when I was five years old," says Wigan. "I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn’t hold me back and my teachers couldn’t criticise me." Wigan employs dust, eyelashes, sugar crystals, grains of sand, seeds, and so on in the making of his minuscule creations. His work is often hard to see, but having been dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World," it's hardly ephemeral. (Except for the time that Wigan, while working on a wee Wonderland, inhaled his tiny Alice!) If you haven't had your fill yet, take a close look at these other amazing artists as well.

(The First Family in the eye of a needle, by Willard Wigan.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Richrad* (for Richard*)

Richard S. Halsey, lately of Dallas, Texas, passed away on March 28, 2010. Known by a great many people for a great many things, Dick Halsey was once the heart and soul of SUNY Albany's library school. He was highly esteemed but not stuffy; in fact, I'd venture to say that most of his students and colleagues regarded him as totally "rad." Impatient to begin my master's degree in the fall of 1985, I had signed up for a short seminar in censorship over the summer and was instantly smitten by the twinkly-eyed teacher and dean. After spiritedly holding forth for a few hours on the subject of "intellectual freedom," he quietly stated that the class would have to be canceled since only three of us had shown up. But it hardly mattered by then. He had set me firmly on a course that would inform my schoolwork and career, as well as my overall thinking, for many years to come. Halsey was sui generis—gifted, worldly, urbane, and hilarious—and he was utterly committed to libraries. We are all a bit richer for having had Richard among us, and quite a bit poorer now that he's gone. There are six cases of Richrad* in OhioLINK, which makes it a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list, but one I humbly offer up here in memory of our brilliant and beloved library friend. Rest in peace, dear old Dean.

(Obituary for Richard Halsey in the Dallas Morning News.)

Carol Reid

Monday, April 12, 2010

Natonal* (for National*)

No wordplay today, just a simple plea: Support your local library, lobby for state library funding, and promote the role of libraries in the nation's economic recovery. If none of that works, you could try giving NATO a call. (Okay, one pun.) It's National Library Week and, while it might not seem like there's a whole lot to celebrate these days, maybe it's a good time to step back and take a look at where we're at. To reassess and reconsider, figure out where we need to go and how we're going to get there. In a tight economy, which will it be? Books or bytes? Hours or towers? Bricks and mortar or WiFi and broadband? Are libraries becoming obsolete, or are they our only hope for the future? (I'm watching That Touch of Mink on TCM as I write this and just heard John Fiedler say to Barbara Colletine: "You librarians live it up pretty good!" Well, perhaps we should start acting like it.) There are 47 cases of Natonal* in the OhioLINK database, but by fixing this typo locally, we improve access to the national debate on such critical issues.

(1919 photo of the old Carnegie Library in downtown Seattle, now demolished, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, April 9, 2010

Prpos* (for Purpose(s), Proposals, etc.)

Regular viewers of “The Late Late Show” will know that Scottish host Craig Ferguson is proud of his recently-obtained U.S. citizenship. In the 2009 memoir American on Purpose: the Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot, he writes, with all sincerity:

I am the child of two parents and two countries .... Scotland made me what I am and America let me be it.

America gave me everything I have today. It gave me a second chance at life. A life I had previously mishandled so catastrophically. Americans taught me failure was only something you went through on the way to success, not just in the sense of career or wealth but as a person. I learned that failure is only failure, and that it can be useful, spun into a story that will make people laugh, and maybe every once in a while give a message of hope to others who might need some.

For me, becoming an American was not a geographical or even political decision. It was a philosophical and emotional one, based on a belief in reason and fairness of opportunity.

That I became a citizen of this country in January and was at a dinner with the president in March is, I think, in a small way, indicative that we are still the country we hope we are .... America is the land of the second, third, and 106th chance.

That’s a lot for any country to live up to! Fortunately, finding and correcting today’s low-probability typo won’t be nearly so arduous. A search of the OhioLink catalog uncovers 5 instances of Prpos* in English-language items, and there are an additional 5 occurrences of “à propos” in French ones.

(American flag, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pengiu* (for Penguin, etc.)

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot is better known to Batman fans as The Penguin, and like all good villains in the Caped Crusader’s universe, he’s a flamboyant fellow. But according to the DC Comics site, poor little Oswald didn’t start out that way. He was an odd-looking duck with a potbelly, beak-like nose, and love of birds, all characteristics that guaranteed he would be bullied by the other kids. Oswald eventually turned to a life of crime, but he could never truly overcome his past. Even his weapon of choice–the trick umbrella–had its origins in a domineering mother who insisted he carry this accessory all times, lest he be caught in the rain and die of pneumonia like his father.

Today’s typo is a high probability one on the Ballard list with 14 entries in the OhioLink database. Most are related to the publisher Penguin, although the errors occur in title and series fields too, and not just in the imprint area. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a superhero to do battle with this Pengiu*.

(“Paraguas, Umbrella” by Capgros, from the Stock.XCHNG photo site)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Throughly (for Thoroughly)

Throughly is a typographical error for thoroughly–except when it’s not. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the archaic form “throughly” dates to the mid-15th century and can mean “fully,” “completely,” or “perfectly,” as well as “through” and “throughout.” The word appears in early editions of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, when fair Portia is heard to say, “I am enformed throughly of the cause, Which is the Merchant here? and which the Jew?” It also appears in English translations of the Miserere (Psalm 50 (Vulgate)), often set to music:

Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness: according to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offences.
Wash me throughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.

Generally, the presence of the low-probability typo throughly should be questioned for items published after 1800. There are currently 24 such instances in the OhioLink catalog. However, a number of these actually represent republications of earlier materials or scores and recordings of “Wash Me Throughly.” So use care when making corrections in your own catalog!

(Thomas Sully’s Portia and Shylock, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Box Edler (for Box Elder)

Did you think of the tree? While it’s true that Box Elder is indeed a type of tree native to the central and eastern United States, it’s also a county in Utah. There, on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit, the nation’s first transcontinental railroad was completed. A joint project by the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads encompassing 1,800 miles of track, it took roughly six and a half years to build. Since 1957, this momentous achievement has been commemorated at the Golden Spike National Historic Site, where there are reenactments of the original ceremony joining the two rail lines with (you guessed it) a golden spike. Also on display are replicas of Central Pacific's Jupiter and Union Pacific's No. 119 engines.

Box Edler is a typo of low probability with 5 entries in the OhioLink catalog. All occur in title fields for quadrangle maps of Box Elder County.

(Utah State Quarter, United States Mint Image)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pulbic* (for Public, Publication, etc.)

Pulbic* is my typographical nemesis–I can never seem to key the word public correctly. So I’m not surprised that this error appears in the high-probability section of the Ballard list. There are currently 18 English-language entries for it in the OhioLink database, and nearly 100 in WorldCat when searched as a keyword.

Let’s all do our best to wipe out this very pulbic public enemy in our own catalogs!

(Wite-Out Correction Fluid, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tyopgraph* (for Typograph*)

I couldn’t resist the silliness of blogging about tyopgraph*, a typographical error for typograph* that occurs 35 times in Worldcat.

It’s possible that the cataloguers who typed these records were haunted by the typo fairy. Also called the typo demon, these little guys have been haunting printing houses for centuries. 19th century typesetters blamed an invisible or small, winged creature for their errors (or the printing apprentices, who were also called "printers devils"). In the Middle Ages, the demon Titivillus’s job was to ensure monks made errors when copying the scriptures. He carried a sack and would also collect mumbled and misspoken words during prayer.

Painovirhepaholainen (“printing mistake devil”) is the Finnish typo demon. His name has been jokingly misspelled as Pianovirhe, or “piano mistake” – it seems the demon has left the print houses and is causing musicians to hit the wrong notes.

Leanne Olson

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Astromom* (for Astronom*)

Hapy Arpil Foools’ Day!1!

The exact origins of April Fools’ Day are unknown, but there’s been plenty of speculation. One of the most popular theories is the French origin: in 1582, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar moved New Year’s Day from March 25th to January 1st. Those who continued to celebrate the end of the new year’s week on April 1st were called fools--or other insults. In France, the celebration of April Fools’ Day involves calling your victim poisson d’avril (“April fish”) and taping a paper fish to his or her back.

One of my favourite April Fools’ jokes was quite astronomical (not astromomical), perpetrated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In 2005, NASA posted a story on their website announcing that they had pictures of water on Mars! The photos turned out to be not of water on the red planet, but a glass of water balanced on a Mars chocolate bar, pictured above.

Also watch out for Astromon*, which we blogged about last year.

Leanne Olson

(Photo of water on Mars from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day)