Friday, August 29, 2008

Plicy and Ploicy (for Policy)

OhioLINK holds three typos apiece for policy: Plicy and Ploicy—who sound a bit like an old vaudeville act or maybe a Marx Brothers movie law firm (see Dewey, Cheatem & Howe). Homer Plessy, with neither a black face nor a crack legal team (although they did their best in the early days of Jim Crow), was a Creole "octoroon" who, much like Rosa Parks a half century later, was enlisted by civil rights advocates to serve as a test case for racial segregation. (The ambiguity of his coloring allowed his lawyers to argue that the lack of clear-cut racial categories made segregation on this basis an "unreasonable" use of the state's powers.) In 1892 Plessy was arrested and jailed after seating himself in the "white" section of a Louisiana railroad car. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction in Plessy v. Ferguson, ruling that while blacks were not to be regarded as inferior to whites, it was okay to separate the races as a matter of public policy, thereby introducing the phrase "separate but equal" into the American lexicon. This famous decision, which governed race relations for the first half of the 20th century, was overturned in 1946.

(Portrait of Homer Plessy looking placid and firm in his resolve.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Micellan*, Misellan* (for Miscellaneous, etc.)

According to the journal Chemical and Engineering News: "Researchers have demonstrated that memory and intelligence can be improved genetically, creating more than a dozen varieties of 'smart' mice." Back here in the library lab, a dozen hits for Micellan* were isolated in OhioLINK, along with half a dozen for Misellan*. This appears to be a rapidly growing typo too; those numbers have risen to 19 and eight over the past week.

(Snippy and Snappy by the wonderfully smart Wanda Gág, published in 1931.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Love Stores (for Love Stories)

"I took my troubles down to Madame Ruth. You know, that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth. She's got a pad down on 34th and Vine, selling little bottles of ... Love Potion #9." Love Stores of a different sort can be found five times in OhioLINK, making it a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list, but like love itself perhaps, worth taking a chance on. Searching more broadly on Stores + Stories, in fact, yields a much higher return of 101. These, however, do not all indicate typos. For example, the first one is for the title Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench? Hardware Stores and Hardware Stories, by Vince Staten. Whether your own story is a hard-luck one or not, you'll definitely feel better if you take your typos down to Madame Ruth. Or else just fix them up yourself.

(Composers Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller, from the ASCAP Foundation's scholarship web page.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Micheal, Micahel (for Michael)

We found 606 hits in OhioLINK for Micheal, many of which are clearly typos for the name Michael, although some are apparently the correct spelling of a personal name. (The WorldCat authority file shows 173 headings, or cross references, spelled this way.) Micheal + Michael reduces the count to 206. Micahel nets 73 as well (or 55 when searched with Michael). If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, filmmaker Michael Moore's many detractors may be of two minds about the man. There are at least eight "anti-Michael Moore movies" to date, done in the documentary style popularized by such films as Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 911, and Sicko. These derisively derivative parodies include: Michael & Me; Michael Moore Hates America; Quacking for Columbine; Fahrenhype 911; An American Carol; Celsius 41.11; Shooting Michael Moore; and Manufacturing Dissent. The last one's not too bad.

(Cover of Citizen Moore by Roger Rapoport, winner of ForeWord Magazine's Gold Award for Biography, 2007.)

Carol Reid

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bussiness* (for Business)

Bus[s]ing—the word for transporting dishes from the table to the kitchen in a restaurant, or children from one school to another for the purposes of desegregation—can have either one S or two, according to various dictionaries. But the same word, when it means kissing, simply must have two to tango. There are ten instances of Bussiness* in OhioLINK (including two with the qualifier "sic"). Although this little girl looks too young to go into business for herself, a kissing booth may be in her future.

("She gets the penny, he gets the kiss" from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rosevelt (for Roosevelt)

"A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues," according to Theodore Roosevelt, who more famously suggested speaking softly and carrying a big stick. The recently discovered typo "Rosevelt" is interesting because all but one of the entries in OhioLINK showed a legitimate spelling. When the word appears on the lists at Typographical errors in library databases , it will be in the 'E,' or very low probability, section. This morning, there were 127 hits for the term in WorldCat, but the vast majority were legitimate. Some of these can appear deceptive, such as the record for "Rosevelt's America," which is a video biography of the Liberian exile Rosevelt Henderson. While this was legitimate, we do note that records containing typographical errors are found to a disproportionate degree in records for audiovisual media.

Today's photograph shows the front porch of Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt's mansion at Oyster Bay, Long Island. The original can be seen at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tolkein (for Tolkien)

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world," according to the British writer and educator J.R.R. Tolkien. Indeed. As far as names go, Tolkien can never hope to match Nietzsche or Khrushchev. This inverted-letter typo makes it to the 'D' list in Typographical errors in library databases at , meaning that there were at least two but no more than nine hits for the error in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Checking back, we found nine hits in OhioLINK this morning. I must add a disclaimer here: as a young science fiction and fantasy reader in the 1960's, I started reading Tolkien around 1965 when the paperbacks first hit. I enjoyed The Hobbit, but I got hopelessly bogged down somewhere in the second book of the trilogy when I totally lost track of which army was which. Years later I was in the minority as others heaped praise on the movie trilogy. While the books were very Stiff Upper Lip British, the movies looked like an elaborate video game, where giant monsters were lurking behind every rock. Back to the matter at hand, you would be pretty safe in changing any Tolkein in your catalog to Tolkien.
Today's photograph shows a tree in the Killarney forest that may remind you of Tolkien. The original can be seen at .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Offical (for Official)

"The budget should be balanced. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt." So wrote Marcus Tullius Cicero in the First Century B.C., in an effort to prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Offical is on the A, or high probability, section of Typographical errors in library databases, meaning that the error was found in more than 100 records in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. This is a case of the all-time classic typo - a missing 'I' near the end of a long word. It brings up more than 11 million web pages in Google. We found more than 1000 hits for the error in COPAC, the British union catalog. By finding it in Australian catalogs we confirmed that the sun never sets on this typo. If your catalog does not contain Offical, then you have found something to brag about.
Today's photo shows the LDS temple in Salt Lake City, the official headquarters for that religion. The original can be found at

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Structual (for Structural)

"I installed a skylight in my apartment yesterday. The people who live above me are furious."—Steven Wright. Structual seems to be a simple case of a missing letter near the end of a long word. This is a team effort from the cataloger who probably didn't hit the 'R' hard enough and the proofreader whose mind filled in the missing information. It is found in the 'B' or high probability section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was found between 16 and 99 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. In Google it was found in a modest quarter million pages. Modest for Google anyway. Checking back in OhioLINK, there were 17 hits for Structual this morning.

Today's photo shows the early work on the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. It was taken last November, and we hear that it hasn't changed much in the last 9 months. By comparison, the Empire State Building was constructed in 14 months. The original shot can be found at

Monday, August 18, 2008

Estern (for Eastern)

"East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet," according to Rudyard Kipling. This particular typo seems pretty straightforward - Estern for Eastern. Think again. What if somebody didn't hit the 'W' hard enough and this was the result for some poor soul who wanted to type 'Western.' The error is on the 'C' list of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was present from 8 to 15 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. We checked that catalog today and found exactly 100 hits for the term, but most of them were in German. That is why our volunteers always limit to records in the English language. Because of the possible East/West confusion, it is more important than ever to check for context before attempting to correct a record with this error.
Today's photo shows the thriving boardwalk scene at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. The original is found at

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lousiana, etc. (for Louisiana)

In the summer of 2005, Louisiana got a raw deal from the climate and a lousy one from the government. But as Bob Dylan once said, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Those who cared about Hurricane Katrina figured out long ago that aid to the denizens of New Orleans would have to come from people with agency rather than agencies of the feds. "A dignified alternative to the FEMA trailer," proclaim the makers of the sweet relief abode known as the Katrina Cottage. "Safe and affordable homes designed to be more than shelter, Katrina Cottages build communities." The cottage won the Cooper-Hewitt People's Design Award in 2006. The typo Louisanna was blogged here in December of that year, but variants continue to wreak havoc in our OPACs: Lousiana turns up 104 times in OhioLINK, Louisana 51, and Louisina seven. (Picturesque pic of Katrina Cottage #544, designed by Marianne Cusato.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cuture*, Cutura* (for Culture, Cultural, etc.)

Ordinarily, it's the outtakes that wind up on the cutting room floor, but for the extraordinary German filmmaker Lotte Reiniger, cutting was at the very heart of her art. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (based on a story from The Thousand and One Nights) employed a silhouette technique involving cardboard cutouts that was invented by Reiniger herself. Released in 1926, it is the oldest surviving animated feature film in the world. There were actually a lot of women directors at that time, but Reiniger's contribution to film culture was unique. Cuture* appears eight times in OhioLINK and Cutura* 23 times. Note that the former could also be a typo for the word future. (Still frame from The Adventures of Prince Achmed, courtesy of the Method Shop.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Visting (for Visiting)

Wikipedia disambiguates the various meanings of calling card into five subsets, or what librarians sometimes call "see references": Business card; Calling card (crime); Tart card; Telephone card; and Visiting card. (Love the "tart card" ... "No, not tarot, but speaking of good news in your future, I'll be right over!") Visting shows up 19 times in OhioLINK, making it a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. Visiting cards first made an appearance in China in the 15th century, and by the 1920s were taking up an entire chapter in Emily Post. (Visiting card of Princess Pauline de Metternich, designed by Edgar Degas circa 1865, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Labrator* (for Laboratory)

Tired of the rat race? Of toiling for tories? Of labored spelling puns instead of just getting to the point already? Okay, okay, don't be so thin-skinned. Our typo for today is Labrator* and, not to be a brat about it, but we found 20 of these running through OhioLINK, which makes it a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. Here we have an example of words that are pronounced somewhat differently than they're spelled (in the US at any rate; speakers in the UK tend to land on every syllable, or at least on different ones). Such words are often (mis)spelled in accordance with the way they sound. (Week-old lab rat clutching a coin—"Another maze, another dollar!"—from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, August 11, 2008

Calender* (for Calendar*)

Mark your calendar spelled correctly if there's an A at the end of it, incorrectly if there's an E. There are many types of calendars in the world—such as the Persian solar, the Islamic lunar, and the Hebrew lunisolar—and many occurrences of the typo Calender*. In fact, we found so many (1,243 in OhioLINK) that it's pretty likely some of them are either proper names or foreign/antiquated spellings. Limiting the search to Calender* + Calendar* reduced the count to 93, which is still quite a few, but then calendar is notable for being a commonly misspelled word. There are over 200 examples in my own library's catalog. So don't flip out. Hang in there. Tomorrow is another day. (Photograph of Eugene Callender by Annelise Rostig, from the website Maximum Security: The True Meaning of Freedom by Alan Gompers.)

Carol Reid

P.S. An astute reader informs us that a calender is a machine in which paper or cloth is made smooth and glossy by being pressed through rollers; and to calender is to press in the rollers of such a machine.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Enertain* (for entertain, entertainment, etc.)

That's "Enertainment!" Whoa! I mean That's Entertainment! Smile! It's Friday!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ligth* (for light, etc.)

I have not had the opportunity to view the Northern Lights in person. Regretfully, I probably never will. But I have seen typos for light, lights, lightweight, and other words beginning with the erroneous "ligth." This misspelling must be common for Microsoft Word users--I had the most frustrating experience overriding my automatic correction feature to write this blog entry!

Wendee Eyler

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Impared (for impaired)

Any library with videos or DVDs has a good chance of finding the note: Closed captioned for the hearing "impared." Also look for the subject heading: Video recordings for the hearing "impared."

Wendee Eyler

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monthy (for monthly)

Correcting "Monthy" is a word-by-word, record by record chore--global replacement is not advised. "Monthy" appears to be used correctly as a surname and incorrectly for "Monthy" Python, the song title "In the merry "monthy" of May," and publishers, such as Atlantic "Monthy" Press.

Today's picture is from a scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Wendee Eyler

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sculture (for sculpture)

Tina Gunther, Lib Typos ListKeeper, suggested "sculture" for the blog. It's a good example of being extra careful when correcting typos in online catalogs. She confirmed 11 cases of the English typo "sculpture." In Italian, however, "sculture" is the plural form of "scultura", which is the Italian word for "sculpture."

Today's picture is a Clipart Picture clay sculpture of a happy curly haired woman flashing a big smile and holding a vanilla ice cream cone. Ah, the lazy days of summer!

Wendee Eyler

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sundy, etc. (for Sunday, etc.)

Thank God it's Friday. And, while Ol' Blue Eyes might've disagreed, Friday does not rhyme with "My Way." The preferred pronunciation for the last syllable of Friday and other days of the week is DEE. Look it up if you don't believe me. Or, better yet, check it out in one of those online dictionaries that provide audio. David Feldman, author of the Imponderables series, writes: "We went to the Merriam-Webster Web site and listened to the disembodied voice pronounce Fri'DEE, and what came back sounded like nothing we've ever heard." Actually, M-W wavers a bit on this point, sometimes favoring one pronunciation and sometimes the other, both in the written and spoken forms. I recommend the American Heritage site instead, which not only gives the right pronunciation (it consistently lists the DAY one second, except for Saturday—maybe that guy just didn't get the memo), but keeps repeating it over and over again until you close out of it. We got a dee-lightful dozen hits in OhioLINK—namely three on Sundy, one on Mondy, four on Wednesdy, one on Thursdy, and three on Saturdy.

(Picture of Sandra Dee from the website.)

Carol Reid