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