Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gordan + Gordon (for Gordon or Gordan)

Tiny Ruth Gordon was a very big hit as the daffy, life-affirming "Maude" in the 1971 cult film Harold and Maude (co-starring the much younger and more jaded Bud Cort), as well as the nosy neighbor and mousse-producing satanist in the 1968 film about a cult called Rosemary's Baby. But the truth is that Ruth had been proving herself on both stage and screen for quite some time before that. Born in 1896 in Quincy, Massachusetts, Gordon collaborated with her husband, Garson Kanin, on such Tracy-Hepburn vehicles as Adam's Rib and Pat and Mike. (The screenwriting pair chose to make the latter film in order to showcase their friend Kate's impressive talent at golf.) Gordon also wrote the script for the autobiographical film The Actress, starring Spencer Tracy and Teresa Wright. I haven't watched that one yet, but another strange and wonderful Ruth Gordon flick I did just see is called Lord Love a Duck, made in 1968, with Roddie McDowell and Tuesday Weld. It's quite an amazing film and rather hard to describe. Catch it if you can. And try and catch today's combination typo wherever you can find it too. There were 35 cases in OhioLINK (a handful of sics, i.e.'s, and true instances of two different people), but the vast majority of records found revealed a misspelled Gordon or Gordan.

(Ruth Gordon, November 15, 1919, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Censorh*, Censorsi* (for Censorship)

Happy Banned Books Week. I hope that you're all out there celebrating your right to read, elevating worthy work that's being ignored or suppressed, and thumbing your collective noses at censorship. We all have our favorite examples of book banning. (Children's book author Laurie Halse Anderson, who will be visiting a young relative's school shortly, has posted this alarm about the attempted censorship of her young adult novel Speak.) During the 1990s and early aughts, I edited the New York Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Round Table newsletter, Pressure Point. For some reason, I often found myself mistyping the word censorship as Cesnorship, transposing the N and the S. While I did not find much evidence of other catalogers doing the same (nothing in OhioLINK), you might want to check your records anyway. (I got exactly one hit in WorldCat: Cesnores Regios.) I also found two cases of Censorh* and one of Censorsi* in OhioLINK this morning. There are many ways to fight "censorship" (which I put in quotation marks in order to include its many unofficial forms), but making sure the word is spelled correctly in our catalogs is certainly one of them.

(Censored text block, by antonella.beccaria, August 30, 2009, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brithday* (for Birthday*)

Cupcakes are not just for birthdays anymore. These trendy little treats come in an endless parade of styles and flavors. They have their own reality shows, beautiful blogs, and boutique bakeries. They make quick mouth-watering snacks as well as serious substitutes for more traditional multi-tiered wedding cakes. Inevitably, we're even seeing a bit of a backlash against the bite-sized baked goods. We found four samples of today's typo in the OhioLINK database and 64 in WorldCat. Whether it's for the church bake sale, your local B'nai Brith, the annual atheist convention, or simply somebody's birthday, may your cupcake runneth over. (And many happy returns of the day today, M!)

(Vanilla cupcake with whipped chocolate ganache frosting and yellow sprinkles, by Amy Sedaris, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 27, 2010

Puctuat* (for Punctuat*)

Last Friday was National Punctuation Day. In case you missed it or were uncertain about how to celebrate, you can find some useful tips here. (Norwegian prune pudding and peppermint tea, anyone?) Speaking of punctuation and how much fun it can be, I also had the pleasure this year of meeting the puckish punctuation maven Jennifer Dziura at the first annual Empire State Book Festival. I even got called up on stage to assist in her highly entertaining program: ¡The Punctuation Show! (How to Use Tiny Symbols to Make Meaning Without %$^&#* Up), which was advertised as follows: "Calling all sesquipedalians. Do you find the interrobang compelling? Then don’t miss the world premiere of this one-woman punctuation show with Jennifer Dziura, New York’s most grammatically correct comedian." We found five cases of today's typo in OhioLINK this morning, and 29 in WorldCat, so be sure to check your own catalogs as well. On your (punctuation) mark, get set, go!

(Demonstration of the use of "air quotes," from Wikimedia Commons. Click pic to animate.)

Carol Reid

Friday, September 24, 2010

Elmentary, etc. (for Elementary)

What do you call the school that you go to before junior high or middle school? Elementary, my dear Watson! (Though there are some who prefer to call it grade school or primary school instead.) There are at least two "Elm Tree Elementary" schools in the United States: one in Bentonville, Arkansas, the other in Valley, Nebraska. Elm trees grace many a portal of learning, in fact. ("Elmo" was the beloved 100-year-old elm tree at Brown University that had to be cut down in December 2003 due to Dutch Elm Disease; wood from the felled tree was then incorporated into various campus art projects.) The Mighty Elm also crops up repeatedly throughout English literature. We discovered 13 examples of Elmentary in OhioLINK today (and one of Elementery).

(Elm Grove Primary School, Brighton, September 10, 2005, by Simon Carey, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beatiful*, Beutiful* (for Beautiful*)

"Does it have a good beat and can you dance to it?" That's all anyone ever really wanted to know on the long-running (1957-1989) television program American Bandstand with Dick Clark. A virtual teenage dance party with lip-syncing special guests, it basically meant kicking off your shoes and getting funky in your parents' rec room on a Saturday afternoon. For sheer dependability, pure pleasure, and great music, American Bandstand couldn't be beat. Our typo today may not make our top ten list, but it is a real beaut. We got 19 hits on Beatiful* and 11 on Beutiful* in OhioLINK this morning.

(Dick Clark backstage during the Grammy Awards telecast, February 21, 1990, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Forsenic*, Foresnic* (for Forensic*)

Most people would not consider the work of a forensic scientist to be the slightest bit scenic, but when an actress like April Bowlby (playing a character called Kandi) plays one, it's quite a pretty sight. In the Two and a Half Men episode "It Never Rains in Hooterville," a supportive Alan (Jon Cryer) tells Kandi, who has just landed a role on a TV show entitled Stiffs: "Uh, well, I for one totally buy you as a brilliant forensic investigator." "Thanks!" Kandi replies, "but I believe it's pronounced fornesic." Forsenic* turns up three times in OhioLINK and Foresnic* once. Unfortunately, Fornesic* does not come up at all, but then it's awfully hard to beat Kandi the forensic expert for sheer cluelessness.

(April Bowlby attending the AIDS Research Alliance's ArtSeen 3, May 17, 2008, Culver City, California, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mogan* + Morgan* (for Morgan*)

To some, he was a seasoned Hollywood character actor; to others, he was Rose's boyfriend Miles on The Golden Girls. He even played such eminent figures as Karl Marx, Ezra Pound, and Sigmund Freud on the stage. But to many of us, he will always be simply Martin Morganstern, Rhoda's dad. Harold Gould was born in Schenectady, New York, and was raised in nearby Colonie. He was an alumnus of my own alma mater, the University at Albany (which was then known as the New York State College for Teachers). Gould passed away on September 11 in Woodlawn Hills, California, at the age of 86. Let's all raise a virtual glass of Mogen David wine in memory of the talented and charming "Hal" Gould. There were seven cases of Mogan* + Morgan* in OhioLINK today.

(Harold Gould giving a lecture at the UAlbany theater department in 2003, from the New York State Writers Institute blog.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 20, 2010

Priate, Priates, Bucaneer*, etc. (for Pirate, Pirates, Buccaneer*, etc.)

September 19 was "Talk Like a Pirate Day," but since it fell on a relatively restful Sunday this year, your little buccaneers may be busting to test out their Arrrrghs at school today. And for the young captain kidds just starting to set sail on their voyages through the 3 R's, you might want to pack a copy of local author James Preller's latest release, A Pirate's Guide to First Grade. We were only able to pull up two cases of Priate and three of Priates in OhioLINK this morning, so while you're down there searching for buried treasure in your own catalog, you might want to check for these typos too, discovered between one to three times apiece: Bucaneer*, Bucanneer*, and Buccanneer*.

(A Pirate's Guide to First Grade, from James Preller's blog.)

Carol Reid

Friday, September 17, 2010

Freee (for Free)

In 2008, online retailer Amazon introduced Frustration-Free Packaging to help combat customer “wrap rage.” In a letter posted on the company’s Web site, CEO Jeff Bezos explained:

“Wrap rage” describes the frustration we humans feel when trying to free a product from an nearly impenetrable package. Some products are hermetically sealed inside plastic clamshell cases, while others (especially toys) use plastic-coated steel-wire ties.”

The new packaging is designed to be opened without the use of box cutters, razor blades, or knives. Amazon’s initiative is also a green one, in that the company uses smaller, 100 percent recyclable cardboard boxes and less overall packing material. The bad news for consumers is that it’s only available for select Amazon products, and we’re still stuck with the same old, same old from most other retailers.

I’ve never heard of “search rage” being linked to library catalogs, but you can at least make yours frustration-free by finding and correcting typos like Freee. OhioLink contains 3 entries for this lowest-probability error, but one of them is for the chapter title “Evereeebodeee's freee,” and another appears to represent the Freee Art Collective.

(Box cutter, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Accont* (for Accountability, etc.)

Last week, BP released the findings from its internal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon well explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company’s verdict? According to its own Web site:

A report released by BP today concludes that decisions made by "multiple companies and work teams" contributed to the accident which it says arose from "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces.”

Huh? What ever happened to accountability?

Accont* is a typo of moderate probability with 25 English-language entries in the OhioLink database. (Not all are truly errors.) It might be tempting to pass the buck on these findings in your own catalog, but you’ll feel better if you do the right thing and correct them.

(NASA satellite image of the oil spill, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Advertsing (for Advertising)

What’s in a name? When it comes to advertising for food products, a lot, apparently. It defies belief that simply re-christening something would make consumers believe it’s better, or better for them. But this strategy must work. What else could explain the moniker switch for cereals like Honey Smacks and Super Golden Crisp (now sugar-laden on the ingredient label only) or the fast food restaurant KFC (like we’ve really forgotten that it’s fried)?

But my personal pet peeve is “milk chocolate” M&M’s. “Plain” must have lacked the appropriate flair for distinguishing these candies from their peanut counterparts. Although now that the number of flavors and colors has gotten out of hand (I didn’t vote for blue!), perhaps a more descriptive name actually was needed.

Advertsing appears in the lowest-probability section of the Ballard list, meaning one should expect to find a single entry in the OhioLink database. At present, there are four.

(Plain (aka Milk Chocolate) M&M’s by pascal79, from stock.xchng)

Deb Kulczak

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marquerite (for Marguerite)

The Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens) is a tender perennial with evergreen foliage and showy flower heads in shades of white, pink, or yellow. It adores the cooler weather of spring and fall, thus making it an ideal choice for planting right now. Incidentally, the Marguerite belongs to the plant subfamily Asteroideae, which in turn is part of the larger Asteraceae family. The aster is the traditional birth flower for September.

Marquerite is a high-probability typo on the Ballard list, and there are currently 36 English-language OhioLink entries for it (48 total). But tread carefully when fixing such errors in your own catalog, because it’s not at all clear when this spelling is intentional and when it is not. To compound the problem, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish a “g” from a “q” in some fonts.

(Twelve different species of the Asteraceae family, from Wikimedia Commons. The fourth one is a Marguerite.)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, September 13, 2010

Retrun* (for Return, etc.)

These days you can’t listen to the news or pick up a paper without hearing about the return of bedbugs. These nighttime nasties are on the rise in cities from coast to coast. Two commonly-cited factors in their resurgence are the ban on the pesticide DDT and the increasingly mobile nature of our society.

Once introduced to a home, bedbugs are tricky to get rid of. On top of the bites, itching, and possible allergic reactions, those infested also have to deal with the stigma. No one wants to invite Johnny over to play if Johnny’s house is crawling with bedbugs! The old bedtime rhyme “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite,” which has always seemed like such a quaint anachronism, could now become the stuff of nightmares for a new generation of children.

Fortunately, the lowest-probability typo Retrun* (unlike bedbugs) doesn’t seem to be making a comeback. There are only 2 instances of it in the OhioLink database, where they’ve been confined to contents notes.

(Cimex lectularius, or common bedbug, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sepember (for September)

Back to work — back to school — back to books, exhorts this WPA poster from 1940 that seems both retro and yet still relevant today. Nothing has really changed much in the past seventy years. We remain optimistic that there will be jobs to come back to; we anticipate higher education once again becoming affordable; we dream of the day that libraries return to buying books. September in so many ways appears to be the season of hope. Although we have previously blogged on various typos for this month (see Septemeber and Septebmer, etc.), we've somehow managed to overlook today's entry, which was found 11 times in OhioLINK. So let's get back to the work of correcting typos, which will always be with us so long as we continue to have jobs, schools, and books.

(Poster for WPA Statewide Library Project, August 30, 1940, courtesy of the Library of Congress's Work Projects Administration Poster Collection, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Becasue (for Because)

Family lore has it that my expectant father originally wanted to call me Rebecca and I sometimes wonder how my life might have turned out differently had he prevailed in that regard. I'm not really sure what his reason was, but I bet it was because of the enormously popular children's book by Kate Douglas Wiggin, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (This book also gave birth to a Broadway play and three movies.) Since I was a hayseed too and my middle name is Suzanne, I suppose I could have even ended up with the rather bucolic-sounding moniker "Becca Sue." There were eight appearances of Becasue in OhioLINK today, and 63 in WorldCat.

(Mary Pickford in the 1917 silent film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reccomend*, Reccommend* (for Recommend*)

Recco is a comune in the province of Genoa, Italy, which is famous for its focaccia con formaggio (focaccia with cheese) and its September 8th fireworks festival in honor of the Virgin Mary. (By the way, I like that excuse for a fireworks display a lot more than I do the usual "bombs bursting in air." Fare l'amore non la guerra!) The residents of Recco are also known for their water polo team and ... I'm not really sure what else. (Although it's pleasant enough to imagine. Greco-Roman wrestling, perhaps?) Reccomend* occurs five times in OhioLINK, and Reccommend* six, but I'd really recommend you avoid Recomend* as that brings up 159 records, most of them containing a correctly spelled word en Espa├▒ol.

("La spiaggia [beach or sandy shore] di Recco, Liguria, Italia" by Davide Papalini, from Wikimedia Commons.)


Carol Reid

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lavendar (for Lavender)

Lavender is a lovely looking, heavenly smelling herb that was once associated mainly with grandmothers, elderly aunts, and various and sundry "old maids," as they were often called back then. Lavender water was a staple in the boudoirs of women d'un certain age and the dried flowers have always proved to be a popular component of potpourri. (The title Arsenic and Old Lace, according to IMDb, is "a turn on lavender and old lace, a term often used to describe the Victorian era when the homes of genteel older ladies were over-decorated with touches of lace doilies, lace curtains, and the smell of lavender.") I'm not really sure what to say about today's typo, darlin', except perhaps that it's not unknown among the DAR set. Lavender has long deserved a larger audience, though, and seems to be gathering one of late. You now see it as a flavoring agent in everything from cheese to chocolate; it's even reportedly shown up on occasion in scones and marshmallows. Lavender has medicinal uses (as a treatment for acne, headache, and insomnia), works well as a moth repellent and disinfectant, and is often employed in aromatherapy. Lavendar (for lavender) shows up 24 times in OhioLINK, making it a typo of "high probability" on the Ballard list.

(Lavender farm at Kami-Furano in Hokkaido, Japan, 7/22/2004, from Wikimedia Commons. Click image to get a closer look at this breathtaking scene.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 6, 2010

Penisula* (for Peninsula*)

I don't much feel like working today, and when it comes to today's typo in particular, I pretty much feel like nothing more needs to be said. To elaborate would be to belabor the point, to gild the lily, to erect a house of cards when a poker face is what's needed. Nevertheless, I'm going to plunge ahead here and state the painfully obvious. Some peninsulas are more penis-shaped than others, but all of them meet the fundamental requirement for a phallic symbol—something longer than it is wide. The word peninsula comes from the Latin paene meaning "almost" and ─źnsula meaning "island." No man is an island, but there are times when one can almost feel that way. We got a sizable number of hits in OhioLINK on this typo, two dozen to be exact. I'll spare you any more penis puns if you'll spare your own catalog this seminal misspelling. (It will be hard to let go of, I know, but you'll feel much better after you do.)

(The peninsula near castle Duino, Trieste, Italy, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ibrary (for Library)

Spell it “iBrary,” and I wouldn’t even blink. I’d just assume it was Apple’s answer to ebrary for the iPhone and iPad. But unless I’ve missed something, Ibrary is still just a typo for library. You’ll find it in the high-probability section of the Ballard list, and there are 14 entries in OhioLink with this error.

Some are simply typos. But others represent spelled-out acronyms for series (e.g., N[ational] h[ome] l[ibrary] ) and are therefore intentional, if not necessarily correct. Either way, they're obstacles to searching, and in your own catalog you might at least consider providing access to the text string sans punctuation if you don’t want to do full series authority work.

(iPhone, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dsylex* (for Dyslexia, Dyslexic)

Today’s typo might look like a classic case of dyslexia, but letter or word reversal is just one symptom of this learning disability that the Mayo Clinic defines as “an impairment in your brain's ability to translate written images received from your eyes into meaningful language.” Other symptoms include late talking, difficulty rhyming or spelling, delayed reading ability, problems understanding what is heard, trouble remembering the sequence of things, inability to sound out unfamiliar words, and difficulty with foreign language acquisition.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in children, and it usually occurs in those with average or above-average intelligence. Although a dyslexic may have trouble understanding spoken or written language, his or her own speech is most often unaffected.

Dsylex* is a low-probability typo. There are currently 2 occurrences of it in the OhioLINK database, and keyword search of WorldCat yields only 8 results. Most are for versions of the film Just Another Stupid Kid–which is how others might mistakenly judge someone with dyslexia. The variants Dylex* and Dylsex* each bring up a single hit.

(Boy Reading Book by hortongrou, from stock.xchng)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oustand* (for Outstanding)

You might say that eradicating typos is a cause near and dear to our hearts. But for outstanding dedication, there are the guys who spent two and a half months traveling around the United States to do battle with spelling and punctuation errors (think gratuitous quotation marks and possessive apostrophes) on signs large and small. Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson document their exploits with Sharpies, crayons, and other implements in their new book The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time (Crown, 2010). You can also check out their story at the NPR Web site.

Oustand* is a moderate-probability typo with 12 entries in the OhioLINK database. Join the fight by correcting this pesky error in your own catalog!

(Sharpies, from Wikimedia Commons)


Deb Kulczak