Friday, August 31, 2007

August 31, 2007 - Annoint*

Annoint* is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list because it's highly probable that people can't spell it. You won't scratch if you don't itch. Like Innoculate for inoculate, we sometimes think if a little is good, then more is better. There are 25 cases of Annoint* in OhioLINK, and only 467 of anoint*, which is a fairly high wrong-to-right ratio. Many typos, strictly speaking, are not typos at all, but intentionally spelled words, misspelled. This can be a real problem. Last Sunday's New York Times ran an op-ed mea culpa on the subject of its numerous name errors. It seems they make the same ones repeatedly (necessitating a memo asking if reporters know how to spell Gonzales) and egregiously (their boss's name, Sulzberger, has proved persistently troublesome). The possibility of keeping a names database or customized spell checker was raised in the article, prompting one to urge them, if a bit unctuously, to apply this saving salve. Meanwhile, let's hope the Old Gray (Grey?) Lady isn't forced to change her motto to: "All the news that's fit to misprint." (Ointment is an "itinerant collective of artists working in Live and interdisciplinary Art practices, based in West Wales.")

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30, 2007 - Dictionaire*

With 163 hits in OhioLINK, Dictionaire* is a typo of "highest probability" on the Ballard list. When written in the plural (Dictionaires), it's usually a simple case of letter inversion. However, only 15 of these are typos for the word dictionaries; most are for the singular French form (dictionnaire). The French language has no monopoly on this sort of confusion, though. We have trouble with n-words like this in English too. Is it "questionaire" or "questionnaire"? "Millionaire" or "millionnaire"? Good question. Give up? It's questionnaire with two n's and millionaire with one. (Maybe Regis should have asked contestants the question, "How do you spell millionaire?" before they could be declared one.) There may be no easy way to remember these, but remember this: You can always look them up in le dictionnaire.

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

August 29, 2007 - Americam*

In last week's blog entry for Ameeri*, we "did not recall" that there were plenty of other anti-American typos as well. The usual suspects, deemed "high probability" risks on the Ballard list, include: Ameica*, Amerca*, Amercia*, Ameria*, Americam*, and Americn*. All of these are worth keeping an eye on. The following variants should be surveilled as well: Aamer*, Ameirca*, Amercic*, Amereic*, Ammeric*, and Americs. Whether you consider Ralph Nader a true American or a traitor to his country, it's interesting to note that, according to the film An Unreasonable Man, Nader shot to national prominence after noticing one day that he was being followed and chatted up (they didn't have camcorders back then) by a GM snoop hired to dig up some dirt on the celibate and single-minded crusader. While some feel Nader reached his nadir in 2000 when he stubbornly insisted on running for president, it's clear that he holds himself to a very high standard and, in our own small way, we should try and do the same. A snapshot taken of alien Americans in my library's catalog today exposed at least 30 of these typos.

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28, 2007 - Countires

All countries run on tires, but if you tried to count them all, you would quickly run out of steam. We buy tires, change tires, kick tires, rotate tires, and recycle tires. If you laid them end to end (do tires have ends?), they'd probably roll all the way to the moon, and then back by an alternate route. On the other hand, it's easy to count all the Ballard list typos for country and countries, given that there are only two: Counrty and Countires. They swing "high" and "low," respectively, in terms of probability. OhioLINK also sports five cases of Counry and seven of Counries. (Photo from the California Waste Tire Enforcement website.)

Carol Reid

Monday, August 27, 2007

August 27, 2007 - Requirm*

There are earthworms in the garden, and gummy worms in the tummy, and Richard Scarry's "Lowly Worm" in his snazzy red apple car, but when it comes to our favorite form of fun, nothing beats the requisite bookworm. I still have my orange wooden bookworm pin from the library's recreational reading club I belonged to as a kid. A "bookworm," you should know, is not only a voracious reader, but a voracious eater as well, wreaking havoc in the stacks if left unchecked. Much the same may be said of the "high probability" typo Requirm* and the numerous related pests that have wormed their way onto the Ballard list: Requr*, Requiremens*, Requiremet*, Requiremn*, and Requierm*. (Bookworm pic comes from Blog at

Carol Reid

Friday, August 24, 2007

August 24, 2007 - Acadam*

In a bit of of ivy-covered irony, Acadam* (registering 52 times in OhioLINK) is in the "high probability" class of typographical errors. While its pronunciation tends to militate against the misspelling of academic, there's no similar hedge when it comes to mistaking Acadamy for academy. Google searches on the right and wrong spellings of this word returned results in about a 70 to 1 ratio. The Ballard list also includes Adadem*, a typo of "highest probability," along with the less frequently occuring Academc*, Academeic*, Academay, and Academey. Now, how about taking a study break with some excellent nuts that deserve all of their A's? (Pictured are a bunch of promising young macadamias ripening on the bough.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 23, 2007

August 23, 2007 - Ameeri*

While I could have illustrated this entry with a picture of a Middle Eastern prince, or Snow White's looking glass, or a soupçon of ... something, I decided instead to go with the cutest animals to have their own reality show, Meerkat Manor. Despite their "mob" mentality, meerkats (a type of mongoose) stand tall and proud, just like a lot of Americans. So don't go spelling it meercat, Buster. In fact, if meerkats could read, they'd probably make great proofreaders, given how hilariously hyper-vigilant they are. Ameeri* (for America, etc.) is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list, popping up 24 times in OhioLINK. (Now, if those were meerkats, would that be two dozen mongooses or mongeese?)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

August 22, 2007 - Hygene

He was called "Clean Gene" when he ran for president in 1968 and, although he wasn't swept to victory, Eugene McCarthy's squeaky-clean political reputation has persisted to this day, and is attested to by a 2001 PBS documentary short entitled I'm Sorry I Was Right. As a teenager, I got to say "Hi, Gene" at a Democratic primary rally in upstate New York. The Ballard list includes numerous variations on this typo, ranging from "moderate" to "lowest" probability: Hygenic, Hygein*, Hygience, Hygene, Hygenist*, Hygeien*, and Hygient*. Progressive, pacific, poetic, and prolific, Senator McCarthy went on to his final reward in December 2006, leaving the rest of us to pine soulfully for the days when it still seemed possible to clean House in Washington.

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 21, 2007 - Proverty

The war on Proverty will probably never be won and this problem shall always be with us. But we should still make every effort to eradicate it. It appears 11 times in OhioLINK and 10 times in my own OPAC, and is a "moderate probability" typo on the Ballard list. "Low probability" versions of poverty and its cognates include Povery, Impovi*, and Improvish* (though whether you regard the latter two as forms of impoverishment or improvisation may depend on your pov). Note that this can occasionally be a misspelling of property as well. In an amusing amalgam of yesterday's and today's typos, an entry in OhioLINK reads: Language and Proverty, by Frederick Williams and Rita Naremore, published by the Institute for Research on Poerty. And then there's this portrait of LBJ on a University of Michigan web page, with its misspelled caption: "President Lyndon B. Johnson, founder of the Head Start Porgram during his War on Poverty."

Carol Reid

Monday, August 20, 2007

August 20, 2007 - Poerty

In a nod to "Bad Poetry Day" (August 18), the typo for today is Poerty. I found eight of 'em lurking in OhioLINK, which makes it a typo of "moderate probability." The Ballard list also includes Poetrical and Poetery, ranking their likelihood as of the "low" and "lowest" kind. In an example of decidedly not bad poetry, the eponymous Raven is fond of saying "Nevermore," but that's something we can really never say. Though our collective Muse might wish us to banish these typos forevermore, the best we can guarantee is to be on our guard against them. Edgar Allan Poe once said that a poem should be written "for the poem's sake," so for Poe's sake, let's try and provide the best bibliographic access to poetry we can. Beware as well the common misapprehension (Allen for Allan) when you ponder his middle name, there being well over 100 dreary cases in OhioLINK of this forgotten lore.

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August 17, 2007 - Hurrican

As Hurricane Dean welcomes us to the peak of the season, we find the typo Hurrican on our New Typos List waiting to be added to the High Probability B Section. Another misspelling is the one (on a government agency sign) that annoys this writer on every morning commute: Huricane. Let's clear these errors from our databases and cross our fingers that Dean and his companions spare us.

Hurricane Catarina seen from the International Space Station on March 26, 2004.

August 16, 2007 - Alburquerque

If it's in New Mexico, it's spelled Albuquerque. When you search for Alburquerque, be sure to include NM, N.M. or New in your search. There are various correct uses of the sometime typo: a city in Spain, a city in the Philippines, etc. Alburquerque is on the Low Probability D list.

Pueblo Deco style KiMo Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 15, 2007 - Gainsville

It's the home of the University of Florida : Gainesville, not Gainsville. Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia have one Gainesville each. New York is blessed with two - one is a town and one is a village. In any case, leave out the "e" and get a Section C Moderate Probability typo.

(Gainesville, Florida, ca. 1900, courtesy of the Chester Historical Society, Chester, New York.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 14, 2007 - Mineapolis

Mineapolis is a High probability typo for Minneapolis, Minnesota (and Minneapolis, Kansas, and Minneapolis, North Carolina, as well).

Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Lake Calhoun.

Monday, August 13, 2007

August 13, 2007 - Tuscon

Tuscon for Tucson is a Very High Probability A list typo for the second largest city in Arizona. The name traveled from Native American through Spanish to its present form. It means Black Base, referring to the volcanic mountains in the area. Tucson web sites point out two other possible misspellings : Tucon and Tuson.

Mt. Wasson is the major peak in the Tucson Mountains.

Friday, August 10, 2007

August 10, 2007 - Paino

Playing piano is plainly a pain. And if you think piano practice is hard, try saying that sentence five times fast. In The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T., the only live-action movie (to speak of) based on a Dr. Seuss story, young Bartholomew hates practicing the piano. He tries various means of evasion, but eventually falls asleep, only to dream of being trapped in music-lesson servitude and forced to play scales at a large-scale keyboard, with 499 other captive boys, by the rather fascistic and fey Dr. Terwilliger. Paino is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list, with 60 cases in OhioLINK. Close to a third of these, however, are the proper spellings of proper names. Now, let's all sit up straight and practice the “Happy Fingers Method” of typo avoidance, shall we?

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 9, 2007

August 9, 2007 - Foresty

Don't worry, I'm not gonna quiz you on the spelling of the World's Oldest Tree (Wattieza) today, but you should start seeing its name (and likely typos for it) a lot more often now that it's finally been found—after 380 million years—by a couple of employees at the New York State Museum in Albany. They've been credited for their amazing find, the fossil remains of treetops belonging to the "Gilboa stumps" (unearthed around 1870), by the scholarly journal Science, putting Schoharie County on the international paleobotanical map. Once upon a time, Wattieza spanned the globe in a fantastically foresty way, but your job today is to root out the typo Foresty (for forestry) from your own library's catalog. OhioLINK uncovers 17 of these, landing it in the "high probability" section of the Ballard list. (Drawing of Wattieza by Frank Mannolini of the State Museum, published in Cosmos magazine.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

August 8, 2007 - Chilren

According the old adage, children should be seen but not heard. Although we've largely abandoned this icy edict, kids must often be made to chill out. And if you should happen to see some of their sloppier siblings about, be sure to correct them too. The Ballard list includes the "high probability" typos: Chidhood*, Chidren*, Childen*, Chilh*, Chilren*, and Chld*. Please keep an eye out for the following as well: Chidlren*, Childerns, Childhod, Childrn, and Chlidren.

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

August 7, 2007 - Judical

If the highly entertaining TV program Judge Judy were turned into a Broadway show, it might justifiably be called "Judical: The Musical." Despite how well-rehearsed the cast of characters in her courtroom appears, the Judge knows a song and dance when she hears one and will sometimes trill operatically, "No no no no no no no!" when she's handed a dubious line. Judical is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list and variants include Judicaiary and Judicairy.

Carol Reid

Monday, August 6, 2007

August 6, 2007 - Correspondan*

A “high probability” typo on the Ballard list, Correspondan* occurs 253 times in my library’s OPAC and 2,613 times in OhioLINK. Those high numbers, however, reflect the fact that this is not always, or even typically, a typo—as the French and English spellings do not correspond. In English, it's correspondence and correspondent; in French, it's correspondance and correspondant. (No wonder I’ve often hesitated over the endings to these words. In fact, if you ever get one of them in a spelling bee and mistakenly spell it with an a, I encourage you to cry "Vive la diffĂ©rence!" as you retreat to your seat. It may not make any difference in the long run, but it might improve your joie de vivre or esprit de corps.) Of the 253 records reported in my own catalog, most contained subject headings in both languages, hence two separate spellings, although 50 or so were actual English typos. To facilitate the culling process, you may want to try limiting your search to English-language records—but note that those can also harbor French words and subject headings. And be sure to check your sources for any transcribed fields.

(Movie poster of Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent.)

Carol Reid

Friday, August 3, 2007

August 3, 2007 - Newpaper for Newspaper

Newpaper for Newspaper is a high probability typo. Check for word ending variations, such as "newpapers," "newpaperman," etc.

Of the 42 typos (40 hits) found in OhioLINK:
16 = "newpaper" --
25 = "newpapers" --
1 = "newpaperman." --

Of the total typos:
11 = title field --
9 = subject heading --
3 = series --
15 = contents or summary notes --
4 = publisher's name in 260 field.

Figuring as percentage showed that 54% of the typos were in the title, subject, and series fields:
26% = title field --
21% = subject heading --
7% = series --
35% = notes --
9% = publisher's name in 260 field.

Wendee Eyler

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August 2, 2007 - Europen for European

"Europen" is a typo that has a moderate probability of being present in your catalog, particularly in subject heading, series, and title fields as well as summary and contents notes, and the publisher field. Many libraries offer a "keyword" search as the first option for patrons to search online catalogs. By not correcting "Europen," the patrons' initial keyword search may eliminate a viable choice of available bibliographic records--in other words, your patrons won't find what they are looking for.

Wendee Eyler

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

August 1, 2007 - Ecocomic for Economic

"Ecocomic" could be a new word for "ecological comic" but today's word is a typo for "economic." You may wish to search "ecocomic" with other possible word endings or truncate the typo (such as "ecocomic*" in Innovative systems) to find other variations. Although most online catalogs have a low probability of this typo, a quick search in your own catalog may prove profitable.

Wendee Eyler

Artist: Bob Thaves

Property: Frank and Ernest
Caption: Help Fight Air Pollution
Published on: 2002-05-18