Friday, September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007 - Presss*

"Presss" is either what a snake is thinking as it methodically squeezes the life out of its intended prey, or the onomatopoetic sound an iron might make if left in the down position a bit too long. (It occurs to me that an enterprising, if absentminded, laundress could salvage a bundle of scorched T-shirts, and probably make a bundle besides, by stenciling the word IRONY on each one of them.) A "high probability" typo on the Ballard list, Presss* shows up in OhioLINK 110 times, although it isn't quite the pressing problem it appears to be, since only about half of them turn out to be actual typos. The rest are examples of the possessive press's or else properly rendered words in German. (Editorial cartoon concerning the Copperhead Party from Harper's Magazine, February 28, 1863.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, September 27, 2007

September 27, 2007 - Residental

We all need a place to live and for teeth, it's the mouth. They're the ultimate homebodies: if you treat them right, they need never come out. Today's typo is crowned "high probability" on the Ballard list and appears 23 times in OhioLINK. A Google search revealed approximately one Residental for every 18 residentials. (It's such an attractive pun, in fact, that the first result is for ResiDental, a company offering "onsite special care dentistry for long-term nursing facilities.") Brush up on your data entry by copying today's typo and pasting in the correction. Do that and your residential records will all be sitting pretty. (Picture extracted from They're Your Teeth! by the Good Teeth Council, 1949.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September 26, 2007 - Diety

Diety (correctly spelled deity) is a rather Buddhist-like typo as its pronunciation is largely unaffected either way. In that respect, it's similar to such commonly misspelled words as Firey for fiery. (Which is strange when you think about it, given as how it's wirey, not Wiery. Wait, scratch that: it's wiry.) My young niece and nephew used to howl with laughter at a book called Crazy English, which would rhetorically ask 'if this … why not that?' concerning our language's many inconsistencies. Unlike French, ours is a matter not of what seemingly should be, but of what actually is. So, Mon Dieu, crazy or not, we simply have to learn these things by rote, not rule. (And forget the old "i before e" chestnut. It's been pretty thoroughly debunked by now, this exception being just one of dozens.) The Diety appears 41 times in OhioLINK, making it a typo of "high probability." ("Lady Deity" discovered at Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September 25, 2007 - Angus Dei, Agnes Dei

According to Wikipedia, "Agnus Dei is a Latin term meaning Lamb of God, and was originally used to refer to Jesus Christ in his role of the perfect sacrificial offering…" But there's no reason to believe the Creator intended an invidious comparison to any other critter. Some vegetarians, in fact, might find today's typo even more apt to their purposes, since the Black Angus (a Scottish breed of cattle) is the most commonly sacrificed animal for meat in the United States. Loudon Wainwright III once told the New York Times that he was irritated by people who spelled his name wrong and I expect his son Rufus would likewise raise a fuss at the misspelling of his song "Agnus Dei." There are 20 records containing the typo Angus Dei in OhioLINK and six for the equally humorous Agnes Dei. (Illustration from the 1930 children's book Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 24, 2007

September 24, 2007 - Autum, Autmn

Today marks the first working day of autumn, a bittersweet commemoration of the ineluctable slide from summer into winter. It's also the birthday of a loved one who passed away three years ago in August. For country kids like us, still brushing the hayseeds from our sleepy eyes come September, the spelling of a word like autumn could be a tricky proposition. Far better to fall back on fall. After all, what sort of weird word has an M and then an N right after it? You'd need a special mnemonic to remember that. Autmn and Autum are both "low probability" typos on the Ballard list. (In memory of and photograph by John D. Reid.)

Carol Reid

Friday, September 21, 2007

September 21, 2007 - Scholary for Scholarly

"Scholary" may need to be corrected in your catalog. In OhioLINK, the word was misspelled in 16 entries, but spelled correctly in 7481 entries. Here's an appropriate scholarly quote from Mark Twain: "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

Wendee Eyler

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September 20, 2007 - Televison for Television

"Televison" has the highest probability of being a typo in online catalogs. OhioLINK has over 100 entries. It doesn't matter if you call it TV, telly, idiot box, or the small screen, the word "television" needs to be spelled correctly! Ernie Kovacs, a pioneer of early television comedy said: "Television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done."

Wendee Eyler

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 19, 2007 - Seventeeth for Seventeenth

"Seventeeth" is in the high probability category of typos, with 22 entries currently in OhioLINK. This is a typo problem not a dental problem!

Wendee Eyler

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 18, 2007 - Oceangraphic or Oceangraphy for Oceanographic or Oceanography

"Oceangraphic" or "Oceangraphy" will have a moderate probability of being misspelled. Omitting the "o" before "graphy" is very common in many "ography" words. Pronouncing the word without the "o" is difficult, but spelling the word without the "o" is easy!

Wendee Eyler

Monday, September 17, 2007

September 17, 2007 - Physcial for Physical

"Physcial" will have a high probability of being found in title and subject fields, and especially in the series field if you have "Physical education series (United States. Bureau of Education)." Also check for word endings, such as "Physcially" and "Physcials." Be cautious when correcting typos. You may want to check the physical piece to insure that you are following the published version. If you can’t easily retrieve the book, try finding the exact title/edition on Amazon or other websites that carry information about books. You might be lucky enough to view the actual cover, title page, or table of contents without having to find the book on the shelves.

Wendee Eyler

Friday, September 14, 2007

September 14, 2007 - Sibiling*


Two results found recently at OhioLINK. But they're not related, nor are they rivals--

Thursday, September 13, 2007

September 13, 2007 - ound recording

ound recording

24 results found recently at OhioLINK. Initial truncation is something we error hunters wish for, to help in our quest for typos -- and here it is!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 12, 2007 - Pricipal*


28 results found recently at OhioLINK. Among the sinners, you'll find high school pricipals, pricipal investigators, a co-pricipal, pricipal author, pricipal performer, pricipal works, and so forth. You might have expected to find this typo pricipally in notes. Pricipalment occurs in a Catalan-language record, as well as typos in other languages. Errors in materials other than English are out of scope for this project, as a matter of-- policy!

This post is princpnally thanks to Sue Weiland of Ball State University, who on Monday questioned on OCLC-Cat why WorldCat's spell checker did not catch such a typo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2007 - Rhumatolog*


35 results found recently at OhioLINK! Of which, 8 remained when the language was limited to English. 4 of these appear to be a MARC miscoding of the language. Only 1 of the 4 remaining records appears to have a typo, though. So this is a rare one.

Monday, September 10, 2007

September 10, 2007 - Federeal


Three instances of this typo were found recently at OhioLINK. And yes, two of them are government documents! The third is a bank.

Friday, September 7, 2007

September 7, 2007 - Propogate

Propogate for propagate is another Highest Probability typo. If you use a truncated version propoga*, with the asterisk representing the wild card in your system, you will pick up propoganda along with the other forms of propagate.

U.S. propaganda poster from the National Archives.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

September 6, 2007 - wth

As a typo for with, wth is on the Highest Probability A Section of the Ballard list. It also exists as an abbreviation for with (certainly not one that saves a lot of space) in the language of text messaging. As an acronym it stands for various firms, organizations, and a 2005 computer conference.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

September 5, 2007 - Balitmore

Balitmore for Baltimore, a High Probability typo, shows up in the titles of several government documents in WorldCat, sometimes twice in the same line. Even more surprising is "Port of Baltimore, Balitmore County." Worth adding to a spell check if you prepare government reports in Maryland. Well worth checking your databases everywhere.

Female Baltimore Oriole - image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September 4, 2007 - Mew York

Since there are some 90,000,000 cats in the United States (according to the late, lamented Google Answers), they are probably entitled to have their own city and state. Until it becomes official, Mew York is still a typo for New York. It resides on the High Probability B list.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. (The cat really has 4 legs!)