Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Exib* (for Exhibit, etc.)

The ibex is not a tiny new Apple product, thank God, but rather a type of mountain goat found in Africa and parts of Eurasia. Frankly, it would go great in an exhibit. The male grows these long, curved, fantastic-looking horns and wears a snazzy little goatee (as goats are wont to do). I wouldn't exactly call him an exhibitionist, but you can judge for yourself. Douglas Florian's book Mammalabilia, which was awarded the 2000 Claudia Lewis Poetry Award from the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education, includes the following Ogden-Nash-like ditty:

The daring ibex risk their necks
On scary airy mountain treks.
Each one must climb with skill complex
Or else become an ex-ibex.

There are 48 examples of Exib* in OhioLINK (the vast majority of which look like legitimate typos), making it "high probability" on the Ballard list.

("Ibex shapes—A summer in high Asia—1899" from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Guild*, Gild* (for Gild*, Guild*)

A guild is a trade union. To gild is to cover with a thin layer of gold. A search on Guild* + Gild* gets 114 hits in OhioLINK: Not all of them are typos, but quite a few are. Unfortunately for our purposes, gild is an alternate spelling for guild (although the reverse is not the case). Gilding is what librarians or bookbinders do when they emboss gold letters on the spine of a book. This word often turns up in my own workplace as guilding, but whenever it does, I try and let my colleagues know that U is just gilding the lily.

(Gilded Flicker in flight, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 29, 2008

Platimum, etc. (for Platinum)

On Christmas morning, my boyfriend and I were playing holiday tunes on YouTube when I decided to look up "Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt. As it began to play, I asked him if he knew who she was and he seemed unsure, but replied, "Didn't she die recently?" I said, no, I'm certain I would have heard something if she had, adding that she would probably be one of those people who lives well into their 90's, if not past 100. So it was quite the strange and sad coincidence to learn Friday that Eartha Kitt had indeed passed away on Christmas. In the song for which she is probably best known (along with her role as Catwoman in the Batman TV series), she purrs: "Santa cutie, there's one thing I really do need, the deed, to a platinum mine, Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight..." This song appears on an album entitled Platinum & Gold Collection. We dug up two cases of Platimum in OhioLINK and one each of Platimun and Paltinum. Eartha Kitt, now mum, leaves behind a valuable legacy, a rich mine of sex and song, and will be sorely missed by fans all over the world—including, I feel quite sure, Santa Baby himself.

(Portrait of Eartha Kitt by Carl Van Vechten, 1952, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kahn, Khan (for Khan, Kahn)

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree..." wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge early one morning before being inopportunely interrupted by a knock at his door. By the time he was able to return to the memory of what he later termed "a vision in a dream ... a fragment," a good deal of it had already slipped away, just like that "sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice." It's believed this vivid and somewhat surreal fantasy was fueled by opium, but critics differ on the deeper meaning of the poem itself, written sometime between 1797 and 1816. There are six cases of Kubla Kahn in OhioLINK, making it a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list, but it's a useful object lesson here. The surname Kahn is a common one in the Judeo-Christian community; Khan is frequently found too, mostly among Muslims. Kahn + Khan returns 81 records, the vast majority of which appear to contain typos. Recently I memorized the poem Kubla Khan, as recommended by the book Committed to Memory, and especially enjoyed the line "As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing" (it tends to put me in mind of David Letterman's production company World Wide Pants) and, less facetiously, the final stanza, which reads:

Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

(Portrait of Coleridge, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chrsitmas, etc. (for Christmas)

Well, don't just sit there. It's Christmas. Ian Fairclough searched high and low and found the presents—er, presence—of quite a few typos today. Let's see, in descending order (that is, with increasing truncation), we get Chrsitmas three times, Chrsitm* four times, Chrsit* 52 times, Chrsi* 54 times, and Chrs* a whopping 108 times, involving related words like Christian and Christianity. No matter how many times you say it, or how many ways there are to spell it, the spirit of Christmas is still beyond words. As my grandmother used to softly sing in German: "Stille Nacht, Heil'ge Nacht, Alles schläft, einsam wacht..." Here is to all of you calm and bright catalogers, and a merry Christmas from all of us at Typo of the Day for Librarians!

("Old Father Christmas in a New Character," looking down and out in an 1875 edition of the Canadian Illustrated News, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christms (for Christmas)

In 1823 a poetic ms. entitled A Visit from St. Nicholas (more commonly called Twas the Night Before Christmas) was published anonymously in the Troy, New York, Sentinel, just over the river and through the woods from here. It was long assumed to have been the work of Clement Clarke Moore, who lived in New York City and taught Greek and Oriental literature at Columbia College. He was also made professor of Biblical learning at the General Theological Seminary, for which he donated the land. I'm not quite sure why he was thought to be the author of this poem—he just was. But if you really must know, the story got started by a Charles Fenno Hoffman in 1837 and soon after that A Visit from St. Nicholas was published under Clement Moore's name. In 1860 its origins were challenged by the Livingston family, and in 2002 the Britannica and Columbia encyclopedias coolly informed us: "Recent computer-aided scholarship has cast considerable doubt on Moore's authorship of the poem ... In 2000 it was determined that the poem was probably the work of Henry Livingston, Jr." It's sort of like being told there's no Santa Claus. But thanks, Henry. And you too, Clement. And you too, Mr. and Ms. Claus. Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night! (Oh, and there are six cases of Christms in OhioLINK.)

(Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Clement Moore, with pictures by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1912.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scatalog* (for Scatology, etc.)

The New Yorker once reported that the funniest joke in the world* was the following one: What's brown and sticky? (Answer: A stick!) What makes this joke so utterly perfect, it seems, is that it contains two K's (K is apparently a very funny letter), it deals in wordplay, and it appears to be scatological in nature (and then upends that expectation). There are 11 cases of Scatalog* in OhioLINK, probably because people are fastening onto the "uh" sound and forgetting about the root word: scatology. Notably, a few of these are for titles containing the word scatalogue, which may be an intentional neologism rather than an actual misspelling. (The Urban Dictionary defines scatalogue as "a piece of media focused on a topic so awful, that only equally awful people of that grouping will buy it" or "a catalogue featuring items that no-one in their right minds would buy, lest they are arrested by the Taste Police.") The stick took a break from poking someone's eye out this year in order to be inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame (where it joined 2005's cardboard box and a slew of rather more commercial playthings). Sticks are classic, biodegradable, and free (they literally grow on trees!) and, besides, giving one for Christmas would be a good way to stick it to the one who always cheaps out on your gift.

*Well, perhaps not exactly, but it was a very popular contender in an online "global humor study."

(Pic of a stick at the THoF induction ceremony, from BoingBoing.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 22, 2008

Eldery, Ederly (for Elderly)

Jeanne Calment of Arles, France, lived from 1875 to 1997 and is considered the world's oldest person whose age can be officially verified. It seems her regimen comprised, in part, two glasses of port wine a day, two pounds of chocolate a week, and copious amounts of olive oil, taken internally and applied to the skin. She led a life of leisure and outdoor activity (riding a bicycle until she was 90: think Madame Capet in The Happy Orpheline), adopted a posture of unflappability (remarking once that she was interested in everything, but passionate about nothing), and enjoyed smoking cigarettes (which she gave up at 117 because she was too blind to get them lit and too proud to ask for a light). "I only ever had one wrinkle," she quipped, "and I'm sitting on it." Eldery appears eight times in OhioLINK and Ederly five.

(Jeanne Calment at age 22—a century to go!—from the Calment Gallery website.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chruch, etc. (for Church)

There are those who regard religion as a crutch, or as Karl Marx once put it, "the opiate of the masses." Some even see it as a gateway drug to chauvinism, bigotry, and terrorism. But when it comes to going to church, many people simply like the pretty steeple, the kneeling in the pews, the choral singing, and the praising of their Creator. Chruch is revealed 61 times in OhioLINK, rendering it a typo of "high probability." Chruches appears 11 times. And there are 16 cases of Curch and six of Curches (including some with "sics") in there as well.

(Illustration from the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol of Tiny Tim with his little crutch, representing both a piece of wood and the peace of God, thanks to the website.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rediculous (for Ridiculous)

Which is more ridiculous, a red chapeau or a blue beehive? Marge Simpson's got both, but keep that under your hat. OhioLINK's got seven cases of Rediculous, making this a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list. That E (before I) may be due to a tendency on the part of some people to pronounce this word "Ree-diculous." The Red Hat Society was founded in 1998 by Sue Ellen Cooper, who gave her friend a red hat from a thrift store on her 55th birthday, along with a poem that begins: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, with a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me."

(Marge Simpson in "The Last of the Red Hat Mamas," a play on the Sophie Tucker sobriquet The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vegtable* (for Vegetable*)

With five servings of Vegtable* in OhioLINK, today's typo comes under the rubric of "That's How It Sounds." However, if you think the word vegetable is hard to pronounce, try saying it while feeling loose and being Lucy. "I'm your Vitameatavegamin Girl!" she says on the first take, while taking a swig, and it's all downhill from there. In 1936, Ball registered to vote in the Communist Party primary at the behest of her socialist grandfather, and was made to revisit this notion 17 years later when she got hauled before HUAC to 'splain herself. On an episode of I Love Lucy around that time, Desi Arnaz skipped the usual audience warm-up and instead recounted this story, adding: "The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that's not legitimate." Then he brought out his wife, who received a standing ovation. Apparently, Lucy was not unpoopular, even if she did pop out of the Party.*

*Alcohol-based spoonerism for: "Are you unpopular? Do you poop out at parties?"

Carol Reid

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Solider*, etc. (for Soldier*)

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills...

So wrote Robert Louis Stevenson—a thin, frail child who later grew solider—in "The Land of Counterpane." Solider* shows up 88 times in OhioLINK, but they aren't all typos for soldier* et al. You might do better to try and combine forces: Solider* + Soldier* reduced our count to 17 and Solder* + Soldier* to eight. Sodlier* and Soldeir* returned with one each. As a youngster, Stevenson inherited a "weak chest" and tended to take ill during the coldest months of the year. If you too find yourself feeling under the weather this winter (in the land of pain and counter-pain), might I suggest a warm plate of buttered toast, or perhaps a soft-boiled egg with toast soldiers? It's a good way to spend an hour or so—and even better in bed.

(Illustration from

Carol Reid

Monday, December 15, 2008

Raindeer (for Reindeer)

Santa's reindeer are like the proverbial postal carriers: neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night can keep them from their appointed rounds. However, just like the rest of us, I'm sure they appreciate a nice sunny day now and then. OhioLINK returns three hits for Raindeer, but one is for a "two-word visual poem for Christmas" by Ronald Johnson called Raindeer Snowbell. It appears to be spelled that way on the original, but it's hard to tell whether it's intentional or not. WorldCat contains 42 records with that spelling. It's likely that errors such as this one, which are more often a matter of not knowing how to spell a word than of simply hitting the wrong key, are committed by the author or publisher, rather than input by the cataloger. You should definitely check the piece to be sure. But don't let rainy deers and Mondays go and get you down.

(Reindeer in the Kebnekaise valley, Lappland, Sweden, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rusian (for Russian)

"History would be an excellent thing if only it were true," according to Russian author Leo Tolstoy. This may have given birth to what was described as the "Great Russian Joke" in the latter days of the Soviet Union. Question: "What is the definition of a historian?" Answer: "Someone who can predict the past." Rusian is an error that is on the 'C' or moderate probability list in Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was found at least 8 times, but not more than 15 in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Its place on this list seems to be the result of sloppy typing followed by sloppy proofreading.

Today's photograph adds symmetry to the week. On Monday we were standing on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco looking west. This photo, taken atop Russian Hill, looks back to Coit Tower.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scultpure (for Sculpture)

“It is not hard to understand modern art. If it hangs on a wall it's a painting, and if you can walk around it it's a sculpture,” according to Tom Stoppard. Public sculpture has endured worse criticism over the years - usually from pigeons. Sculpture has been a favorite in these pages before, and provides us a respite from the usual diet of missing vowels. Scultpure is found in the 'C' or moderate probability section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that the error was present at least 8 but no more than 15 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. There were 99 hits in WorldCat this morning. Since they display in relevance order, the first display screen showed records with the offending term in the title. It caused barely a ripple in Google - just over 50,000 hits. As in all inverted letter typos (or at least every one we've seen), the two letters involved in the mistake are on opposite sides of the QWERTY keyboard.
Today's photo is a detail from the Irish Famine Memorial in Philadelphia. The original can be seen at

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Educaton (for Education)

"Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge." This was said  by Mark Twain, who had to leave school at a young age to help support his family after the death of his father. Twain also said that he never let schooling get in the way of his education, and he learned enough to hold his own in any conversation with leaders and scholars. Educaton is a classic case of a missing 'i' at the end of a long and very familiar word. This is found in the 'B' or high probability section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases. This morning, there were 375 hits in WorldCat for the error. Interestingly, 8 out of the first 10 shown had Educaton in the main title field.

Today's photo shows the giant heads of Greek philosophers near the entrance to the Bodleian Library. The original can be found at

Monday, December 8, 2008

Decmeber (for December)

"Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives," according to William Shakespeare. Lest we be accused of making much ado about nothing, the error Decmeber is on the C list at Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was found at least 8 but not more than 15 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. More to the point, it is present in nearly 250 records in WorldCat, so there is a fair chance that it is lurking in your catalog. It is not found in our online catalog at Quinnipiac University, but you can find 11 hits at the Library of Congress.

Today's photo is a closeup of a Macy's window in 2005. The original can be found at

Citiy (for City)

“No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does. Arrival in San Francisco is an experience in living.” This was said by William Saroyan, and I'll vouch for the fact that these words are still true today. Citiy is a fairly unusual typo - by being an added letter in a short word it goes against the classic pattern of opac typos: missing letters in long words. That is why it only makes it to the 'E' list on Typographical Errors in Library Databases at We only saw 22 hits today in WorldCat, which is on target for an E list entry, but there were more than 100,000 in Google, so it is a more common typo than its library presence would suggest.
Today's photograph shows the North Beach section of San Francisco taken by an out-of-breath photographer at the top of Telegraph Hill. The original can be found at

Friday, December 5, 2008

Opea* (for Operations, Opera, etc.)

When my father was a little boy and a picky eater, he would often drop his peas down a hole in the leg of the dining room table. Out of sight, out of mind, it seems, although apparently there arose quite a clatter when the table was dismantled one day and the desicated peas were thus discovered. In any event, this was not the first time the lowly legume had been incorporated into a piece of furniture. I hated peas too, but I loved "The Princess and the Pea," in which the former's suitability as a royal spouse hung on her sensitivity to the latter, strategically placed beneath a pile of quilts on the guest bed. "So the prince took her to be his wife, for now he was sure that he had found a real princess, and the pea was put into the Museum, where it may still be seen if no one has stolen it..." Opea* shows up 17 times in OhioLINK, ranking it "high probability" for words like operations, opera, etc.

(Illustration by Edmund Dulac of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and Pea," from

P.S. The great folk and blues musician Odetta passed away this week. Asked one time about being single and growing older, she told an interviewer: "Men are like peas ... I’ve had enough peas."

Carol Reid

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Agian (for Again)

We met this typo in July of 2007 and today we're meeting it again. Vera Lynn sings "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day"—while Slim Pickens ironically navigates a nuke to the end of the earth—at the close of Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. While the results of today's meeting are not nearly as calamitous for humanity, Agian does turn up 15 times in OhioLINK, making it a typo of "moderate to high probability" on the Ballard list. So, once again, search your OPACs carefully and take the bombs away.

(Vera Lynn entertaining factory workers, from the Stanway Primary School's "Women at War" website.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Heath (for Health)

Chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants, flavonoids, and other healthful components, and the Heath bar was initially sold as virtual health food, with one early ad declaring: "Eat Heath for health!" The wrapper design remains basically unchanged from the 1928 original and may be indulging in a bit of subliminal advertising to boot. According to Wikipedia, it has "the name 'Heath' printed in a distinctive fashion: two very large H's bookending eat." Depending on how you formulate your search, results will vary, but this is definitely a typo of high probability. The problem is that Heath is also a relatively common surname, in addition to being an actual word that means moor or shrub, i.e. "heather." If you're getting too many hits on Heath + Health, try to limit your search in such a way as to exclude Heath in the personal name field. (Searched that way, I got 191 results; without the exclusion, 377.)

(Heath bar, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Condiser* (for Consider, etc.)

Consider this: The typo Condiser* is found nine times in the OhioLINK database, making it a typo of "moderate probability" on the Ballard list. There seems to be no good explanation for this since both the S and the D are on the same side of the keyboard; in fact, they're cozying right up to each other. (Considering that fact, though, perhaps that is the explanation.) In any case, sometimes these things just happen. It would be most considerate of you not to poke fun at this mix-up, but simply to switch the two letters around. Thanking you in advance for your consideration...

("Considerate Christa" doll, wearing a Girl Scout Brownie vest and badge.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 1, 2008

Minesota, etc. (for Minnesota)

Senate contenders Al Franken and Norm Coleman have been mining for missed and miscounted votes ever since Election Day, each one hoping to ultimately tip the scales in his favor. Coleman campaign attorney Fritz Knaak has called for a "truce" between the two camps, citing an "obscene number of ballots" being challenged in "the recount version of mutually assured destruction," according to the website Minesota is the clear winner in the Minnesota typos race, with 16 hits in OhioLINK. (Minnsota, Minnnesota, and Minnestoa are trailing with one, four, and five respectively). Both candidates appear to have high self-esteem, but perhaps only Franken is smiling at himself in the mirror each morning, repeating: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

(Al Franken on the campaign trail, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shoppp*, Shoping, Shoper* (for Shop, etc.)

"Shop till you drop" is the rallying cry of many Americans, especially on the day after Thanksgiving, also known as "Black Friday," when retailers hope their customers will put them "in the black." (In fact, the phrase got its start in Philadelphia and was originally a reference to the heavy traffic on that day.) Shoppp* gets three hits in OhioLINK and Shoping and Shoper* get two apiece. Our picture shows a woman from the "black bourgeoisie" inquiring of a shopkeeper: "Have you any flesh-coloured silk stockings, young man?" Wikimedia points out that the "caricature is not really racist in itself—and could even be considered to be subtly anti-racist in pointing out the relative meaning of the term 'flesh-colored'—but much of the humor which white Americans of 1829 would have perceived in it would have arisen from the racist preconceptions which they held." Today is Black Friday at TotDfL. Three typos for the price of one.

("Life in Philadelphia," from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Recipie, Recipies (for Recipe, Recipes)

Next to the bird, the stuffing, and the cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie is probably the dish most suggestive of Thanksgiving. OhioLINK contains a single serving of Recipie and 16 more of Recipies (two with"sic"), making it a moderate to high probability typo. (Don't truncate this turkey or else you'll pick up too many hits for words like recipient. Remember, 'tis better to give than to receive.) My great-aunt used to bake pies all year round and, before passing on, passed her pumpkin pie "secret" on to my sister, who recreated it for the family this year. Her recipe was actually Mamie Eisenhower's, whose trick was to bake the empty pie shell in the oven while cooking the filling in a double boiler. At some point, you add gelatin and fold in some egg whites to firm it up, then pour it into the shell and chill. Lots of people liked Ike and I'm sure that Ike liked the First Lady's recipe for White House Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. Thanks, Mamie!

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holday (for Holiday)

"Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice," says Dave Barry. Looking at the map that we loaded for this blog, I see that many of our readers are from Western Europe, so I will explain that tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. That is one of our most important holidays, so nearly everything is closed except for restaurants and gas stations. In spite of that, my typographical colleague Carol Reid has volunteered to add a blog entry tomorrow while our family is overdoing it with turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. On to the matter at hand. Holday is a bonus word that is not on the list yet. Because it had four hits in OhioLINK, it will find itself on the low probability section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases.

We live on Long Island, so we could take a train and see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but most years we don't. The last year that we did produced the photograph that has been used today - a shot of a very young man reacting to the giant balloon moving past him. The original can be seen at .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Congresional (for Congressional)

"Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens - and then everybody disagrees," according to Boris Marshalov. With the final races still being decided, Congress was on our minds this morning. Congresional is on the C, or moderate probability section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases at , meaning that the error was found between 8 and 15 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. The more telling number is 103 - the count for Congresional in WorldCat. This blog has already dealt with Congesssional, and we suspect that both typos are simply the result of sloppy typing and proofreading.

Today's photo of the Capitol Dome from the area of the National Museum of the American Indian. The original can be seen at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Literaure (for Literature)

"The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read” according to Oscar Wilde. Literaure fits most of the classic patterns of an opac typo in that it has a missing letter at the end of a long, familiar word. However, we find it surprisingly plentiful for a typo that does not look right on even a casual inspection. It is found on the 'B,' or High Probability section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was present between 16 and 99 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. We found more than 50 when we looked today, but some of those appeared to be connected to legitimate non-English words. There were only 3 cases of Literaure in the catalog of Arizona State University today (My alma mater - Class of 1968 English Major), but one of those was in a subject heading.
Today's image shows Tintern Abbey in Southern Wales - made famous in a poem by Wordsworth.
The original photograph from the 1970's was digitized and then rendered as a painting in Photoshop. The original can be seen at

Friday, November 21, 2008

Everbody* (for Everybody*)

The Eveready Bunny just keeps on going, and I have a feeling that Everbody* (showing up 61 times in OhioLINK) will go on forever as well. So energize yourself and stick a Y in that typo whenever you can. The Energizer Bunny is apparently a "parody" of the Duracell Bunny, which debuted in Europe and has never been seen this side of the pond, due to Eveready's copping the North American trademark rights to "battery bunnies." And just to make today's typo a bit more topical, it seems that George Bush the Elder once compared Bill Clinton to the Energizer Bunny (a term which had come to mean anything that runs endlessly) during a campaign speech he gave in 1992. His boy Dubya has also shown great stamina when it comes to running for office, but even a hopped-up wabbit without an energy policy has gotta give it up sometime.

(In one of the few times that the Energizer Bunny is actually shown standing still, here he is tied down on the streets of New York, prior to the 2006 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Innonce*, etc. (for Innocence, etc.)

Most cases involving the innocent accused are ones with either too much "evidence" included or not enough. OhioLINK reveals five instances of Innonce* and one each of Innocn* and Inonc*. On the theory that while one N here is too few, three are too many, we also got 15 hits for another of those triple-letter offenders: Innn*. (Three strikes and you're out.) Among those found were misspellings for the words innovation, interesting, inn, inner, inner-city, and innerness. The words innocence and innocent, however, were found not guilty of this error.

(Kelly Michaels, who served five years of a 47-year prison sentence due to false and fantastic accusations of satanic child abuse at the Wee Care Day Nursery in Maplewood, New Jersey, before being exonerated in 1993.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wrold (for World)

Recently a colleague asked if anyone knew a word that means "feeling the world's pain," adding that her dining companion the night before had issued this request along with "that challenge we in the business have all heard: 'You're a librarian...'" The word she was looking for was Weltschmerz, which literally means "world pain." I had forgotten the word itself, but remembered the irony that infused it during the 2006 National Spelling Bee, where an otherwise excellent Canadian contestant unaccountably blew this one, and in a rather weird way: The only letter she got wrong was the first one, making it a V instead of a W. This was strange because, for one thing, German contains a scant dozen or so words that start with V, and, for another, because her father was a native German speaker. I think more than a few viewers got a whiff of Weltschmerz that evening. Wrold (for world) appears eight times in OhioLINK.

(Female nude with globe by Charles Gilhousen, 1919, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Educai* (for Education, etc.)

Marriage to Dylan Thomas was a real education for dancer Caitlin MacNamara, who wed the Welsh poet in 1937. It was for the most part a sad and sodden affair, persisting until Dylan's death in 1953. Having authored several memoirs, including Leftover Life to Kill, she is currently at the center of a couple of British biopics, The Edge of Love and a work in production called Caitlin (which may or may not get released). Another film about the Thomases, dubbed Dylan, is due out later this year. There are 70 examples of Educai* in OhioLINK, making it a typo of "high probability" on the Ballard list.

(Dylan and Caitlin, from

Carol Reid

Monday, November 17, 2008

Virture* (for Virtue, etc.)

Aristotle once wrote, "Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved." More recently, Barack Obama has said of his opponents, "I don't know when they decided to make a virtue out of selfishness." To which someone in the McCain camp responded by putting that quote into one of their campaign ads, while inadvertently (one presumes) changing the word virtue to Virture. Today's typo appears 47 times in OhioLINK and is a "high probability" one on the Ballard list. I suppose that if selfishness were a virtue, a bird of prey might be its most evocative symbol. But there's no need for the bald eagle to vacate its perch just yet. At the moment, liberalism seems to be our most beloved virtue.

(Griffon Vulture by Thermos, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ibliography (for Bibliography)

Typos at the beginning of a word are rare because they are much more salient than typos within a word. This is a typo for the word "bibliography." The initial B is not present. This is not a common typo, with only three occurrences in OhioLINK, the typo reference database, but few words with initial typos are. We see them more easily than we see other typos. They stand out and we fix them. This typo occurs only 37 times in

Speaking of WorldCat, the picture above shows a screenshot from OCLC Connexion. It shows an alphabetical browse display. This display was generated doing the search "scan tiw=ibliography".It shows the word bibliography (and its foreign language equivalent) missing the initial B. Alphabetical browse displays can be very helpful in identifying typos because headings with typos in them tend to "float" to the bottom or top of alphabetical displays, separate from the other lines that are spelled correctly.


Jeffrey Beall

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ofthe* (for Of the*)

Today's typo exemplifies a unique category of typographical error, the smooshing of two small words together without the necessary space. This is a thing which it is not good todo. Most small words, fortunately, are helper words, such as prepositions and articles, and they don't carry much meaning. They aren't often searched except in a phrase or perhaps by people like me who spend too much time looking for typos.

A search in reveals a whopping 3,549 instances of this typo. Our reference database, OhioLINK, has 102.


Jeffrey Beall

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rehabiliation (for Rehabilitation)

This is one of the many ways to misspell the word "rehabilitation." This is a new word to the main list of typos, having been "discovered" in October, 2008. It falls into Category B, with 27 occurrences in OhioLINK, our database of record for measuring the frequency of typos.

A good way to rehabilitate your library catalog is to search known typos and fix them. This will improve access to library materials by increasing search accuracy. This typo has 386 occurrences in Though this number seems high, given that there are over 200,000,000 records in that database, including many created by using OCR scanning as a means of data entry, this number is actually quite small. Still, these typos do need to be rehabilitated.


A baby chipmunk being rehabilitated.

Jeffrey Beall

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Subcommite* (for Subcommittee*)

This misspelling has 66 occurrences in the OhioLINK database. It falls into Section B of the main list of Typographical Errors in Library Databases. This word has a greater chance of being a typo, I think, because it can occur in so many places in a bib record. It can be in a name or subject heading, it can be in the title, and it can be in the imprint statement, specifically, as the publisher of a book or pamphlet. I think we ought to have a group look into this. Perhaps we can form a typos subcommittee.

The Colorado State Capitol building in Denver, Colorado, home of many committees and subcommittees.

Jeffrey Beall

Monday, November 10, 2008

Religon (for Religion)

This typo is classified into Section B of the Typographical Errors in Library Databases list of known typos. Section B lists typos with 16-99 occurrences in the typo database of record, OhioLINK. A recent search confirms that there are currently 42 instances of this typo in the database still. Many of the typos in the main list are truncated as a means of grouping different variations of the same word together into a single entry. For example, the truncation symbol, the asterisk, is often used to indicate both the singular and plural forms of a given word. When I search OhioLINK for "Religion*" I get 48 occurrences.

The spires of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception emerge from behind an old building in Denver, Colorado.

Jeffrey Beall

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yelll* (for Yell*)

This typo is nothing to yell about. The probability of "Yelll*" being a typo in your online catalog is very low. OhioLINK had only one "Yelll*" at the time it was reported and now has none.

Wendee Eyler

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Knowleg* (for Knowledge, Knowledgeable, etc.)

The phrase "scientia potentia est" is a Latin maxim "for also knowledge itself is power" stated originally by Sir Francis Bacon in "Meditationes Sacrae" (1597), which in modern times is often paraphrased as "knowledge is power."

Most libraries will have a high probability of finding "Knowleg" in online catalogs. OhioLINK has 4 subject entries with the typo: Knowlege, Theory of. There were 150 subject entries with the correct spelling: Knowledge, Theory of.

Spelling Knowledge correctly adds a little more power to what your users will find.

Wendee Eyler

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cheif (for Chief)

Hail to the Cheif--er, Chief! "Hail to the Chief" is traditionally played by the U.S. Marine Band to announce the ceremonial entrance of the President of the United States. The song did not start out as a presidential march. It was originally written by English composer James Sanderson for a stage adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Lady of the Lake." The tune for the song, however, may have been borrowed from an old Scottish melody. The song was first performed in the U.S. in 1812 and was first played to announce the arrival of the president at James K. Polk's inauguration on March 4, 1845. Julia Tyler, wife of Polk's predecessor, John Tyler, suggested that the song be played when a president made an appearance. The Department of Defense made "Hail to the Chief" the official music to announce the President of the United States in 1954.

Lyrics were written by Albert Gamse and are set to James Sanderson's music, but they are rarely sung:

Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, that's our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!

Hail to the Chief changer of misspelled words in your catalog!

Wendee Eyler

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Uncertaini* (for Uncertainty)

Today is a day of uncertainty. Where can we turn? Which way to the future? Who will be the next president of the United States? The certainty is a bit ambiguous until tomorrow--if we're lucky and the election process runs smoothly.

"Uncertaini*" is in Section B of "Typographical errors found in library online catalogs 1992-2008"--which means it is in the High Probability category (with 16-99 hits in OhioLINK). It is a certainty that "uncertaini*" resides in most online catalogs.

Wendee Eyler

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leadersip (for Leadership)

We're down to the final day before determining the leadership of the United States. While we ponder this new leadership, with all the twists and turns that the world could take, why not take a look to see if some of the old "Leadersip" is still lurking in your catalog. What better time to change that “Leadersip”! If you ask me, "Leadersip" conjures up an image of a leader sipping on a glass of something.

Wendee Eyler

Friday, October 31, 2008

Appp* (for App*)

Tonight's the night that children dress up as witches and goblins and ghosts (or whatever they're being scared by these days) and attempt to fill their trick-or-treat sacks with candy. People used to toss in the occasional apple as well, until an urban myth peaking in the 1980s made that fruit a forbidden one. The story floating around was that razor blades, pins, and other sharp objects were showing up inside of apples. This apparently never, or rarely, happened (although there are accounts of hoaxes by kids themselves), but such cautionary tales, like vampires, die hard. Although we found only one Appple and one Appple's in OhioLINK's bag of tricks, we discovered 45 cases of the more inclusive Appp*. Most were for words like applications, appropriations, apparatus, and so on, along with a variety of personal names and acronyms.

(Red Delicious from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Insult* + Insula* (for Insult* or Insula*)

In an email circulated to library staff the other day, a secretary wrote: "I think the volunteers really enjoyed the recognition and the gift we presented to them. (This year it was a small insulted lunch bag.)" Oh well, as long as only the bags were insulted and not the volunteers. A search in OhioLINK on Insult* and Insula* brings up four records: one with an "[i.e.]," meaning that the error was on the piece itself, one that didn't involve a typo at all, and two that did, which makes it "low probability" on the Ballard list (at least insofar as that particular search would indicate). Winter is fast approaching, heating costs are escalating, and people will sometimes give you the cold shoulder. Insulate yourself against insults, and know your enemies as well as your friends.

(Picture from Wikimedia Commons with the caption: "Goose tower at Vordinborg, Zealand, Denmark. Only remaining complete part of Vordinburg castle, some 600 years old. Tower is named for the golden goose, according to legend placed on the roof by King Valdemar, intended as an insult to his German enemies.")

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cacoa, Chocalate*, etc. (for Cacao, Chocolate)

Better late than never ... or perhaps I should say: bitter, latte, then savor. Yesterday was National Chocolate Day, which I celebrated by taking two of the last remaining Peruvian pastillas brought in by my coworker who had recently returned from a trip to his homeland. Cacoa was found twice in OhioLINK and Cocao once. There were two cases of Chocalate* and one of Chocolote* there as well. You might also turn up a few typos for Choclate*—but of the 26 hits received, most of them seemed to be for the correctly spelled contraction choc'late. (Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.)

("Milk chocolate ganache cooked with our favorite fair trade organic espresso, dipped in milk chocolate, rolled in ground chocolate" from The Chocolate Gecko in Albany, New York.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Catagog* (for Catalog, etc.)

I thought we had all our bases categorically covered with the blog entry from 2007, but I was agog (full of intense interest or excitement) at finding three records containing Catagog* in OhioLINK the other day. More interesting than that, however, was learning the word catagogic, which appeared in one of those records. This is a psychological term of art, as best I can tell, meaning the opposite of anagogic or "elevating." One source defined it as "gutterward." Sounds like where an excitable kitten might be headed if it doesn't watch out.

(Little cat agog from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coaltion*, Coaliton* (for Coalition*)

The candidates have been talking a lot about "clean coal" technology lately, but to most of us, coal would appear to be anything but clean. And, on top of being dirty, it also has the taint of punishment: oranges in your Christmas stocking if you've been good all year, but lumps of coal if you've been bad. As pressure is gradually applied to "dead biotic matter," coal is transformed from peat to lignite, bituminous coal to anthracite, and finally graphite, which as every schoolgirl knows, is what pencils are made of. We dug up five samples of Coaltion* in OhioLINK and three of Coaliton*.

(Coal "ovoids" from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chidhood (for Childhood)

"It's never too late to have a happy childhood" according to Tom Robbins. Chidhood is found in the 'B,' or high probability, section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was present in at least 16 but no more than 100 records in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Curiously, there were only 2 Chidhoods in OhioLINK when we checked today. The original listing had the error with a truncation, but the count held at two, even with the asterisk thrown in. In WorldCat, there are just over 50 hits, making it look more like a moderate probability candidate. We found 23 hits for this in COPAC, the major union catalog for British university libraries. There is even one hit for the typo in the National Library of Australia - not much of a showing but proof that the sun never sets on this typo.

Today's photo shows the statue of Peter Pan at Kensington Gardens in London. This was taken more than 30 years ago, so the children here are presumably nearing their 40th birthdays. The original can be found at

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ralroad (for Railroad)

RAILROAD, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.”
This is according to Ambrose Bierce in the Devil's Dictionary. Ralroad can be found at , which is the section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases with the lowest probability errors. They were found only once in OhioLINK at the time of their discovery. Indeed, that same record is still in OhioLINK, referring to the Hartford Railroad Company. There is a very modest hit count of 5000 for Ralroad in Google.

Today's photo shows the Essex Steam Train in Eastern Connecticut that gives a 90-minute ride through fall foliage. The original can be seen at