Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bicyle (for Bicycle)

"For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon." Bill Strickland made this statement which seems more relevant than ever as we wait for five dollars per gallon gasoline. Bicyle is an unusual example of the most common sort of error in an online catalog. Missing letters are by far the most likely type of error, but usually they occur near the end of a very long word. This is found in the C, or moderate section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases at
http://faculty.quinnipiac.edu/libraries/tballard/typoscomplete.html . A check of WorldCat showed the error in 76 records, which confirms the verdict of moderate. In Google, there are more than 200,000 examples, proving that this is a fairly common mistake. As always, we suggest checking each record for context before changing a suspected typo. At the very least, there may be a "sic" present to indicate that the typo is in the original.
Today's photo shows David McCann winning the yellow jersey in stage four of the FBD Ras, an annual bicycle race around Ireland. The original can be found at http://www.pbase.com/image/98462327

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