Monday, September 29, 2008

Collison (for Collision)

"Movies are a complicated collision of literature, theatre, music and all the visual arts," according to the Australian cinematic philosopher Yahoo Serious. Film buffs of a certain age are likely to remember the date September 30 as the date that James Dean's car suffered a fatal collision on the way to a car race in Salinas, California in 1955. Reportedly, his last words were something like "That guy will stop." We were looking for some form of collision to use on this date but did not see one, so we went shopping in OhioLINK and found a staggering 300+ hits for Collison. This would have made it a candidate for the highest level of erroneousness at our page "Typographical errors in library databases." Typos with more than 100 hits in OhioLINK are few and far between. However, when we turned this in to the listkeeper, we were informed that most of those hits were legitimate names, so Collison only rates a 'C.'
Today's photo looks like a 20 car collision, but it was actually a made-up event in Greenwich Village for the filming of the Will Smith movie "I am legend.' The original can be seen at

Peformance (for Performance)

"If man had created man he would be ashamed of his performance," according to the ever-quotable Mark Twain. Peformance for Performance breaks with the usual pattern found in most missing letter typos in that the omission is at the beginning of the word. Even so, when we first saw it we had to do a double take to find what constituted the error. That is not the case with "Peform" which is very easy to spot. There were only 3 Peforms in OHIOLINK this morning, but nearly 40 Peformances. That explains why the error is found on the B section of Typographical errors in Libary Databases at , which means that the

error was present in more than 15 records in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. This morning, there were more than 1 million Peformances in Google. That sounded like a lot until we found out that the word was spelled correctly more than 750 million times.

Today's photo shows the wonderfully talented bluegrass band Cherryholmes performing in New York City in 2006. The original can be seen at

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pharoah* (for Pharaoh*)

Pharoah* is more than a mere typo. It's a very commonly misspelled word, turning up 329 times in OhioLINK. However, given that NACO shows seven personal names correctly spelled "Pharoah," some of those results are undoubtedly proper names. An author search on Pharoah* brings up 14 records, which may or may not contain misspellings. A keyword search on Pharoah* + Pharaoh* gets 32, which definitely do. Overall, quite a few typos here waiting to be excavated.

Former State Librarian Joseph Shubert and his beloved dog Nicky are posed together in a portrait that hangs in the Librarians Room of the New York State Library, along with a painting of Melvil Dewey. When the miniature schnauzer died last year, his longtime companion went to the pound where he was promptly picked by a new pooch, an "Egyptian" pharaoh hound. These are remarkable-looking creatures with large ears and languid airs; they resemble those skinny statues found in the antiquities rooms of many museums.

The FSL (who is also slender, red-haired, and classically inclined) named his new find Ginger, probably due to her coloring, but perhaps also because "Ginger" was the name given to the first known Egyptian mummy. It happens to be the name of the dog in the 1951 children's book Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes as well. Coincidentally, Mr. Shubert and his furry friends spend their summers on Cape Cod, as did librarians Eleanor and Rice Estes. I've enjoyed quite a few vacations there myself with family pets. Here's to the dog days of summer and especially Ginger and Joe, who just celebrated his 80th birthday!

Carol Reid

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Claire Booth Luce, etc. (for Clare Boothe Luce)

OhioLINK contains 13 cases of Clare Booth Luce, five of Claire Boothe Luce, two of Claire Booth Luce, and one of Clair Boothe Luce. Clare Boothe Luce is rather fun to say—kind of like John Wilkes Booth, but on a happier note. (Note the different spellings of Boothe and Booth). Ms. Luce clearly believed in the power of the voting booth; Mr. Booth apparently did not. In addition to being a congresswoman, ambassador, and social activist, Luce was the author of the Broadway play The Women, which was made into a marvelous movie in 1939 and is now sadly sullied, say some, by the remake currently in release. John Wilkes Booth hailed from a family of thespians and, as an actor in the mid-19th century, was very popular. In fact, he killed. I did not find any typos for his name, but it shall always be mud tracked on the stage of American history.

(Portrait of the lady by Carl Van Vechten, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Texbook* (for Textbook*)

Katherine Anne Porter was born in Texas in 1890 and was descended from Daniel Boone. She won both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for The Collected Stories in 1966 and was appointed to the American Academy of Arts and Letters that same year. Porter produced four short story collections as well as four other books, including Ship of Fools, which launched an award-winning Hollywood film in 1965. Her 76th year was certainly one for the books, giving all of us late bloomers, whether Texan or not, reason to think big. Texbook* (for textbook*) appears 16 times in OhioLINK, making it a typo of "high probability."

(Katherine Anne Porter on a postage stamp in 2006.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spinal chord (for Spinal cord)

The strictest of music teachers tend to see a direct connection between the chords their students play and the straightness of their spinal cords. However, in this as in all things, moderation is key, according to William Hoyle's article "How the Words 'Sit up Straight' Have Damaged the Sound of Your Choir." The words cord and chord are homonyms, though somewhat related etymologically, which may account for the spelling confusion. The derivation of the former, according to Merriam Webster, is "Middle English, from Anglo-French corde, from Latin chorda string, from Greek chordē." The latter is an "alteration of Middle English cord, short for accord." Spinal chord turns up 11 times in OhioLINK and Spinal chords once. In hopes that this may be instructive to you as well, I remain cordially yours...

Carol Reid

(Painting of his mother and spinster sister sitting at a spinet, by Paul Cézanne, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finacial, etc. (for Financial)

Three Uncles Sam—representing the U.S. Treachery, Federal Reverse, and Insecurities Exchange Commission, respectively—with a parade permit and a police escort lead the way in the liberation of YOUR MONEY ("FDIC Insured") as Ms. Information stands apoplectic at the hairy sight of explosive developments behind the scenes. You mone.

crashes OhioLINK 17 times and Fiancial eight times, making it a typo of "moderate" to "high probability" on the Ballard list.

(Text and photo "Prophet & Loss" by guest blogger apocryphal.)

Carol Reid

Friday, September 19, 2008

Learing (for Learning or Leaning)

Today's picture is "Leaning Tower of Camel" from Flickr. I'm kind of leaning in the direction that "Learing" is a misspelling for Learning … but it could be for Leaning. There's only one way to find out what's in your catalog.

Wendee Eyler

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Enginn* (for Engineer, etc.)

If you were a kid in Southern California during the late 50s or early 60s, perhaps you also were glued to the TV watching Chucko the Clown in the morning, Sheriff John at lunchtime, and Engineer Bill in the evening. William "Engineer Bill" Stulla died August 12 at age 97. Engineer Bill, seen in today's picture with Chucko the Clown, hosted "Cartoon Express," a popular Los Angeles-area children's television show that ran from 1954 to 1966. The show featured Engineer Bill and guests playing "Red Light, Green Light," a contest that aimed to get children to drink their milk.

Enginneer = RED LIGHT!!
Engineer = GREEN LIGHT!!
Wendee Eyler

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Magentic (for Magnetic)

The "ne" in Magnetic appears to have reversed polarity in many online catalogs, causing the typo "Magentic" (for Magnetic).
Wendee Eyler
Today's photo: Satellite-Video of Earth's Magnetic field. From

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Abbrevat* (for Abbreviate, Abbreviation, etc.)

Today's typo is a short one--that is, you can cut short your time spent
fixing typos because the probability of finding this typo in your catalog is lessened. Only one error was found in OhioLINK for the typo "Abbrevat*" for Abbreviate, Abbreviation, etc.

Wendee Eyler

Monday, September 15, 2008

Covention (for convention)

Someone has cursed the word "convention" in our online catalogs, magically changing the word convention to "covention." Some of the bad spells in OhioLink are "European Covention," "Constitutional Covention," "national covention," etc.

Wendee Eyler
(Image from

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wasshington (for Washington)

"I hold my self to a higher standard than George Washington. He said I cannot tell a lie. I can, but won't," according to Mark Twain. Typos for Washington have been regular items in this blog, and there are many more waiting in the wings. Wasshington is on the 'D' list of Typographical errors in library databases at, meaning that it had between 2 and 7 hits in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Today, there was only 1 hit in OhioLINK for this error, but more than 30 in WorldCat. That is about what we would expect for a D List entry.

Today's photo is a rather fanciful sculpture of George Washington as a Greek orator in the Smithsonian American History Museum. The original is found at

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Numberal (for Numeral)

"Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?" This observation came from Woody Allen back in the days when he thought it was okay to be funny. Numberal is an unusual typo because it adds a letter - most of the words in our list do the opposite. In this case, it creates something that looks like it should be a word. It is found in the 'D,' or low probability, section of Typographical letters in library databases at, meaning that it was found at least twice but no more than seven times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Indeed, there were only two hits for the word today in OhioLINK, and 9 in WorldCat.

Today's photo shows a group of New York City firemen on the West Side talking shop, or possibly baseball. See how many times you can find the number 21 here. The original can be found at

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reminscence (for Reminiscence)

"Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories." This could only come from the mind of Steven Wright. To add my own Wrightesque original, "When I was young I read nothing but science fiction. Now that I'm an old man I keep reminiscing about the future." Reminscence is the sort of typo that made this group what it is - a missing 'i' at the end of a long and common word. This error is found in the D, or Low Probability section of Typographical errors in library databases at , meaning that it was found at least twice but not more than 7 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. This morning, we found none. It is common for these hit counts to go down once they are identified, since catalogers in Ohio follow our work. We found 20 of them in WorldCat this morning, so there is a chance that the error will be in your catalog.

Today's photo shows a statue of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in Hannibal, Missouri. The original can be found at

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Speciman (for Specimen)

"Just specimens is all New Hampshire has,/ One each of everything as in a show-case/ Which naturally she doesn't care to sell." So wrote Robert Frost. Speciman is interesting because, at first glance, it seems to be a word that is present on our list because people have trouble spelling it. This is not borne out in Google where the correct spelling outnumbers the typo by about 250 to one. Speciman is found on the C, or moderate probability, list in our website "Typographical Errors in Library Databases" at . Checking in WorldCat this morning, we found nearly 200 hits for "Speciman," including three different editions of Walt Whitman's "Specimen Days in America." This made us wonder if Whitman himself made the typo, but that turns out to be false. Once again, we would like to emphasize that no record should be changed without inspecting it for context. The typo may be in the original and noted with a 'sic.'

Today's photo shows the skeleton of a snake at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington. The original can be found at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Septemeber (for September)

T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month, but for those of us in New York, nothing brings on the chills like a bright sunny day in early September. September is an interesting month - the name means "Seventh month" - because the Roman Calendar began in March until the calendar was reformed in 153 B.C. Nostradamus, in his most specific prediction, said that "the New City will be destroyed by an attack from the air in the 7th month of the third millennium." Writers in the 1990's speculated that Paris would be destroyed in July of 2000. Those writers were not taking into account that fact that 2000 was actually the last year of the second millennium, so if you count September as the 7th month then Nostradamus did well. On to the business at hand, Septemeber is an unusual typo because it adds a letter. It can be found in the moderate probability section of the page Typographical Errors in Library Databases at, meaning that it was found at least 8 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery.
Today's photo shows 7 World Trade Center, the first of the destroyed structures to be rebuilt.
The original can be seen at

Friday, September 5, 2008

Austrailia*, Austalia* (for Australia, etc.)

When hiking in Australia, make sure not to lose sight of the trail. There were 13 hits for Austrailia* and 16 for Austalia* in OhioLINK at last count. In Norman Lindsey's famous children's book The Magic Pudding, various characters take successive bites of the eponymous foodstuff while never diminishing the whole. This magic fails to work on words, though, which are not self-regenerating but rely on us to keep them properly intact.

(Photo of Magic Pudding sculpture in Lavender Bay, Sydney, from the New York Review of Books website.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Transalt* (for Translate, etc.)

In some cases, "Pass the salt" could mean transporting it over the ocean, or extracting it from the brine itself. Some people are partial to sea salt; others are more salt of the earth. Language can be salty and so can dogs. Salt was once considered more valuable than gold. We panned for the typo Transalt* in OhioLINK and dug up 29 examples, including a sprinkling of "sics."

(Picture of German salt crystals from Berchtesgadan by Roger McLassus, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Refernc* (for Reference, etc.)

My grandmother's favorite plant was the fern and I often find myself referencing the hardy perennial she planted many years ago still waving its huge fan-like fronds in my garden. With similar reliability, the typo Refernc* comes up 17 times in OhioLINK. Ferns are weird and prehistoric, sort of like flying dinosaurs, and the collection and cultivation of them was a preoccupation of the Victorians. Ferns get by with neither seeds nor flowers, reproducing by means of spores. Plus, if it weren't for Fern, Wilbur would never have become Some Pig.

(Giant tree fern in Kew Gardens, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Prited, etc. (for Printing, Printed)

A variety of typos for printed and printing appear in OhioLINK today. There's Prited (seven times), Priting (11), Prnted (17), Prnting (three), Prined (19), and Prining (three). The word prit means "took" in French. Edith Piaf sings, "La blonde et la brune ... L'amour en prit une" in the song Simple Comme Bonjour (Simple as Hello). The latter part translates to: "Love took one." Piaf, for her part, took numerous lovers during her too-short lifetime—one that was perhaps a sorrow to her, but was a joy to the world. I'm not sure who took this picture of Piaf, but it really captures the pathos and panache of the chanteuse as a young child.

P.S. Edith + Edit brings up an unlucky 13 records in OhioLINK, as I discovered to my slight delight when I made this goof myself. It behooves me to say that there's no one who's "edit proof" and there's no one like Edith Piaf!

(The "little sparrow" from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wrok* (for Work, etc.)

"Workers rock" might be a hipper way of putting it, but I always liked the old "Workers of the world unite!" Either way, we're all pretty much united when it comes to getting a three-day weekend. The typo Wrok* shows up 13 times in OhioLINK, making it one of "moderate probability." You might also be able to pull up a few more with Netwrok* (there are eight in our database to date). But don't get stuck between a "wrok" and a hard place. After all, it's your day off.

(Picture of Sisyphus hard at work, by Franz von Stuck, 1920, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid