Monday, August 31, 2009

Willaim (for William)

William Shakespeare may or may have not written a number of plays and sonnets, but if you miss your aim, you won't find any of them. Willaim (not found in the Ballard database) is found 137 times in OhioLINK, and many more in WorldCat. This is a typo based on both reversing letters and putting a real word at the end of a name where no such word belongs.

Image of William Shakespeare from Wikimedia Commons.

Liz Perlman Bodian
Chicago Public Library

Friday, August 28, 2009

Presure* (for Pressure, etc.)

The Jamaican band Toots & the Maytals recorded "Pressure Drop" in 1969, but managed to do so without dropping either of the S's in the word pressure. This tune was later featured in the 1973 film The Harder They Come, which went a long way toward making reggae a household word. A couple of years ago, Rolling Stone included "Pressure Drop" in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Times. I know you feel pressured at work sometimes, but try and find some time to check your OPACs for this one. There were 25 cases of Presure* in OhioLINK the last time we looked, about eight of which were typos for the correctly spelled (French) word présure.

(Frederic "Toots" Hibbert at Ris Orangis France, June 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Julain (for Julian)

Julain (for Julian) is found nine times in OhioLINK, making it a typo of "moderate probability" on the Ballard list. Julian Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, chairman of the NAACP, and long-time representative to the Georgia legislature. He was an English major in undergraduate school and has a wonderful—or, some might say, awful—way with words. (Is there a term for that, when words look like they should mean more or less the same thing, but in fact are generally used as opposites?) A few examples of Bond's bon mots include saying that the Republican Party used Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell as "human shields against any criticism of their record on civil rights" and that George Bush's selection of John Ashcroft and Gale Norton, "whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection ... appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing." Nobody's really sure who coined the phrase, but I'm sure Julian Bond is one of those people who doesn't much mind what others say or write about him—as long as they spell his name right.

(Julian Bond, circa 1980, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Napolean (for Napoleon)

Turning up 53 times in OhioLINK, Napolean is a typo of "high probability" on the Ballard list. The pop band They Might Be Giants lyrically informs us that:

In 1844, the Democrats were split
The three nominees for the presidential candidate
Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist
James Buchanan, a moderate
Louis Cass, a general and expansionist
From Nashville came a dark horse riding up
He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump....

The latter was also referred to as "Young Hickory" (since he was from Tennessee like Andrew Jackson or "Old Hickory") and earned the moniker "Napoleon of the Stump" because "his oratory filled his foes with fear." While it might not be fair to call Polk lean and mean, TMBG does describe him as "austere [and] severe." He accomplished a lot in "four short years" and, unlike all of his presidential predecessors, "he sought no second term." If you take charge of this typo today, perhaps, like James K. Polk, you won't have any unfinished business to return to later on.

(Portrait of James Knox Polk from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hawaia*, Hawaai*, Hawia* (for Hawaii, etc.)

Before Barack Obama came along, Bette Midler was our favorite Hawaiian. And, just like Obama, Hawaii really is part of America, although there are undoubtedly some people who would doubt it. Hawaii became a state fifty years ago, on August 21, 1959. We found nine instances of Hawaia* in OhioLINK, along with two of Hawaai* and one of Hawia*. As Woody Allen once remarked: "Relationships are like sharks. They have to keep moving forward or they die." Let's save our Hawaiian records from death by typographical error and move forward by correcting all of these mistakes.

(Image posted to Flickr by JasonB, with the following caption: "The Divine Miss M. From her show 'Clams on the Half Shell.' She is doing Vegas now from 2008 to 2010. She will be in the remake of 'Jaws' where a shark is attacked by a great white woman.")

Carol Reid

Monday, August 24, 2009

Amrica* (for America, etc.)

AMRIC can stand for a number of things, but my favorite one is the Avocado Marketing Research and Information Center. Add an H and it reads Am Rich, giving the acronym a certain subliminal appeal. Avocados are rich—in magnesium, potassium, various vitamins, and phytosterols, which are said to help lower cholesterol. Most Americans associate them with tossed salads and guacamole, but in some parts of the world the avocado is considered more of a dessert fruit than a vegetable. ("Technically," says Wikipedia, it's a "large berry.") My sister once made me an avocado drink she had had on a visit to Ethiopia. It was quite delicious and a gorgeous shade of green. And it's very easy to make. Just blend one ripe avocado with about 10-12 ounces of chilled limeade and serve. With 233 hits in OhioLINK for Amrica*, today's typo is ripe for the picking. As the Ethiopians say: Letenachin! ("To your health" in Amharic). Here's to the health of our databases and to helping keep America beautiful.

(Avocado on a tree in Bermuda, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Friday, August 21, 2009

Acdem* (for Academic, etc.)

Late August has arrived, and all across the land, students and teachers alike are gearing up for a return to academic pursuits. Some happily, some less so. I remember that on the first day of school, our father would wake my sister and me with a resounding chorus of “School Days,” just to really annoy us:

School days, school days
Dear old Golden Rule days

Reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic

Taught to the tune of the hick'ry stick

Don’t allow yourself to be irked by Acdem* errors in your catalog. There are 12 entries for this moderate-probability typo in OhioLINK, most of them in publisher fields.

(“School Days” sheet music, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gentic* (for Genetic, etc.)

I absolutely dread going to the dentist, and now it seems I might have a scientific reason for my pre-appointment anxiety. You see, I’m a redhead, and according to the New York Times “Well” blog, the latest research shows that many of us have a genetic mutation affecting our sensitivity to pain. Redheads often need larger doses of general anesthesia, and they can be resistant to Novocaine and other painkilling drugs used by dentists. As a group, we’re twice as likely as people with other hair colors to avoid dental care altogether.

Gentic* is moderate-probability typo with 12 hits in the OhioLINK database, although one is a valid entry for “Genticorum.” Take a look, and you might just find some of these painful errors in your own catalog.

Incidentally, my dentist is a great guy. He even has a sign in the waiting room announcing “We cater to cowards!”

(family of four 2, by lusi, from stock.xchng)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Geriatic* (for Geriatric, etc.)

Our household revolves around four tiny furballs, all of them rescue Pomeranians. Friends who work in the business tell us that after about age four, a dog’s chances of adoption are slim to none. But because Poms can easily live into their mid or upper teens, we’ve never hesitated to take in “seniors” as old as seven or eight.

Still, until fairly recently, we’d never adopted a geriatric one older than ten years. When we finally took the plunge, we discovered firsthand what many others have said: they truly understand the gift you’ve given them, and they’ll be your devoted companions and protectors for as long as they live.

Geriatic* is a typo of low probability on the Ballard list. There are currently 5 instances of it in the OhioLINK catalog.

(Anna Banana, our first geriatric rescue Pom)

Deb Kulczak

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Prodc* (for Produce, Production, etc.)

It’s summer here in Arkansas, and the local produce stands are well stocked with that unparalleled gem of the season, the tomato. Who would guess this tasty treat is actually a member of the nightshade family, which includes not only potatoes and eggplants, but also tobacco and deadly nightshade (the source of belladonna)?

John Denver expressed in song what many of us no doubt feel about tomatoes:

Plant 'em in the spring, eat ‘em in the summer
All winter without ‘em is a culinary bummer

I forget all about the sweatin’ and the diggin’

Every time I go out and pick me a big ‘un

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes

What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes?

Only two things that money can’t buy

That's true love and home grown tomatoes

Prodc* is a typo of moderate-probability on the Ballard list. There are 32 English-language entries in OhioLINK representing words such as produce(d), producer, product, production, and procedure. Many are in transcribed fields and would have to be checked, while one (“PRODCOM”) does not appear to be a typo.

(Tomatoes, by rosym, from stock.xchng)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, August 17, 2009

Revalat* (for Revelation, etc.)

Julian of Norwich was a 14th century English mystic and the author of Revelations of Divine Love (or Showings), long considered a classic work of medieval spirituality. An AUTOCAT reader sent me a charming quote of Julian’s in response to my earlier blog post about Neil Armstrong and his impressions of Earth as seen from space. Taken from Revelations, this passage is often interpreted as a vision of the cosmos.

And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, "What may this be?"And it was answered generally thus, "It is all that is made." I marvelled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nought for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.

The low-probability typo Revalat* is anything but divine. There are 8 instances of it in the OhioLINK catalog.

(Statue of Julian, Norwich Cathedral, by David Holdgate; photo by Leo Reynolds, posted on Flickr)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cheklist*, Chcklist* (for Checklist*)

Frankly, I was a little depressed to find nary a typo for either Chicklist* or Checklit* in the entire OhioLINK database, but I quickly chucked all that and lit out instead in search of something for which Czechs might find themselves at the top of the list. So I checked and, sure enough, according to The Economist in 2006, Czechoslovakia ranked as the highest alcohol-consuming nation in the world. Adding a certain mystique to that half-impressive, half-depressing statistic is the land of Kafka and Kundera's longtime love affair with "The Green Fairy" (or la Fée Verte), the thujone-infused libation known as absinthe. Next time you're in Czechoslovakia, you might want to check out the world through green-colored glasses. (Or else you could just gaze upon a window display like this one in Prague.) There are two cases of Cheklist* and two of Chcklist* in OhioLINK, and 54 and five, respectively, in WorldCat.

(Viktor Oliva's "The Absinthe Drinker," the original of which can be found in the Café Slavia in Prague, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Aaron Copeland (for Aaron Copland)

Today's typo appears 41 times in OhioLINK (with the two words unlinked,14 times for "Aaron Copeland"), making it a typo of "moderate to high probability." Copland is the Anglicized version of Kaplan, which was the surname of Aaron Copland's father. At that time, America was both a land of opportunity and a land of coping for many Jewish immigrants. Although he was blessed with native talent, a musical mother, and four encouraging older siblings, all was not completely copacetic for Copland. He was fortunate to have studied under Rubin Goldmark, but later remarked that the teacher possessed "little sympathy for the advanced musical idioms of the day" and that his list of "approved" composers ended with Richard Strauss. Later, in Paris, he took lessons from Nadia Boulanger, despite the fact that "no one to my knowledge had ever before thought of studying with a woman." (Copland was Boulanger's first American pupil.) The young man apparently rejected such preemptive sexism and summed up the experience thusly: "This intellectual Amazon is not only professor at the Conservatoire, is not only familiar with all music from Bach to Stravinsky, but is prepared for anything worse in the way of dissonance. But make no mistake … A more charming womanly woman never lived." Aaron Copland, while regarded as shy, diffident, and private (in the way of all gays back in the olden days), had a full life and prodigious career. He often supported left-wing causes and was blacklisted in the fifties for having Communist sympathies. Ultimately, he became known as "the dean of American composers."

(Portrait of Aaron Copland, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Remeber* (for Remember, etc.)

Remember, don't talk with your mouth full, especially if it's full of cookie crumbs, or it might come out sounding like Remeber instead. The best cookie in the world (or the most memorable, anyway, having been memorialized by Marcel Proust in the book Remembrance of Things Past) is the mouthwatering madeleine, pictured to the right. This cookie isn't quite as easy to bake as the typo is to make, but it's certainly worth a try. And if you're lucky, you might bump into a package of ready-made madeleines at the grocery store, just as I did a month or so ago. After making sure to pick some up on every single shopping trip after that, they suddenly disappeared one day, leaving me to continue wandering over to the spot where they had once lain and stare wistfully at the counter. If I'm remembering rightly, our typo for today was counted 16 times in OhioLINK.

(Madeleines de Commercy, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beverly Clearly (for Beverly Cleary)

Children's author Beverly Cleary is clearly a master of the form. Cleary is seen here strolling through Grant Park in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and fictional handful "Ramona" (the latter in lifelike statuary mode). At 93 years of age, Cleary just signed off on a film adaptation of the book Ramona and Her Father. Cleary is not only an award-winning writer—whose memorable characters include Ramona's older sister Beezus, Henry Huggins and Ribsy, Otis Spofford, and Ellen Tebbitts—but was also a children's librarian who credits her own childhood librarian with instilling in her the desire to both read books and write them. There are three instances of Beverly Clearly in OhioLINK, and six of Cleary + Clearly. I once wrote Beverly Cleary a fan letter and in return she sent me a publisher's brochure listing the titles of all her books and a note saying she was glad I liked them. I wish I still had it. She was my favorite author.

Yours truly,
Carol Reid

Monday, August 10, 2009

Reslove* (for Resolve*)

Be it resolved: Reslove* is found nine times today in the OhioLINK database, and is thus deemed a "moderate probability" typo on the Ballard list. RES can stand for any number of things, but I'm rather partial to the charmingly named Rabbit Education Society. These folks take a middle-of-the-road position on rabbit rights, as it were, clearly loving the hoppity little creatures, but demurring at the tactics and viewpoint of radical organizations like PETA. According to them, the commonest stereotype about bunnies is both puffed up and tawdry: "The RES does not recognize the term 'overpopulation' as it is inaccurate and has not been proven to exist and is a word meant to stir the emotions and demonize rabbit breeders as a part of animal rights propaganda." Hare today, gone tomorrow. I read that if you want to see more rabbits, you should plant soybeans. I rarely see rabbits. I bet I could learn a lot from them. Look what it did for Jimmy Stewart.

(Educated rabbits, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, August 7, 2009

Worls (for World)

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man," according to the endlessly quotable George Bernard Shaw. Worls is on the D, or Low Probability, section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, but it presents a special problem when you try to correct the records where it is found. "World" is the obvious correct form, given that the D and S key are neighbors on the QUERTY keyboard. However, the K and L keys are just as close, so the cataloger might have been shooting for "Works." If it is a missing letter typo, the correct word might be "Worlds." Looking at the 240 entries for Worls in WorldCat, our blog entry might come as some surprise to an author named G. Randolph Worls. We can't say this enough - check for context before you change a record.

Today's photo features Don Larsen, a Yankee great who is the only man who ever pitched a perfect game in the World Series. He graciously put up with getting his picture taken with me and my son. Happy Birthday, Don. The original can be found at

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Writter (for Writer)

"In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write, but evidently can't read. If they could read their stuff, they'd stop writing," according to Will Rogers. Writter is most obviously a typo whose intended target was "Writer." It could also be a misfire of "Written." Indeed, a check of the nearly 400 writters in WorldCat this morning shows both targets. In addition, there are instances where Writter is somebody's name. It is in the B, or High Probability, section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was found between 16 and 99 times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. It was written in red, meaning that it was just added to the list in 2009.
These updates are performed in the early months of each year by Tina Gunther from Biola University in California, whose efforts are absolutely vital to this project.

Choosing today's photo was a problem. We have so many writers in our virtual file box: Paul Theroux, E.L. Doctorow, Sherman Alexie, Armistad Maupin, and Yogi Berra to just scratch the surface. We settled for Garrison Keillor, who was signing autographs at the 2007 American Library Association meeting in Washington. The original is found at

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Curiousity (for Curiosity)

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing." This was written by Oscar Wilde several centuries ago. Fortunately, that is no longer true of today's news-reading public. The typo Curiousity is found on the B, or, High Probability section of Typographical Errors in Library Databases. That means that it was present in more than 16 but less than 100 records in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Its presence on the list is Curiousi* which just gets it over the line for the B list with 20. Without the truncation it is in 13 records. This should make you curious enough to check your own catalog to see if you accidentally loaded one of the more than 150 records with this typo that are still present in WorldCat.

Today's photo portrays a young girl climbing on the famous statue of Alice in Central Park. Alice was, of course, famous for the phrase "Curiouser and Curiouser." The original is found at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Serach (for Search)

"Truth hurts; not the searching after - the running from." This according to John Eyberg, a man whose witticisms are found all over the web and even in several books. Otherwise, he is a bit of a mystery, with not so much as a Wikipedia page to tell his story. Serach is found on the D list of Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was found at least twice but no more than seven times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery. Indeed, it is found in nine records in OhioLINK this morning, but most of these relate to the biblical personage Serach. That brings up a point that we can't make enough - the words we highlight here are only possible typos in your catalogs. Each of these has to be examined individually before any record is changed.

Today's photo is a montage in honor of Google for adding an interface that makes it fairly easy for a non-programmer to create themes in IGoogle that are then added to the directory. This opens up theme creation to people like an old librarian with a large supply of digital pictures taken in the west of Ireland. The original is at

Monday, August 3, 2009

Auguts (for August)

"The English winter - ending in July, / To recommence in August," wrote Lord Byron in the days before there was any talk of global warming. August was the sixth month of the ancient Roman calendar, and was thus called "sextilis," even after 450 BC, when January and February were moved from the end of the year to the beginning. In 8 BC, the month was named after Augustus to celebrate a series of military victories by the Emperor. Meanwhile, the months of September through December still bear the names of their original positions as the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months on the Roman calendar. On to the typo here - "Auguts" is on the D, or Low Probability, list in Typographical Errors in Library Databases, meaning that it was found more than once but less than eight times in OhioLINK at the time of its discovery.
Today's picture shows waders and seabirds enjoying the beach in a prior summer that did not feature 18 days of rain in a row. The beach is Point Lookout on the south shore of Long Island.
The original can be found at