Friday, July 30, 2010

Opportunt* (for Opportunit*)

Pippi Longstocking—the popular, long-stocked staple of library children's rooms everywhere—made its striking debut in 1945 and only grows more beloved with time. Astrid Lindgren's spunky protagonist* has been depicted in a lot of different ways, but always tunt, which in Swedish means "thinly, slimly, or lankily." Pippi, however, is more than just skinny: she's as strong as ten men and equally strong-willed; she has outrageous, gravity-defying pigtails and freckles; she doesn't go to school; and she owns her own house called Villa Villekulla. She also has a monkey and a horse (both of whom live at home). Every problem for Pippi is a challenge easily overcome, and every chore an opportunity for fun. (I always loved the way she would tie scrub brushes to her feet and skate around the house while washing the floor.) Pippi is also a self-described "thing finder." We found today's thing a total of 23 times in OhioLINK. If Opportunt* knocks on your catalog as well, just try and make a game of it and I'm sure you'll skate through 'em in no time!

* The website Pippi's World helpfully tells us that "c
ommon Pippi Longstocking misspellings" include: Pippi Longstockings, Pippy Longstocking, and Pipi Longstocking.

(Astrid Lindgren in 1960, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Estabish*, etc. (for Establish*)

Estabish* (for establish*) was discovered six times in the OhioLINK database today, and Etablish* twice. Though, while searching for an appropriate topic for these typos, I stumbled upon a much more common one: Bish-Bash Falls for Bash-Bish Falls. (This almost irresistible mix-up is probably due to phrases like "Splish splash, I was taking a bath" and the jazz composition by the Benny Green Trio, "Bish Bash.") Google, in fact, returns 16,300 hits for the incorrectly spelled "bish bash falls" and only 15,100 for "bash bish falls." Even Wikipedia falls down on this one, spelling it almost as often the wrong way as the right way.* (None of this churning, however, turns up in WorldCat, where Bash-Bish Falls isn't even established as a geographical subject heading. OhioLINK does not contain the typo either. Kudos, catalogers!) Bash-Bish Falls, in Mount Washington, Mass., is one of the most beautiful—and treacherous—waterfalls in the country, and is named for an accused (if possibly innocent) Mohican adulteress sentenced to be cast over them in a canoe. Legend has it she haunts the watery premises to this day. In any event, and despite the mishmash of misspellings and misapprehensions, I am confident you can clean up here, just as long as you're careful. Feeling a bit nervous? Oh, pish posh!

* I wrote this post about a week ago and posted it today. As of now, the Wikipedia article stands corrected and the Google ratio (right to wrong) stands at 33,000 : 14,000.

(Bash-Bish Falls, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Froms (for Forms, etc.)

Froms (for forms, mostly) was found 19 times in OhioLINK this morning. My favorite example (albeit not an actual typo) is from a work called Forms/Froms by Potes & Poets Press. On two other records, it appears to have been purposely spelled that way as well, although the meaning eludes me—it's in a line from Handel: "Thus when the sun from's wat'ry bed..." (Is from's a contraction for "from his"?) In one case, today's typo was for the word from; the rest followed form. Wikipedia defines frum as "devout" or "pious" in reference to Orthodox Jews. The opposite of frum is frei (meaning non-religious or "free" to do as one likes). Frummers are frum folk who take things too far (or perhaps not far enough, getting hung up on literalism and technicalities); frum is sometimes used to describe someone who is "hypocritically pious," "holier-than-thou," or "sanctimonious." The men in this photograph are clearly orthodox, but I suspect that sign is far from frum. Still, I think the message is that people should be both "frum" and "free."

(Members of the Neturei Karta Jewish group protesting Israel on June 9, 2005, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Funciton* (for Function*)

Form follows function, as they sometimes say, and in the case of today's typo (which I cleverly hit upon by making it myself), its form took me to ... Funkytown. One of my favorite disco numbers (a number of years back), it's currently functioning as the official song of the French nuclear power company, Areva. "Funkytown" was a big hit for Lipps, Inc., in 1980, but that was the only time the band hit the Top 40. Wikipedia refers to the tune as "one of disco's last stands." I'm not sure which of these two bits of "Funkytown" trivia surprised me more: that the Iranian delegation to the 2006 Winter Olympics chose to have it played during their entrance to the games, or that it was written about Minneapolis, Minnesota. Which is a pretty funky town, when you come to think of it, and home to one of the funkiest catalogers we know, Sandy Berman. And just in case you're wondering what the word "funky"even means, exactly, you might want to check out this definition at, which includes the following word history: "When asked which words in the English language are the most difficult to define precisely, a lexicographer would surely mention funky..." Today's typo turned up ten times in OhioLINK today, which makes it a "moderate probability" one and one you may well find in your own database. If you're feeling a little sluggish, though, a trip to Funkytown should keep you "movin' with some energy..."

(Revolting Queers in Minneapolis Pride, by Andrew Ciscel, June 24, 2007, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 26, 2010

Undergound, etc. (for Underground)

Two remarkable underground artists departed the world this month. On July 12, 2010, we said goodbye to both Tuli Kupferberg and Harvey Pekar. (Or did they say goodbye to us? Whichever way it goes, it brings to mind Tuli's touching lament, Where Is My Wandering Jew?, which he performs on The Fugs Final CD, Part 1.) Kupferberg was a left-wing activist author and founding member of the "satirical rock band" known as the Fugs. (As well as a defining one: in 1964, he named the fledgling group a euphemism for the F-word, lifting it from Norman Mailer's best-seller, The Naked and the Dead.) Pekar, for his part, was a left-wing activist cartoonist and conflicted file clerk from Cleveland, Ohio, as well as being the subject of a 2003 docudrama starring Paul Giamatti. Equally memorably, he once managed to get himself booted off, and banned from, the David Letterman show. Undergound was found nine times in OhioLINK, Undergroud twice, and Undergrond once. I was heartened, however, to find no typos there for either of these two gentle men's names. And not too surprised, either, as I'm certain they have a lot of fans out there among discerning catalogers. Fandom often inspires us to take special care when spelling our idols' names. By doing so with Pekar and Kupferberg, we can help raise awareness of (and access to) their stubbornly idiosyncratic, but spiritually connected, cultural legacies. Rest in kooky, cranky peace, Harvey and Tuli.

(Harvey Pekar, March 23, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 23, 2010

Inveti* (for Investi*, inventi*, etc.)

On July 23rd in 1829, William Austin Burt patented what is considered to be the first known typewriter. He called it a typographer, and a person typed using a dial to select letters one at a time. Before him, in 1714 a patent was given to Henry Mill for a “writing machine”, but no records survived about what exactly his writing machine could do.

It wasn’t until the 1870s that the typewriter became a commercial success, with Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glidden’s invention (pictured above), based on the workings of a sewing machine.
When investigating the integrity of your catalogue, pay careful attention to the context, because inveti* can be a typo for several different words: forms of investigate, invention, and the Spanish investigación.

(Photo from The Science Museum)

Leanne Olson

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Calcuim (for Calcium)

Calcuim is a low probability typo for calcium, found 7 times in OHIOlink. The mineral itself has a high probability of affecting your health: it’s the mineral most likely to be undersupplied in a person’s diet.

High levels of Calcium can be found in dairy products, seafood, and vegetables like broccoli. That leafy green member of the mustard family is native to the Mediterranean, and has been cultivated there since Ancient Rome.

Did the Romans know of broccoli's health properties? I can't say I'd choose to eat it otherwise. And now I’m picturing Agrippina telling the young emperor Nero that he can’t leave the table until he’s finished his broccoli. The reason why Rome burned, perhaps?

Leanne Olson

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Phlosoph* (for Philosoph*)

It's been 3 years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in over 90 countries on July 21st, 2007, close to 10 years after the launch of the series with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (not Phlosopher, or Philospher).

The Deathly Hallows release incited price wars between retailers on a scale never before seen. The most shocking was U.K. supermarket chain Asda selling the book as a loss leader for only 5 pounds (around $10 US), attempting to muscle out bookstores.

U.S. research analyst Michael Norris got a little philosophical about the battle, stating that “You are not only lowering the price of the book. At this point, you are lowering the value of reading.” The supermarket chain, by contrast, declared they wanted to make the book affordable for kids.

Whichever way you argue it, as a librarian I'm just happy to see people getting so emotional over books.

(Photo of a Borders bookstore in California, 5 minutes before the midnight release, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Leanne Olson

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Plannn* (for Plann*)

Plannn* with three Ns is a high probability typo made by cataloguers who don't put enough planning into their keystrokes. It might be a typo for all sorts of words beginning in plann* or even plan*, if a typist leans on the N key hard enough. Planned, planner, planning, plant, planet, plane, plankton...

This summer I'm left wondering who planned the plants in my yard before I moved to this house. While my walnut tree is lovely and provides plenty of shade, it also gives squirrels a nice perch to throw nuts at me from above. Worse, it releases a chemical called juglone that kills many plants around its roots.

So if you have a walnut tree, plan ahead and do some research about what to plant, or you'll find your tomatoes and forget-me-nots dying a quick death, like mine.

(Image of the chemical structure of juglone from Wikipedia)

Leanne Olson

Monday, July 19, 2010

Parliment* (for Parliament*)

Having a rough week? Why not read someone the riot act?

The Riot Act was passed by British Parliament (not Parliment) in 1714 and took effect in 1715; the full text can actually be read on Project Gutenberg. It allowed the authorities to disperse any crowd or more people who were seen to be acting riotously or disturbing the peace.

The entire name of the act was "An act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters" -- which I imagine was hard to recite when standing in front of a mob of angry rioters.

Reading it out loud might put the fear of harsh punishment into your enemies, the way it did for the British government, but the legalese will at least put them to sleep.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

Friday, July 16, 2010

Recongition (for Recognition)

Today I'm going in a different direction than usual. I would like to thank Carol Reid for keeping this blog running. I do not think she gets enough recognition for her hard work, posting almost every week. She has done an amazing job coming up with interesting typos and fascinating information about people associated with them. If you are interested in helping her out, click on the link on the right side of the blog that says "Schedule yourself to write for the blog," and she will be more than happy to add you to the list.

Recongition is in the low probability section of the Ballard list. Although it does not appear very often in library catalogs, it is still worth cleaning up, and you might get your own recognition for your hard work!

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

(Image of the blue ribbon I award to Carol from Microsoft clip art library)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spainish or Spansih (for Spanish)

The Spanish team has won the World Cup. It feel like Americans paid much more attention to the tournament this year than they have in the past. We also need to pay attention to how we spell the nationality of the winners. It is easy to forget that the language is not spelled the same way as the country and type Spainish, which appears in the C, or moderate, probability section of the Ballard list. I also found Spansih, which is a simple reversal of the last two letters. Let's be champions and clean up this error in our catalogs.

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

(Logo of the 2010 FIFA World Cup from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goerge (for George)

George Steinbrenner died yesterday, ending an era for the New York Yankees. I grew up in the Boston area, which has a major rivalry with New York (at least in our minds), and with the Yankees in particular. Even there, though, I remember Steinbrenner being spoken of with great respect. While you are closing his dates, you might want to check the other Georges in your catalog. Goerge is in the high-probability section of the Ballard list, appearing 73 times in OhioLINK and 336 times in WorldCat. Most of them appear to be in transcribed areas rather than headings, but in WorldCat, there are over 100 in headings. Steinbrenner always had high expectations for his team, and we should have the same for our catalogs.

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

(Image of George Steinbrenner from Wikimedia Commons)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Referneces (for References)

Now that RDA seems to be imminently upon us, we're going to have to spell more things out, but I'm told that everyone will just make macros to type common phrases. In AACR2, one of those phrases is "Includes bibliographical references and index." You would do well to use a macro instead of typing that out. One possible misspelling is referneces, which is not yet on the Ballard list, but appears once in the OhioLINK catalog and 195 times in WorldCat. Before we switch to a new code and have new phrases to learn, you might want to make sure this error is cleaned up in your database.

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

(RDA logo from RDA Toolkit website)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Germnay (for Germany) or Germn for German

Today marks the anniversary of 16 German states leaving the Holy Roman Empire and forming the Confederation of the Rhine, which lasted from 1806 to 1813. There are 30 instances of Germnay and 35 of Germn in OCLC, as well as 5 for Germnay and 4 for Germn in the OhioLINK catalog (although one of those many not be a typo). The Germans are known to be a meticulous people, so make sure you don't misspell the name of their country.

(Map of the Confederation of the Rhine from Wikipedia).

Liz Bodian
Chicago Public Library

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sterliz* (for Steriliz*)

The Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylactic Pup
Were playing in the garden when the Bunny gamboled up;
They looked upon the Creature with a loathing undisguised;—
It wasn't Disinfected and it wasn't Sterilized...

So begins the poem "Strictly Germ-Proof" by Arthur Guiterman. It's a lighthearted spoof on the mania for cleanliness and public hygiene during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when influenza and other deadly diseases ran rampant. Guiterman was born in Vienna to American parents in 1871. He attended the College of the City of New York and edited the Woman's Home Companion and Literary Digest. He cofounded the Poetry Society of America and served as its president in 1925-26. (Oh, and he once came very close to finding the ever-elusive rhyme for "orange.") In 1915, Guiterman gave an interview to Joyce Kilmer and the New York Times in which he offered a "list of negative commandments for the guidance of aspiring poets." My favorites include: "Don't say 'did go' for 'went,' even if you need an extra syllable"; "Don't write poems about unborn babies [or the Great God Pan]"; and "Don't write what everybody else is writing." If laughter is the best medicine, Arthur Guiterman's inimitable verse was surely a tonic and balm. There were nine cases of Sterliz* (for steriliz*) in OhioLINK today, so before the contagion spreads, let's all scrub up and disinfect our databases.

(Portrait of Arthur Guiterman, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Brocolli* (for Broccoli*)

This has always been a tricky one for me to spell (although I've no problem eating the stuff, and am even trying to grow my own broccoli in the garden this year), so I was rather surprised, after poking around a bit in OhioLINK, to find a mere six examples of our cruciferous typo of the day. Furthermore, fully half of these were references to the 2004 book by Vivian Cook: Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary, or, Why Can't Anybody Spell? (The first one helpfully includes a 246 field with all three intentional bloopers written out correctly.) One instance of "brocolli" also showed up on a record for the Tall Dwarfs LP Weeville, which contains a song called "Mr. Brocolli." Without further research, it's hard to know whether that spelling variation was intentional, unintentional but accurately transcribed, or misspelled by the cataloger.

("Brokolice" or broccoli plant, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Studnet* (for Student*)

Studnet* sounds a bit like an online porn site, and one that students probably shouldn't be looking at in school. In fact, many school districts employ crude "censorware" to try and make sure that they don't. Or at least that's the hope. However, this widely discredited filtering software famously fails to pick up pornography, while at the same time blocking websites about breast cancer and other legitimate topics—along with, absurdly enough, such search terms as "Middlesex," "Beaver College," and the surname "Cockburn." OhioLINK returned nine hits on our typo today. Notably, one of them appeared in the chapter title of the 2008 book Education, edited by Robert Winters: "Schools cannot deny studnets basic civil rigths: Case overview, Tinker v. Des Moines (1969): The court's decison, students do have free speech and other basic rights," by Abe Fortas. Minus those three [!] typos, my sentiments exactly!

(Photo from the website Hot Guys Reading Books.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Assym* (for Asym*)

Can too much braying go to one's head? Can one's head truly be up one's ass? Are two heads really better than one? And is a two-headed mule considered symmetrical, asymmetrical, or just a donkey with a difference? The word asymmetrical actually looks more symmetrical with two S's, but that's simply one S too many. It's a fairly common error, though. We found 25 cases of Assym* in OhioLINK on both English and German records. There are many two-headed animal pictures on the Web, most of them involving creative composition generating an optical illusion, or a bit of Photoshopping mischief. Some of them, however, would appear to be shots of genuinely conjoined twins or examples of polycephaly. Separate that extra S from any examples of today's typo you find burrowed in your catalog.

(Two-headed donkey and brown-headed cowbirds, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 5, 2010

Veiw* (for View*)

There are many forms of independence and I suspect women often understand this fact better than men do. They're driven to do so. On July 4, 1903, Dorothy Levitt ("the fastest girl on Earth") became the first woman in the world to compete in a motorcar race. She won numerous driving awards, set several records, and even unofficially invented the rear-view mirror by counseling women, in her book The Woman and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook for All Women Who Motor or Who Want to Motor, to keep a "hand-mirror in a convenient place when driving" so that they may "hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic." Veiw* pulls into view 16 times in OhioLINK today.

(Dorothy Levitt frontispiece to The Woman and the Car, published worldwide 1907-1909, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rascism, Rascist* (for Racism, Rascist*)

July 2nd is a very auspicious day. For one thing, it marks the midpoint of any "common year" (that is, one that's not a leap year) on the Gregorian calendar. One hundred and eighty-seven days come before it and the same number come after. That fact itself, along with the arresting photo to the right, makes me feel both hopeful and haunted, sunny and cloudy, happy and sad. Is it all downhill from here, or is it possible things may be looking up? On July 2, 1777, Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery. On July 2, 1908, Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American on the Supreme Court (and the lawyer who successfully argued the case for Brown v. Board of Education in 1954) was born. On July 2, 1917, the East St. Louis Riot (the worst labor uprising and one of the worst race riots in this country) came to an end. And on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Racism still exists, but on this halfway-there day, there are many reasons to be glad of our history and to be proud of our fellow Americans, of all races. There were four examples of Rascism in OhioLINK today, and one of Rascist*.

(Young woman with umbrella, July 1937, by Dorothea Lange, for the Farm Security Administration/WPA, originally titled "Louisiana Negress.")

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Procelain* (for Porcelain*)

How would you like to live in a lunchbox? Unless you're a fruit fly or Pee-wee Herman, you're probably not too keen on the idea, but hold on a sec. What about a house that never has to be painted, inside or out, or have its roof replaced, ever? For a brief shining moment, it looked like a great many Americans might end up in just such an abiding abode, and in the late 1940s, nearly 3,000 families actually did. These marvels of post-war, pre-fab architecture known as "Lustron houses" were the brainchild of inventor and entrepreneur Carl Strandlund, who tirelessly (some might say zealously) preached the gospel of Lustron throughout the land. He extolled its virtues, bought up ad space in magazines, handed out coupons, and took lots of purchase orders for these porcelain-enameled steel bungalows of a sort, which came off an assembly line and were often ready to move into a day or two later. Just add magnets! (Hammers and nails are anathema to Lustron, which depends upon your not breaching the enamel finish.) Lustron homes were 1950s Googie at its best. As a speaker from the Historic Albany Foundation put it during a recent neighborhood walkabout: "Your Fiestaware would've looked great in the cabinets ... and there was probably Boomerang in the kitchen..." There were 21 cases of Procelain* (for porcelain*) in the OhioLINK database. Typos, like Lustron homes, are extremely durable and, unless you start chipping away at them now, will probably last forever.

(Lustron houses at 1, 3, and 5 Jermain Street in Albany, New York, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid