Friday, April 29, 2011

Desing* + Design* (for Design*)

I know a beautiful brown-haired Pointer of delicate sensibilities and exquisite taste. Her name is Coco. Her ears perk up when there's something in the air, but she herself never puts on airs. She likes to be comfortable, but enjoys looking good. (Does Chanel make a little black dress for dogs?) Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel was born in 1883 in Saumur, France. Wikipedia describes her as "a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion." When Gabrielle was twelve years old, her mother died of tuberculosis and her father deserted the family. She was placed in the care of a local orphanage, where she learned how to be a seamstress. At age 18, she started singing in circuses and cabarets and adopted the name "Coco," which was perhaps a reference to one of the songs in her repertoire; Chanel informed The Atlantic magazine that her name was short for coquette, the French word for "kept woman." Some Coco's are well worth keeping—despite, in Chanel's case, having a fundamental design flaw: an unfortunate anti-Semitism. There were 23 cases of Desing* + Design* (for design*) discovered in OhioLINK today.

(Coco Chanel, 1920, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Righs (for Rights)

I'm not trying to get a rise out of you, but today's typo turns up five times in OhioLINK and 83 times in WorldCat. And that's just not right. Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, but moved across the pond in 1774, just in time to play a significant role in the American Revolution. He has been described as "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination." He lived in France for most of the 1790s, where he published Rights of Man, an apologia for the French Revolution and counter-argument to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. Paine had a wonderful way with words, calling Napoleon "the completest charlatan that ever existed." Never one to mince them, either, his scathing critique of Christianity and organized religion in general was such that he was ultimately ostracized by most Americans: only six people attended this Founding Father's funeral in 1809.

(Fashion before Ease;—or,—A good Constitution sacrificed for a Fantastick Form. Cartoon showing Britannia clasping trunk of a large oak, while Thomas Paine tugs with both hands at her stay laces, his foot on her posterior. From his coat pocket protrudes a pair of scissors and a tape inscribed: Rights of Man. Behind him is a thatched cottage with the words: Thomas Pain, Staymaker from Thetford. By James Gillray, 1793, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reserach* (for Research*)

Serach is considered by some to be the oldest woman in the Torah since she was the sole granddaughter of Jacob to be mentioned there by name. (By contrast, there are 53 names of grandsons listed.) Therefore, if you're researching women and Judaism, you might do well to start with her. Serach (aka Serah) was the daughter of Asher, one of Jacob's twelve sons (who were known as the "Tribes of Israel"). She was beloved by her grandfather and brought him great joy, most notably the news that his long-lost son Joseph was actually "alive and the ruler of all Egypt," which Jacob repaid by granting her a long life and the gift of prophecy. Hers is a rich and rather convoluted story: she supposedly lived to be hundreds of years old and, according to one midrash, never died at all, being one of only a few people to enter Paradise while still alive. Another account has her buried in a tomb in Persia (the modern-day Iran). Our typo for the day was found 65 times in OhioLINK and nearly 600 times in WorldCat.

(Portrait of a Young Jewish Woman, by Maurycy Gottlieb, done in 1879, the year of the artist's death, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Legsl* (for Legislat* or Legislac*) = 5

Jack Nolan, more famously known as Legs Diamond, was upstate New York's most celebrated criminal (robber, bootlegger, and generally glam gangster) during the 1920s. It was pretty much inevitable that he would die in a rain of bullets unleashed by another no-goodnik, but he eluded this fate for a very long time. His archenemy, Dutch Schultz, once complained to some fellow gang members: "Ain't there nobody that can shoot this guy so he don't bounce back?" Diamond's uncanny "never say die" quality also gave rise to the nickname "Clay Pigeon of the Underworld." Legs Diamond met his match in 1931 when determined foes tracked him down to a hideout on Dove Street, in Albany, N.Y. It's still unclear who actually shot him or arranged for his "execution"; possibilities include "Dutch Schultz, the Oley Brothers (local thugs), the Albany Police Department, and relatives of Red Cassidy, another Irish gangster at the time," according to Wikipedia. But William Kennedy, founder of the NYS Writers Institute and author of the book O Albany!, says it was the Democratic Party machine and the Albany coppers whodunit. We found five cases of Legsl* (for legislat* or legislac*) in OhioLINK today, and 45 in WorldCat.

(Mug shot of New York mobster Jack Diamond, courtesy of the NYPD and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, April 25, 2011

Illstrat* (for Illustrat*)

Guitars are built to take a lot of abuse, but occasionally they do get hurt (like when full-blown "rock stars" deliberately smash them onstage or when teenage "guitar heroes" act like, well, teenagers). And sometimes, like all of us, guitars can simply get sick, beyond what a simple tuning or string replacment can fix. If you've got a guitar that's feeling under the weather (a coworker's code for "I'm calling in sick, but I'm really lying in a hammock outside in the backyard because it's so nice and sunny today"), just google guitar + hospital. There's help out there for your ailing ax. We found 18 cases of Illstrat* in OhioLINK, and 83 in WorldCat.

(Fender Stratocaster headstock, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, April 22, 2011

Issed (for Issued)

I have been dissed, kissed, missed, pissed, and possibly even hissed—but I don't think I've ever been issed. Jesus Christ was reportedly the issue of God (aka "the Father") and on Easter Day he supposedly rose from the dead and issued from a cave. Therapists, of course, have issues, as do certain lawyers, it would seem. Librarians have them too. One of these would be those pesky little access-blockers that are our raison d'etre here at TotDfL: typographical errors in library catalogs. Typos are problematical no matter where they turn up, though, or whosoever finds them. Today's typo was found zero times in OhioLINK, but over 400 times in WorldCat.

(I could have posted a picture here of the International Space Station, but speaking of heavenly bodies, I found this one more appealing. It's apparently some sort of Jesus grotto in Issime, Italy.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Standford* + Stanford* (for Stanford* or Standford*)

Who killed Jane Lathrop Stanford, the wife of Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University, in 1905? This is one murder mystery that may never be solved, according to the 2003 book by Robert Cutler, The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford. Was it heart failure (the official explanation, according to her husband's successor, David Starr Jordan, despite the coroner's ruling it a death by poisoning)? Was it suicide (another faintly plausible, if rather unlikely, explanation)? Or was it, perhaps, murder most foul?! Stanford had been feuding with Jordan (author of The Story of a Good Woman: Jane Lathrop Stanford, essentially a memorial address for Founder's Day in 1912) and had even been considering firing him. Another suspect was her personal secretary (and the author of Mrs. Leland Stanford: An Intimate Account), one Bertha Berner, who stood to inherit a sizable sum and was the only person present at the two different poisonings that preceded Stanford's death. We uncovered 26 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK (with only one "sic" to indicate that the misprint was on the original) and over 300 in WorldCat. Another look at this steamy topic—for those of you who can't stand the suspense—is Dorothea Buckingham's Poisoned Palms: The Murder of Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford.

(Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford in 1850, from Days of a Man, the autobiography of David Starr Jordan, published in 1922, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Loyd* + Lloyd* (for Lloyd* or Loyd*)

There were 17 cases of today's compound typo in OhioLINK, only a handful of which turned out to be false hits, i.e., two different people with two different spellings of their names—something that actually may not be all that unusual, given that I just heard another instance of it mentioned on TV, completely unrelated to today's topic! Anyway, not to keep you hanging on (like this iconic image of actor/acrobat Harold Lloyd suspended from a large clock in 1923's Safety Last), but here is my proposal, should you choose to accept it, and I certainly hope you do. Find out which Lloyd* or Loyd* you've got hanging around—and then give him L (or two L's as the case may be).

(Harold Lloyd and his future wife, actress Mildred Davis, in I Do, made in 1921, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Apsect* (for Aspect*)

Jonathan Rauch, a correspondent for the National Journal, The Economist, and The Atlantic Monthly, has described himself as being both an introvert (although it seems that Garrison Keillor may have gotten there first with his essay "Shy Rights: Why Not Pretty Soon?") and an apatheist (basically defined as one who isn't really sure whether God exists or not, and doesn't much care either way). Neither of those groups could probably attract enough members to qualify as a sect and I'm pretty sure Rauch (who has also been called "the most formidable and persuasive voice for same-sex marriage" by conservative writer Peter H. Wehner) wouldn't want them to. Apsect* (for aspect*) was found 40 times in OhioLINK and almost 300 times in WorldCat. Although I neither know nor, frankly, care how many of these you may find in your own catalog, I would still suggest you take a look. Typos are kind of like introverted gay agnostics: they're not going to come out by themselves, but with a little prodding from you, they just might see the light.

(Jonathan Rauch, from De Succesvolle Introvert website.)

Carol Reid

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dorthy* + Dorothy* (for Dorothy* or Dorthy*)

Children's writer and illustrator Dorothy P. Lathrop was born in Albany, New York, on April 16, 1891. Her sister, Gertrude, was an artist in her own right—a sculptor—and one of Dorothy's biggest fans. The sisters shared a large house in the city, along with an amazing menagerie of animals (often making pets of what other people would consider pests). Dorothy started out as an art teacher at Albany High School, as her father had thought prudent (he doubted anyone could make a living as an artist, especially a woman, although his own wife had been a well-regarded painter), but after two short years, Dorothy quit her job to follow her dream. Highly prolific, she eventually illustrated 38 books, many of which included beautiful color plates, such as those adorning the works of her personal favorite, Walter de la Mare, and most of which are testament to her love for animals. Dorothy Lathrop was awarded the first-ever Caldecott Medal for Animals of the Bible in 1938, and was more recently honored by the contemporary children's author Kate Spohn (who, as a teenager, had tended the Lathrop sisters' garden) in her 2004 book By Word of Mouse. There were 38 hits on today's typo in OhioLINK, and you'll probably find a few in your own catalog as well, but please be mindful of the fact that some people with this name may indeed spell it with just one O.

(Dorothy Lathrop illustration for her own The Lost Merry-Go-Round, 1934, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, April 15, 2011

Frankl* + Frankin* (for Franklin, etc.)

Benjamin Franklin once wrote in his 18th-century annual, Poor Richard's Almanack: "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes." Another thing we can safely assume on Tax Day (if not be entirely certain of) is that we'll be seeing a lot more beautiful blue skies and sunshiny warm weather very soon. On the other hand, "April showers bring May flowers," so you might want to bring your umbrella along when you step outside this month. There were twenty hits in OhioLINK on today's combination typo, only one of which, frankly, was a false once—namely: Senator Mason guilty of flagrant abuse of the government franking privilege. His speech circulated in mutilated form under his frank: remarks of Senator R.F. [Richard Franklin] Pettigrew, in the U.S. Senate, June 5, 1900. Word to the wise: Don't let words like Franklin circulate in mutilated form in your library's catalog.

(Ben Franklin statue in Chicago's Lincoln Park, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Modren* (for Modern*)

The Ren & Stimpy Show debuted on Nickelodeon in August of 1991. The brainchild of Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, it featured the eponymous Ren Höek, a "psychotic chihuahua," and Stimpson J. Cat, a "good-natured, dimwitted" feline. It was produced by Kricfalusi's own animation company, Spümcø, to brilliant effect: it was hip, dark, surreal, and sophisticated. And I loved it. At first. But since it seems nothing this good can ever just be left alone, after two years of valiantly battling Nickelodeon's Standards and Practices department, Kricfalusi lost the fight (in 1992, he was fired by Nickelodeon, who then moved production to their own animation department) and the show promptly went downhill. Still, it was great fun while it lasted. Or as Stimpy would say: "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!" You'll surely make someone happy today if you find some examples of today's typo and make them whole. Modren* (for modern*) occurred 12 times in OhioLINK and over 300 times in WorldCat.

(The Ren & Stimpy Show title card, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Registat* (for Registration, etc.)

Nine months can seem like an eternity to many human mothers-to-be, but elephant mamas carry their little wrinkled ones around for almost two years before giving birth! It must feel like gestating and re-gestating for the old olifant—which, by the way, along with oliphant and olyphant, represent archaic spellings for elephant. We found five examples of Registat* in OhioLINK, and 61 in WorldCat, making it a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list. So where do pregnant elephants register for their baby showers? Backpackyderms 'R' Us?

* Thanks for inspiration today to my friend CD, author of the poem "You Can't Say Don't or Can't to an Elephant."

(Baby Asian elephant with its mother at Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, London, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cermony, etc. (for Ceremony, etc.)

Some ceremonies, such as weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and funerals, are held in a church or other house of worship, but generally one hopes that they wouldn't be too sermon-y. Other types of ceremonies, such as coffee and tea ceremonies, flag ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and the opening of the Olympic games (to name but a few), are largely, if not entirely, secular. There were 16 cases of Cermonies, seven of Cermony, and five of Cermonial in OhioLINK today. You all know the drill, so I'm not going to sermonize here. Just go forth and check your records, dropping that second E in there if needed.

(Chinese tea ceremony, 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chiroprat*, etc. (for Chiropractic, etc.)

Doctors often put them down (the AMA called them members of an "unscientific cult" and boycotted them until losing an antitrust suit in 1987)—but when your back is killing you or you've got a serious pain in the neck, a good chiropractor might be exactly what you need. Daniel David (D. D.) Palmer was the developer of chiropractic and founded the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, in 1896. His son, Bartlett Joshua (B. J.) Palmer, took over running the college in 1904 and was a tireless advocate for its acceptance by both the public and the medical profession. He was helped immeasurably in this work by his wife, Mabel Heath Palmer (known as "The First Lady of Chiropractic"), and their son David. This original form of the practice persists today as "straight chiropractic," considered somewhat woo-woo and controversial by the "mixer" crowd. There were seven cases of Chiroprat* in OhioLINK today, along with two of Chiropa* and one of Chrioprac*. Here's hoping that you'll never need it, but for those of us who do, let's make the proper adjustments to our records and make sure that words like chiropractic and chiropractor are spelled correctly in our catalogs.

(Chiropractic 1st, Holgate Road, United Kingdom, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sculptur (for Sculpture)

On April 8 in 1820, the Venus de Milo was discovered by a peasant on the island of Milos, near Greece. The statue of the goddess Venus (or Aphrodite, to the Greeks) is famous for her missing arms. She was sculpted by Alexandros of Antioch between 130 and 100 BCE. At the time, she would have been painted and adorned with jewellery to appear more lifelike. Sculpture is an easy word to misspell. Today's typo, sculptur, leaves out the final e. In the past, we have also blogged about scultpure, sculture, and scuptur*, so if you missed searching your catalogue for those variations back then, give it a try may find a few errors.

(Photo of the statue from Wikipedia)

Leanne Olson

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Embaras* (for Embarras*)

Don’t be embarrassed if you forget the second R in embarrass – you’re in good company. Embaras* is a moderate probability typo on the Ballard List that occurs over 700 times in WorldCat. This includes errors in French – the verb embarrasser (to embarrass, or to clutter up) also has two Rs in the middle. But keep an eye out for other languages in which the single R may be correct. Embarassada, for example, means pregnant in Catalan, the official language of Andorra – which coincidentally also has two Rs.

(Pregnancy photo from

Leanne Olson

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Expora* (for Explora*)

On this day in 1909, explorer Robert Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole. Rival explorer and former colleague Frederick Cook disputed the claim, stating that he had reached the pole a year earlier, in April 1908. Cook’s claim was subsequently discredited.

However, in the 1980s skeptics wondered whether Peary also made a false claim. His expedition diary gave evidence of navigational mistakes that could mean Peary ended up 50-100km short of the pole. The National Geographic Society validated his claim based on the examination of shadows in photographs and ocean depth measurements, but many see the truth as still uncertain.

Speaking of mistakes…in your own exploration of the catalogue, watch out for expora*, a low probability typo for exploration, exploratory, and other similar words.

(Image of the top of the world from Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Crtic* (for Critic*)

Roger Ebert is one of my favourite film critics. Though he’s been criticized for being inconsistent and for judging popcorn films with the same star system as art films, I give him a lot of credit for being simply hilarious. One of his most famous reviews was for the Rob Reiner film North:
I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
I think those of us who work in cataloguing have probably felt the same way about typos at some point. When you fix the high probability typo crtic*, watch out for other languages -- crtice appears to be a word in some Slavic languages, and there may be more variations out there.

(Photo of Ebert from

Leanne Olson

Monday, April 4, 2011

Boliva (for Bolivia)

Having a rough Monday? This little fellow wants to cheer you up. See more photos of this maned wolf and his sister on the Houston Zoo’s website.

The puppies Dora and Diego were born on December 30. Sadly, these beautiful wolves are endangered and tend to breed poorly in captivity, for reasons unknown. The Huston Zoo is studying their wolves to better understand the conditions they need in the wild.

Maned wolves are native to the grasslands, savannahs and prairies of South America. Bolvia is a high probability typo for Bolivia, where you might find maned wolves in their natural habitat.

Leanne Olson

Friday, April 1, 2011

Eurpe* (for European, etc.)

Urination, which is also known, per Wikipedia, as "micturition, voiding, peeing, weeing, pissing, and more rarely, emiction," is a subject rife for comedy among the kindergarten set. Kids love jokes about poop and pee, as well as the all-consuming underpants. In fact, the Japanese have imagined their current nuclear disaster as one featuring exactly this sort of waste as a way of explaining things to their children. Yesterday, I happened to be trading puerile witticisms with a coworker and offered up this one, heard on a popular sitcom a few years back: "If you're American in the kitchen, what are you in the bathroom?" Answer: European! And no matter where you are, if you prove to be just a little too fond of this kind of "bathroom humor," it's altogether possible that people will say "urine love." Eurpe* was found ten times in OhioLINK and over 500 times in WorldCat. Making a typo is a natural human function. But don't let this one litter your catalog for too long—when ya gotta go, ya gotta go!

(Manneken Pis, a famous Brussels landmark designed by Jerome Duquesnoy in the early 1600s, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid