Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Experein* (for Experien*)

Are you experienced? My own experience as a seeker of typos has been a very enlightening one. In short, I've discovered that typographical errors respect no boundaries. Whether they turn up on a hand-lettered greengrocer's sign or official inscription carved in stone, typos, it seems, are everywhere. And the more ironic they are—appearing, for example, in conjunction with cultural institutions or educational organizations—the better. They're also more egregious the more they cost to make (and fix). For instance, those on professionally made signage or publications are worth more than the kind that can simply be erased, crossed out, or backspaced over. The other day on the bus ride home, I glimpsed a sign out the window for something called the New Birth Christian Fellowship Center that read: "Life Changing Expereince." I wouldn't exactly say my life was changed by the experience, but it definitely made my day. This one reminds me a bit of a misspelling an otherwise bright young relative made not too long ago: he spelled the word atheist athiest. (I'm athy, you're athier, he's athiest!) We found seven cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 249 in WorldCat. As experienced catalogers and great typo hunters yourselves, you will undoubtedly find a few of these in your own databases too. Enjoy the experience.

(Album cover for the U.S. version of Are You Experienced by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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