Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Statisic* (for Statistic*)

It has just dawned on me that when I report the incidence of these typos in OhioLINK and WorldCat, I may not be providing you with entirely consistent statistics. It looks like most of the time OhioLINK is set for "all" language records, whereas my WorldCat search is generally limited to English-only. However, I'm not even sure that that's always the case. Yes, statistics can be maddening, as Mark Twain once pointed out ("There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics"), but let's not worry too much about it. (Perhaps a better record to set straight is the one regarding the quote itself, which Twain indeed popularized, but attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. This supposed fact, however, is also in dispute.) These typo stats often vary from day to day, anyway, and by bringing them up at all I am simply trying to give you a sense of their relative probability in your own databases. Statisic* is found 30 times in OhioLINK, and 450 times in WorldCat, making it a typo of "high probability."

(Mark Twain, perhaps assessing his odds in a game of billiards with Louise Paine, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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