Typos in library catalogs

Typos and spelling errors are prevalent in library catalogs and can render materials virtually irretrievable. A record with a typo in the title field can make it impossible for both staff and patrons to locate that record via your online catalog.  Unfortunately, it’s not really feasible to run a spell-check program against your entire catalog.  Moreover, some typos and misspellings are intentional and should be transcribed as they are found on the item.  But it is probable that most typos in your catalog are the result of poor data entry practices.

A fairly easy and inexpensive way to clean up catalog typos is to use lists of commonly misspelled words. Other librarians have already paved the way for this by compiling lists of typos they’ve found in their own catalogs.  A great site for such lists is available at http://www.terryballard.org/typos/typoscomplete.html.

Another helpful site is the Typo of the Day for Librarians blog (available http://librarytypos.blogspot.com/).

list screen shot

You’ll likely be surprised at how many typos you find once you start looking for them! Taking the time to correct them will render your catalog more efficient and will save headaches for your end users in the future.