Saturday, July 28, 2007

Spelling Conundrum

I'm working on new links today (duh). Once again I have run across a web site with "geneaology" in the title. I often find misspellings in the title of a web site, or within the description. Obviously, those are the two spots I focus on most when I'm setting up a new link. When I find "geneology" or "geneaology" or "ancestory" I find myself with a conundrum.

Do I e-mail the owner and tell them that they've misspelled the word? That would be the nice and polite thing to do. But the next question that I ask myself is this: if they misspell the name of our hobby what other errors might appear within the information on their site? It seems logical to me that someone who makes that spelling error would also make other errors. They may not be careful with details. They might not be as thorough in the research as they should be. So, if I don't tell them about the spelling error and I set up the link as they titled their own site or with the description as they wrote it—spelling errors and all—I leave a clue in the link to people who will visit the web site.

When you visit a site with these misspellings in place you should think twice about the data you find on the site. Use the information as a clue, but don't rely on it to be 100% accurate. Of course, you really shouldn't rely on any information as 100% accurate until you get to the original source of the material, whether there are spelling errors or not.

So, if you find a link with misspelled words on Cyndi's List, don't immediately think that it was an error on my part. First, follow the link and visit the site to see if maybe the misspellings were found there originally. If the errors aren't on the site, then be sure to let me know and I'll fix my links.

2 comments:

Aiko Timmer said...

Googling on "genealogy" results in about 36,000,000 hits. The word "geneology" has 3,100,00 hits (that's about 10% !)

Next to the fact that it may be a misspelling you might also consider the fact that the submitter's native language is not English and that he/she is just trying hard to do it right.

Cheers,
Aiko

Cyndi Howells said...

Aiko - that is certainly a good point and I do pay attention to that with all the links I set up. However, in this example the site I was looking at was based in the United Kingdom, entirely in English.