John De Leon was a graduate student in engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, and he kept finding typographical errors in his textbooks. “Who hasn’t?” you academics might be thinking to yourselves. Well, De Leon — and colleagues Hiro Sasaki, Brandon Kim and Albert Ko — decided to do something about it. After contacting a few publishers to report the errors they were finding, they discovered that most publishers have no systematic way to collect error reports from readers. The inspiration for Typoze.com was in place.
Unlike Show Me the Errors at the Missourian, Typoze isn’t attached to any one publisher, and the errors that are reported there aren’t automatically corrected (or rejected). Instead, it’s a surrogate for missing error reporting systems at publishers’ websites, and it’s a social network with its own rewards. As a Typoze user, you can find any published book in Typoze’s Google Books-powered database, you report the error you found, you can comment on other users’ reports, and you can get feedback on your own. Over time, you build an official ranking and social capital within the community.
That last bit might be a nice feature to add to Show Me the Errors. Is there a way we could have on site an automated ranking that creates a bit of a horse race for users? Is there a way readers could report the errors on the site so that other readers could see them, and we could comment there too? It could then become a real community and a shared learning experience.