Spell Words and Names Correctly and Avoid Confusion

In an effort to make your images easy to find it's tempting to include common misspellings, but that's the start of a slippery slope.

The basic question you have to ask yourself is where does it end? Start with adding tryangle to triangle and pretty soon you'll be putting in sheeep as well as sheep and your keywording field will contain thousands of words, most of them spelled wrong.

There is a school of thought that aside from ordinary words, people's names can carry alternatives. But how do you get on when there are lots of common misconceptions about how a person's name is spelled? Take Hilton Hotel heiress and sometime celebrity Nicky Hilton. We've seen her name spelled by photographers in several different ways - Nicki, Nikki, Niki and Nikky to name the most common ones. Once you start including all those misspelling in your keywords how will researchers know what the right spelling is?

Our strong advice is to stick to the official spellings as much as possible because that will give you consistency. If researchers don't know how to spell triangle, they can go to a dictionary. If they don't know how to spell Nicky then they can look her up on Wikipedia.

Just as importantly, keeping control of your misspellings is a life's work. Whilst a misspelling dictionary doesn't exist you would need to maintain one, update it constantly and make sure all your keyworders/caption writers were aware of its intricacies.

The only exceptions to these rules are words where there are UK and US spellings, such as theatre and theater, or where someone's name has changed due to marriage or they are so widely known by an unofficial name that it would be ridiculous to only use their official title. Throughout much of her life, people knew Diana, Princess of Wales as Princess Diana. That wasn't her official name, but that's what most people called her.