A befuddling typo

The names have been omitted to protect the innocent . . .

Having done my share of writing and publishing, I know how readily typos can creep into a work. As a writer you simply have to resign yourself to them. They will occur no matter how often you proof. But every now and then you come across a typo that leaves you scratching your head, asking "How in the world did this happen?" Today I came across just such a typo, and this is its story.

It was a dark and story night . . . [JK]

I was reading an essay in an edited collection, and in this particular essay the footnote numbers in the text did not match the footnote numbers at the bottom of the page. They were off by a differential of 90, that is, the text indicated footnote 91 but the bottom of the page had footnote 1, the text had 92 but the bottom of the page had 2, etc. This was consistent throughout the entire article. I spot-checked other essays and none exhibited this problem. As I was digging around to figure out what happened, I noticed that the prior essay had 90 footnotes. Somehow the footnotes in the text of the essay I was reading were contiguous with the prior one, but the footnotes at the bottom of the page were not. Put another way, the footnotes at the bottom of the page had restarted the numbering with the beginning of a new chapter while the ones in the text had not.

With the little I know about the actual editing and publishing process, it's hard to imagine how this situation could arise. I could understand if the footnote numbers in both places, text and bottom of page, were off but still the same numbers, but for them to be different numbers and somehow connected to the prior chapter, boggles the mind.

If you've read this far, you are likely an academic like myself. If you haven't, you're better off!