David Whelan

Explorations with information and technology.

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Latest from David Whelan

Reading Time: 6 minutes
A password is such a simple thing.  People do not need much help to make a password.  The difficulty comes when you want them to make a strong password.  It increases when you ask them to make multiple unique passwords.  As the difficulty increases, you create reluctance because each new, unique, strong password slows down people
Continue Reading It is All About Friction

Reading Time: 7 minutes
I don’t write for money. Some of what I write, here or in publications, may eventually mean I can take a particular job or have a particular experience. This flexibility means that I sometimes say no to opportunities. I’m especially likely to say no if a publisher wants to own what I write. Here’s a recent
Continue Reading Own Your Own Stuff

Reading Time: 14 minutes
As some of you may know, our family’s personal tragedy returned to the media recently. It was a stressful time for me as the family spokesperson. For reasons that I’ll get into below, it was vastly more difficult than it has been before. As I was coming out the other side of the storm, it occurred
Continue Reading Speaking in Crisis

Reading Time: 7 minutes
We have been going through a large amount of staff change since I arrived in San Diego 9 months ago. Perhaps its the result of leaving the fog of the pandemic and sailing out into the sunshine again. People are seeing new horizons. We’ve had some retirements and resignations to go to new work contexts. And
Continue Reading Fit or Purpose

Reading Time: 7 minutes
One of the many reasons I blog is because of the technology. Ever since I first learned html back in the late ’90s, I’ve been fascinated with web publishing. For many years I ran my own web server. Then, four or five years ago, I finally committed to having someone else host it. It takes care
Continue Reading Information Shifts

The last mile of legal information is where law libraries can have the most impact. We can patch the gap between free-to-access information and actually helping people find and stitch together the information they need. Our ability to help people navigate the information – to understand it, rather than just browse and search it – is our strength. And local
Continue Reading The Law Underfoot

Our law library received a financial donation. It was larger than normal but not so large as to involve naming rights or anything. The donating law firm asked that I write a letter recognizing the gift, to the lawyer who asked that it be made. They are retiring after decades and they valued the law library’s role in their professional
Continue Reading The Modest Voice

The latest management challenge is “I can’t see you work, therefore you must not be working.” It’s unfair and reflects weak management, weak leadership, and a failure of trust. Law libraries that are going to successfully adapt to hybrid work are going to need leaders to adapt to ambiguity of oversight. So are law libraries that are not going hybrid.
Continue Reading The Tyranny of the Hour

I don’t trust marketing. I use ad blockers and I rarely interact with media (like video) that incorporates a lot of marketing. It’s … woolly. One of the biggest trust issues I have with marketing is whether it actually does anything. At some level, I realize it does impact people’s choices. But I’d prefer a verifiable way to see
Continue Reading Measured Marketing

Law librarians want their seat at the table. And, when we’re overlooked, we raise the issue. We are professionals with a specific expertise. That expertise comes from experience and exposure, some of which overlaps with other professionals. One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is how to deal with the edges of our expertise and being as mindful
Continue Reading Call a Professional

Our Chief Financial Officer died. It’s a trauma on so many levels. There has been a lot to process. One thing it has highlighted is that there is a lot of our law library’s operation that doesn’t require a library degree. Also, that not a lot of that operation is transparent. Law library directors and those aspiring to lead law
Continue Reading Law Library Continuity