David Whelan

Explorations with information and technology.

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Latest from David Whelan

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Our family recently experienced one of those things that is stressful in the moment but funny after the fact. No threat to life or reputation, just something you wished you could avoid. As we were discussing it afterwards, one of the kids parroted back to me some pearls of wisdom that I’m sure I’d said. It
Continue Reading I Can’t Get No

Reading Time: 6 minutes
I had a lot of fun at the AALL annual meeting in Boston. It’s making me rethink professional conference attendance. Not necessarily not going, but having to be more deliberate to get what I want out of it. Last year, I found the numbers of people a bit much, and figured it was post-pandemic. But
Continue Reading You Are Too Kind

Reading Time: 6 minutes
I have been reading The Big Con, a book that looks at large consulting organizations and their impact on their clients, especially public ones like government. I’ve long been skeptical about how consulting fits into business operations, libraries or otherwise. This book spoke to me, reinforcing my concerns about expertise and knowledge loss, and especially hollowing
Continue Reading The Place for Expertise

Reading Time: 7 minutes
I like to think I’m a mid-career law librarian but, if I’m frank, it may be that I’m already at the end of my career based on my position. We have shallow organizational hierarchies and becoming a director is just a couple of hops up the chain from an entry level role. That’s not to say
Continue Reading Lateral Leadership

Reading Time: 6 minutes
It is a time that reminds us that information consumption changes. The tools we use, the expectations we have. I think, like perhaps many other people, I had gotten accustomed to the stability of platforms and expectations for what I would (and would not) find on them. Now that is changing, and I’m finding myself leaning
Continue Reading The Centrality of RSS

Reading Time: 12 minutes
Our law library has a supporting foundation—like a friends of the library group—that has a website. Like so many websites, it’s mostly brochureware. They had a change in their board composition last year and lost the person doing the web work and so I volunteered. It led to me migrating the website. Here’s some of
Continue Reading Shift a Foundation

Reading Time: 8 minutes
I’m a dog person. I can abide cats but one of only two times I was in an emergency room was cat dander related. So I keep at literal arms distance. At the moment, I’m not with our family dog. I go across the street to the local dog park, where I can see all varieties
Continue Reading Paved Over Paradise

Reading Time: 7 minutes
It is hard to know whether your family is like other families. We all make different choices. Due to my technology curiosity, our family settled on centrally shared network services. As our kids grew and we collected more digital data—music, photos, documents about them and pets—it became something I thought about more and more. By 2016,
Continue Reading A Closer Look At Securing A New NAS

Reading Time: 6 minutes
I am working on my communication: when to speak up and when to shut up. I can get a message across and communicate information. But I know that there are times that I could be more…politic, shall we say…when I am communicating. One of the things I find challenging is feeling as though the wrong lesson
Continue Reading Learn the Wrong Lesson

Reading Time: 7 minutes
I had some small hopes that generative AI—like Google Glasses and Facebook Smart Glasses—would be a flash in the pan. It still might be. But Microsoft and Google have now embedded it into their search and so it has become inescapable from an information searching perspective. It was interesting to me, then, to see a use
Continue Reading Tech When Tech Is Needed

Reading Time: 10 minutes
I work in a service profession. There’s nothing worse than when something gets in the way of the customer being served. Sometimes it’s within our control to remedy and sometimes it’s not. Law libraries intermediate most of our electronic materials, so if a legal information provider fails to function, we don’t really have much to fall
Continue Reading It’s a You Problem