David Whelan

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When we train legal researchers, we are addressing an information literacy need. Because of the way legal research training tends to be provided, we end up repeating this literacy approach. But if, as I’ve blogged about before, the issue isn’t literacy but experience, then we’re not really getting those we train to where they need to be. I’m still stuck, though, on how to extend that legal research arc. I am not underestimating the…
One of my roles is to manage the Great Library. Another is to manage our corporate records and archives team. As you might imagine, there is some substantial overlap in skill sets between the two teams. But there are substantial differences in service delivery that mean that they have very different needs. We talked about one of those the other day: how to acquire a preservation system that will enable us to fulfill the 70-year…
There is a tension in law library service between the physical core location and extending service outwards. As we create services that extend our reach, we also need to make sure the experience is a good one. When a local library resource broke down, it made me wonder about the impact on both service and perception that this sort of outage has on libraries.   A physical law library – whether focused on physical formats…
Persistent URLs (PURLs) were the topic of an early career academic interview presentation I gave. It went pretty well and so did the interview. Persistency of information has remained something I’m interested in. The #AALL19 session on web archives was a good update on some tools that are out there. I was particularly taken with HarvardLaw’s perma.cc and the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine browser tool. It’s got me rethinking how I do links…
I’ve long been a fan of deep linking. If you can provide a lawyer or researcher a direct link to a resource within a larger database, you do two things. First, you bypass what is often very poor user interface design. Second, you eliminate the need to understand the terms of art that layer legal information finding. Deep links to a resource can be pretty easy. Deep links using search need some real care to…
Across from the Washington Convention Center, there is an old Carnegie library building. It was converted into the Apple Carnegie Library and one of its goals is to help people “[c]ome together and learn how to do more with the products you love ….” As I commented on Twitter, what if law libraries were all about just pushing commercial products? The more I thought about it, the less distinct the difference was between many…
It cracks me up no-end to have to explain to my kids that I was on an innovation tournament judges’ panel at the AALL annual meeting. As I’ve said before, innovation is often in the eye of the beholder but it’s not a word they would probably use for me (although they do see me as a tinkerer and crafter!) The judges had a rubric to base our assessment on but there’s still a subjective…
I’m freshly returned from the American Association of Law Libraries annual meeting, full of ideas and questions. I’ll touch on the innovation panel on which I was a judge later but first I want to return to value. ROI. Are we still equating marketing and communication with value measurements?   If – and I’m not sure this is entirely settled – law libraries only exist so long as they can justify their existence, I’m still…
The malware / ransomware epidemic continues and it has been surprising to see courts unable to quickly recover from attacks. Philadelphia’s state courts were offline for weeks, causing lawyers to resort to paper-and-courier filing. Georgia’s state court servers were attacked and offline for about 2 weeks in July. What plans does your law library have to recover from this sort of attack? Philadelphia’s outage ended July 1, Georgia’s on July 15. I am…
Uff da. What else can you say after you read this fellow’s account of what happens after his phone number is stolen? The domino effect it causes as he loses control of his online communication, social media, and bank accounts is both incredible and yet completely plausible for many people. I recently used a similar technique (Chrome sync’d passwords) to bypass my brother’s password manager. As I read the comments, these were my…