David Whelan

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Latest from David Whelan

I use pilot holes when I need to put a screw into wood. The adjective pilot is used to suggest that something is a trial or test. In my experience, it is often used as a way to start something that isn’t a test – a pilot project – but that won’t move forward if the project requires a full commitment. That was also my reaction when I read about two Canadian public libraries who…
I’d been driving for nearly 16 hours when the snow started. I’d taken some breaks but I knew now it was time to find a hotel. I came off the highway at the next town and found a cheap motel. It was fortuituous, because that’s where I ran into the Oops towel. No matter how small your law library and how limited your resources, you can find little ways to make the experience better. I…
Microsoft Edge has a new engine. Google’s Chrome has long been the leading web browser and Microsoft’s approach has staggered over the years. We all know not to use Internet Explorer, right? Edge came with Windows 10 and brought security and some innovation. But in the end, Microsoft decided to adopt the open-source Chromium browser engine to power Edge into the future. It’s arrived and it’s worth a look. It is probably worth a…
It all started with a phone call. A web developer I know was running a utility over links on corporate web sites. A corporate subsidiary was returning a bunch of really unusual links, lots of them. He asked what I thought was going on. When I logged into the WordPress dashboard for the site, it became clear. The site had been hacked. You couldn’t tell by just looking at the web site. It wasn’t defaced.…
Not to get all existential, but what does it mean when we say “legal research”? One of my favorite questions in the American Bar Association’s annual Legal Technology Survey Report was about how much time they spent conducting legal research. It gave a sense of about how much time (~20%) of a lawyer’s work focused on a function important to law libraries. But I have always felt that legal research doesn’t necessarily mean the same…
Books are dead. Blogging is dead. Bookstores are dead. Law reporters are dead. And yet. This is another blog post, nestled among many that look at information formats and delivery. There is a fashionable declarative to foretell death. It’s worth avoiding. There are at least two reasons for this, I think. If you’re a law library leader, they are two things to avoid. The first involves making positional statements gain political support or traction but…
I am a delayed follower of Critical Role, a live Dungeons and Dragons production. Delayed both in that I started following Campaign 2 and that I never watch it live (past my bedtime). But I’ve been fascinated with the paraphernalia they use: dice bags, rolling boxes, etc. I decided I would turn my hand to making a dice box as a present. There are plenty of really nice dice boxes you can purchase. I…
As part of the sandwich generation, I’m going to help my parents navigate changes to their internet and phone plans. Just like a library, an individual’s consumption of information changes over time. At first, my answers to their questions tend to be around finding a better version (read=price) of what they already had. Better equaling cheaper or broader coverage or some other feature. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized…
Have you ever dropped into a web site – could be a legal research database or some other online information resource – and wondered where you were? Obviously, on the internet. But was there any other information to give you context for how the page you were looking at fit into the bigger picture? I was thinking about that on our commuter train recently, when it became clear that “locomotive” has more than one meaning.…
I have given a presentation on lawyer use of technology and risks related to confidentiality for over 10 years, twice a year. The audience is lawyers new to Ontario and it’s amazing how consistent the questions and concerns are, year to year. In the past, I’ve posted about my presentation but I find the questions far more interesting to look at. The paper I’ve been handing out for the last 2 sessions is here.…