Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service   Sept. 2003
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

What's new -- Amy Crowder   Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk

Great Weather, Great Seafood, and Great Information
State Law Librarian Jane Colwin recently attended the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting in Seattle. In addition to enjoying the great weather and the wonderful seafood, Jane participated in numerous informative meetings and programs.

One meeting gave Jane an opportunity to network with other State Law Librarians. Jane found that, while all are concerned about state budget cuts, their libraries, like the Wisconsin State Law Library, are also actively involved in developing services for pro se users, improving their own and their court's websites, and providing web-based access to briefs. Jane also attended programs on copyright, virtual reference service, developing tribal law collections, decision-making options for participatory management, and envisioning the future teaching role of librarians as their students--judges, lawyers, and law students--become more technologically sophisticated. WSLL has several of these programs on CD-ROM and has made them available for circulation to interested users.

Jane found the opportunity to meet and network with other law librarians from federal, state, and county agencies and courts, private law firms and corporations, and law schools to be a refreshing and rewarding experience.

Law Clerk Orientations
Heidi Yelk, Reference/Electronic Services Librarian, led a library orientation session for the new Supreme Court law clerks on August 4th. The clerks were given a guided tour of the Library and were introduced to the Library's services and resources. Heidi also demonstrated the Library’s website and online catalog.

On August 12th, the Library hosted a day long orientation session for seven new and two returning Court of Appeals law clerks. During the morning, the clerks were introduced to the Library's services and resources. Connie Von Der Heide, Reference/Outreach Services Librarian, showed them the Library's website and demonstrated some of its resources including the online catalog and LegalTrac, the Library's law review index. Connie also provided instruction on the use of Loislaw on CD-ROM, and Heidi Yelk discussed using Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw for court-related research. A tour of the Library followed. For the remainder of the day, Court of Appeals Chief Staff Attorney Peg Carlson and District II Staff Attorney Ron Hofer instructed the clerks on legal writing and appellate procedure.

Over 300 Titles
Thanks to your generous donations, the Prose & Cons Collection has passed the 300-title mark! Recent additions include The Arraignment, Adam's Rib, Cool Hand Luke, I Am Sam, Legally Blonde, Lost Light, Milwaukee Summers Can Be Deadly, and Monster's Ball. If your bookshelves are starting to sag, donate your legal fiction books, audio books or movies to the Library. And remember to browse the collection when you want something light to read or watch.

 

Spyware: Is your computer telling tales?
Have you ever downloaded a “free”application from the Internet, such as a file sharing program, and soon afterwards found your computer besieged by pop-up ads or disruptive error messages? If so, you may have inadvertently installed spyware on your computer.

Spyware is described as “software or hardware installed on a computer without the user's knowledge which gathers information about that user for later retrieval by whomever controls the spyware” (definition from SpywareInfo). Spyware is sometimes bundled with freeware or shareware programs as a means to make money.

Advertising companies enter into agreements with freeware and shareware programmers to include this software which then tracks your Internet use. In some cases the software causes scores of pop-up ads to display on your computer. In others, the software sends reports back to the advertiser with information about you and your Internet use.

Related problems include browser hijacking and disabling the browser’s Back button. In most cases the spyware causes noticeable disruption by monopolizing your computer. This type of spyware is commonly called adware.

Another type of spyware is more sinister and includes programs such as keyloggers that are able to track a computer user’s every keystroke. In some cases, disclosure of the spyware component of a bundled software package is included in the licensing agreement of the freeware or shareware. But who reads the licensing agreement? Most users breeze by this fine print with a simple click of the mouse.

What can you do if you suspect that spyware resides on your computer? There are many resources on the Internet devoted to combating spyware. One of the best is Mike Healan’s website, SpywareInfo. Healan has assembled a host of resources to help Internet users educate themselves about spyware and eradicate the software from their computers. SpywareInfo includes links to free and fee-based software that can be used to detect and remove spyware. The website also provides forums and chat rooms where you can post questions and exchange information.

Another helpful site is Spybot Search and Destroy, which includes a download of the free Spybot Search and Destroy program, a PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award winner. Finally, Spychecker.com and Spyware-Guide.com provide links to software and other tools, such as a list of known spyware programs. See also Spyware-Guide.com’s article How to Detect Spies.

Send your suggestions for future legal research Tech Tips to the editor.

 
WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp Learn @ The Law Library

Does your current home page reflect your research needs?
If you need quick access to the Wisconsin Statutes, Administrative Code, court opinions and records, agency decisions, local ordinances, WI Blue Book, the State Bar web site and more, consider making Wisconsin Law your home page. ...directions for changing your home page.

Need a copy of an official U.S. Supreme Court opinion?
U.S. Reports v. 502, 1991- are now online. No search features are provided; you must scroll through the volume or use the Acrobat Find feature. Also available is an informative review of the stages prior to the issuance of a bound volume. If you need to search for federal court opinions, you might start with sites listed on our Federal Law page.

Looking for someone?
Numerous public record databases as well as a variety of directories are available on the Internet. When trying to find information about a person, you might start by visiting our Public Records page. When looking for phone numbers or addresses, try our Directories page. If the person is deceased, visit our section Genealogy, Cemetery Records, Obituaries.

Need a local or national newspaper article?
Free full-text articles are available to Wisconsin residents. Search hundreds of newspapers at one time or limit your search to just Wisconsin newspapers. Access BadgerLink or read our previous newsletter article about BadgerLink.

Writing a speech?
Find quotations, access a variety of dictionaries, and listen to or read thousands of famous speeches to help in your preparation.

Look it up!
Who gave over $200 to a federal election campaign in your neighborhood? What's the average adjusted gross income (& other income tax statistics) for your zip code? What are all the 3-digit prefixes for Madison phone numbers? What zip codes indicate Door County? Find answers to these and many more questions at MelissaData.

Just for Fun
Find out how popular your name is. Decide whether to read a book by reading its first chapter. Access plot summaries for foreign films. Introduce your child to KidsClick, a topical approach to the web designed especially for children.

Hands-On Legal Research Classes
Here is the fall schedule of WSLL’s popular hands-on legal research classes. All classes are taught by State Law Library Reference staff and meet in the library’s Computer Training Room, equipped with eight student workstations. For course descriptions, registration forms and additional information, please visit our Classes & Tours webpage.

“If they only offered a class about…” Please tell us what additional classes you’d like us to offer! Submit your suggestions to Heidi Yelk, Reference/Electronic Services Librarian.

Wednesday, September 10, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
WSLL Wednesday Topic: The Wisconsin Court System Website: What’s On It For Me?
Explore and navigate the many useful resources on the court’s site. Learn how to find Supreme Court & Court of Appeals opinions, information for jurors and court users, forms, trial and appellate court records, and links to various court administrative offices and programs, including information for the general public and the NEW Self-Help Center. This is a FREE class.

Thursday, September 25, 8:30-Noon
Class: Wisconsin Legal Research in a Nutshell

Wednesday, October 1, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
WSLL Wednesday Topic: WSLL Web Tour

Thursday, October 23, 8:30-10:00 a.m.
Class: Internet Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, November 5, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
WSLL Wednesday Topic: Wisconsin Briefs Online

Wednesday, November 19, 8:30 a.m. – Noon
Class: Using Wisconsin Legal Resources on the Internet

Wednesday, December 3, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
WSLL Wednesday Topic: Help! I Need a Law Review Article

Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
WSLL Wednesday Topic: Using Loislaw.com at the State Law Library – How Does It Work?

Web-based Legal Research Guides
For online help in using specific resources or doing research in a particular area, check out the links on our Legal Research Guides page.

Odds 'n' Endings -- Connie Von Der Heide

Notables for September

Sept. 1 – Labor Day. Learn more about it at the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s History of Labor Day page .

Sept. 17 – Citizenship Day / Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitution was completed, signed and approved by the Federal Constitutional Convention, 1787.

Sept. 21 – Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1981.

Sept. 21 – “Perry Mason” TV show premiered, 1957.

September is also Be Kind to Editors & Writers Month! :-)

School is In, Buses are Out
Another school year is starting, so buses are back on the road. For a refresher on those particular rules of the road, see both text and pictures on page 25 of the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation’s Wisconsin Motorist’s Handbook.

Everything in Moderation…including Technology
A recent study found that spending five hours or more per day in front of a computer increased a person’s risk of depression, insomnia and other mental-health-related diseases. And the chief solutions officer at Yahoo! has developed his own theory about technology overload, which he calls “New Economy Depression Syndrome.” Results of a scientific test of his theory are due out Labor Day weekend. Learn more about it from this recent Seattle Times article and from this posting on eLawyerBlog .

Ask a Librarian:  800-322-9755; 608-267-9696 (In Madison); wsll.ref@wicourts.gov
Library Hours/Locations:  WSLL (WI State Law Library), DCLL (Dane Co. Law Library), MLRC (Milwaukee Legal Resource Center)
Visit Our Website: http://wilawlibrary.gov

Editor:
Connie Von Der Heide 608-267-2202 Comments welcome!