Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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WSLL @ Your Service March 2015

What's New

DCLRC Hosts State Agency Librarians - Bob Lopez

On Feb. 18, the Dane County Legal Resource Center hosted the State Agency Librarians Brown Bag Lunch, a monthly assembly of librarians who convene at different state agency libraries throughout the year. This gathering is a unique opportunity to discuss new initiatives and issues impacting our libraries' services in a friendly forum.

Ten attendees met in the Dane County Circuit Courthouse Jury Assembly Room. After discussing such topics as the changing educational landscape for librarians and the new Dept. of Transportation Building, I provided the group with a tour of the DCLRC and Courthouse. Wayne Pfister, Dane County Court Records Manger, showed us a "behind-the-scenes" view of the Probate Office, Clerk of Courts, and Records Center. In Dane County, the Records Center holds a vast on-site collection of 264,000 case files, each color coded by year and case type, and meticulously organized. There are also more than 6,000 microfilms on hand with some records dating back to the late 1800's. The tour ended on the fourth floor of the Courthouse by the rooftop garden and stunning views of downtown Madison, Lake Monona, and the Capitol. We concluded with a discussion about the history and design of the "new" building, namely the markedly improved security of its overall layout.

Upcoming Classes - Lisa Winkler

Have you had a chance to explore our recently redesigned website on your own? Sign up for one of our March WSLL Web Tour classes and let us show you all of the best features!

CLE in Wisconsin

New WSLL Website Tour

Our award-winning website is now even better! With more than 450 legal topics, a county legal resource database, and quick links to state and federal primary law and court forms, the WSLL website continues to be a one-stop shop for easily finding trustworthy legal sources online. Learn how to access remote services such as Index to Legal Periodicals and HeinOnline, navigate the library's catalog, watch video tutorials, and find news about library events and more. This class is free and can be taken for 1 CLE credit.

Wednesday, March 11, Noon - 1 PM
Location: Milwaukee Public Library, Meeting Room 1

Wednesday March 25, Noon - 1 PM
Location: State Law Library Training Room

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Start Here: A Guide to State Law Library Services, Part 1 - Lisa Winkler


The Wisconsin State Law Library exists to serve the legal information needs of the officers and employees of this state, attorneys, and the public by providing the highest quality of professional expertise in the selection, maintenance, and use of materials, information and technology in order to facilitate equal access to the law. To carry out our mission, we offer a wide array of services.


Under contractual arrangements with Milwaukee and Dane Counties, the State Law Library manages the Milwaukee and Dane County Legal Resource Centers (MLRC & DCLRC). These libraries are conveniently located in each county's courthouse. Small but bustling, our county branches provide a wide array of reference and information services to judges and court staff, county employees, attorneys, and self-represented litigants. Both maintain core print collections of primary and secondary Wisconsin resources and have public computers with access to WestlawNext, Books Unbound (State Bar of Wisconsin's database), HeinOnline, and Index to Legal Periodicals.

WSLL Website

The WSLL website is a virtual one stop shop for access to authoritative sources of legal and government information. The Legal Topics page alone contains thousands of links arranged in over 450 different topics, from Abandoned Property to Zoning Law. The Wisconsin Law page provides access to free, reliable sources of primary law such as statutes & administrative code, Supreme Court & Court of Appeals opinions, Attorney General Opinions, and local ordinances. You will also find federal law, tribal law and laws of other states. Search the library catalog, which includes records for print materials at all three of our libraries. Use our databases for journal and newspaper articles, county legal resources database, and much, much more to find what you are looking for faster, all from one website.

Electronic Legal Research Tools

Access subscription legal research tools without a charge from our public computers. We offer WestlawNext, Index to Legal Periodicals, HeinOnline, LLMC Digital, and League of Wisconsin Municipalities opinions and manuals at each of our library locations.

Research Assistance

Whether you need a specific piece of information or some guidance in finding materials in the library or navigating a legal research website, our reference staff will do their best to help you. Anyone may use our general reference service, available in person as well as by email, phone, fax, and mail. (Please note that library staff cannot give legal advice.) For judges and attorneys, we also offer case law and citator research services.

Legal Research Classes

WSLL offers free and fee-based classes covering basic legal research procedures as well as specialized tools and databases. Most classes are held in WSLL's computer training room, equipped with eight computers for hands-on learning. Others are presented in a demonstration or lecture format in our Rare Book Room, and we now offer some classes in webinar format. To view the current class schedule, visit our Classes page.

MLRC also offers legal research classes in the training room of the nearby Milwaukee Public Library. Upcoming classes in Milwaukee will also be listed on our Classes page.

Learning Center

Use our Start Here library guides to find print resources in our library on certain topics, watch video tutorials on library resources, and download helpful legal research guides at any time by visiting our Learning Center.

Order a Document

Our staff can track down and deliver all types of legal information - whether it's a copy of a case, an article, a book, a government publication, or some other print or electronic document from our own collections or elsewhere. If it's published, printed, posted, recorded, or videotaped, we can probably locate it for you. Delivery options include email, fax, mail, UPS, and FedEx. Visit our Order a Document page for more information.

Room Rentals

Are you in need of a convenient place in downtown Madison to hold a meeting or training session for your staff, legal professional organization, or client? WSLL has a variety of rooms available for hourly rental. To see photos of each room and read the rental policy, please visit our Room Rental page.

After Hours Service

Wisconsin-licensed attorneys who would like to use the Wisconsin State Law Library during evenings, weekends, or holidays may subscribe to our After Hours Service. This convenient service allows subscribers to access the library from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. For complete details and subscription information, please visit our After Hours Service page. Wisconsin judges who wish to access WSLL outside regular hours may place a request directly with Tammy Keller, WSLL Program Assistant.

Library Tours & Orientations

Interested in a firsthand look at one of our libraries for yourself, your law office staff, or an organization to which you belong? To schedule a tour of WSLL, please contact Tammy Keller, program assistant, at 608-261-7553 or Tammy.Keller@wicourts.gov. To schedule a visit to the Milwaukee or Dane County Legal Resource Center, please contact Lynne Gehrke, MLRC Librarian or Bob Lopez, DCLRC Librarian.

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This Just In - Pete Boll

Updated! Social Security Disability Practice, 2014 revision 22, by Thomas E. Bush.
James Publishing, 2014
WSLL Call # KF 3649 .B87

All new, updated content also brings a change in this book's format from a one volume loose leaf binder to a two volume soft cover treatise. Bush has organized his analysis around the "Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process" which provides the framework for most arguments to the Social Security Administration. This latest revision includes updates to information on initial client contact, analysis of chronic fatigue syndrome as a medical impairment, as well as video hearings and telephone testimony by expert witnesses. Also included are many medical assessment forms specific to a variety of common, potentially disabling, diseases and medical conditions.

New Edition! Clark on Surveying and Boundaries, 8th edition, by Walter J. Robillard.
LexisNexis Matthew Bender, 2014
WSLL Call # KF 683 .C541

This new edition crosses over from a bound volume with a standalone supplement to a loose leaf binder. For years attorneys and surveyors have used this classic treatise to solve complex boundary disputes involving original surveys or lost or obliterated corners. The new 8th edition includes updates to case law and statutes on such topics as: Rights and interests in land, Public land surveys, Land surveys in the original colonies, and Subdivision of townships.

New Titles RSS Feed
See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

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Tech Tip - Heidi Yelk

Search Within A Website With Firefox

In the last Tech Tip, we talked about search engine management in Firefox. This month, I'd like to suggest another enhancement to Firefox search: Search Site 5.1. Just as the name implies, this Firefox extension allows searchers to search within a website, targeting only content on that site. This can be useful if the site does not include its own search box. To install Search Site 5.1, simply visit the Add On page and click the green "Add to Firefox" button then "install now." You will have to restart Firefox after the installation for it to take effect.

Once installed, the extension displays when search terms are entered into the search box. You will notice a green magnifying glass now appears next to the search arrow, giving you the option to search just the site you are on.

search site 5.1 screenshot

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WSLL Recommends: Mental Disability Law Civil and Criminal

mental disability law civil and criminal covers

Mental Disability Law Civil and Criminal (2d ed.) is a 5-volume award winning treatise by prolific author Michael L. Perlin, Professor of Law, Emeritus. This set covers many areas of the law involving mental illness. Virtually every chapter contains a convenient checklist dealing with the chapter's topical considerations of litigation, procedure, and/or statutory provisions.

After a brief discussion of the development and historical context of mental disability law, the first volume focuses on involuntary civil commitments, including the role of counsel and procedural rights. The second volume revolves around institutional rights, from the right to treatment to the right to refuse treatment, and beyond.

Perlin then moves on to community rights in the third volume. The analysis includes the right to community treatment, deinstitutionalization, and homelessness. There are also chapters on federal statutory rights, state constitutional law, and tort law (focusing on persons with mental disabilities as plaintiffs or "third parties").

Volume four is dedicated to criminal incompetency. There are chapters focused on incompetency to stand trial, the insanity defense, sentencing, and the death penalty, as well as the criminal trial process and how it relates to mental disability. The fifth and shortest volume contains unique content. Among references to the first edition of this title, you can find reprinted historical court orders, pleadings, documents, and court forms.

On the whole, the set is a valuable resource for legal practitioners dealing with the various aspects of mental disability law. Each hard bound volume can be individually checked out by eligible borrowers.

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Odds 'n' Endings - Amy Crowder

Luberon red wine and food pairing

Perfect Pairing: Online and Print Versions of State Bar of Wisconsin's CLE Books

Similar to the perfect pairing of food and wine, using a combination of the State Bar's Books Unbound database and print CLE books can provide complementary research results in delightful, and valuable, ways.

Fortunately, the Wisconsin State Law Library subscribes to both Books Unbound and the complete set of brown CLE books. All library users can take advantage of these resources which are used best in tandem. So you may keyword search individual or multiple titles in the database, find a few good results to pinpoint a helpful title, then check out the book and take it with you for more comprehensive study.

Books Unbound is available on the public computers at all three of our library locations. Ask any of our reference librarians for help logging in and getting started searching.

Making it Easier to Login to Remote Services

We're making it easier to login to our online databases, such as HeinOnline, and to your library account to renew a book. The next time you log in, you will see a simpler login form.

login screen

If you need help, please contact our Reference Desk at 608-267-9696.

Need a library card? Complete our library card application online or stop by the library to apply.

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