Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service August 2019


Welcome to the library - Julie T. Robinson

reference librarian

August is the month of back to school sales and the last of family vacations, but for the Library it's time to welcome new users. This month we welcome a newly elected Justice, new Court of Appeals Judges, Circuit Court Judges, Law Clerks, and staff.

August is also Sextilis, so-called because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC. My college Latin classes taught me that, and gave me a foundation to read and understand legal terminology. Now years later, I find myself using Latin terminology in my daily interactions with Library users:  amicus curiae, certiorari, pro se, etc. The knowledge we draw on to do our jobs can come from many places.

As Librarians, we tend be inquisitive by nature and enjoy the search for information and the origin of words and phrases. Sometimes finding an answer is quick and easy while other times the quest is more difficult. Knowing where to start can be a part of the challenge. If you are reading this newsletter for the first time or follow us monthly, I invite you to visit the State Law Library in person, by phone, or email to use the expertise of our Librarians. We are ready to help you find the answers!

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Wisconsin Briefs database - Angela Humiston

The Wisconsin Briefs Database houses more than 100,000 appellate briefs and appendices filed in cases that were decided from around 1992-2009. The Wisconsin State Law Library scanned and compiled the original database, and partners with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law Library which hosts this database online. You may have noticed that this valuable research tool has been unavailable since the end of May.

The State Law Library has offline access to these files and we have been emailing attorneys and researchers the briefs that they need on-demand. We've talked to 28 library patrons who have requested access to the briefs housed in this database over the past 8 weeks. It has been exciting to see the use that this database continues to get through direct contact with the legal community! We've also seen an increase in use of our older physical collection of briefs this summer. Did you know that we maintain a Wisconsin appellate briefs archive that dates back to the inception of the court in 1839?

Briefs timeline

The UW Law Library is working to transition this database to their Digital Repository webpage. (repository.law.wisc.edu) In the meantime, continue to reach out to the staff at the State Law Library for access to our appellate briefs collection!

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New Books - Kari Zelinka

New Edition!  Marital Property Law & Practice in Wisconsin, 5th edition
Call Number: KFW 2497 .M375

The new fifth edition of Marital Property Law in Wisconsin has undergone a title change. It is now titled Marital Property Law & Practice in Wisconsin and instead of three volumes, it is one large softbound volume. This updated edition takes into account statutory and common law changes affecting marital property in Wisconsin that have taken place since the last revision in 2010. New practice aids such as sample forms, court documents and charts are also included.

Topics include:

  • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
  • The U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of same-sex marriages
  • Creditor-debtor rights and responsibilities
  • Estate planning and administration

Previous editions of Marital Property Law in Wisconsin contain historical material that may be of interest to practitioners. This fifth edition is a complement to the fourth edition. The fourth edition can be found at www.wisbar.org or at our libraries.

New Book! Science Bench Book for Judges, by The National Judicial College & Justice Speakers Institute
Published online: https://www.judges.org/science/

This new bench book is designed to assist judges with determining the admissibility of evidence based on sound forensic science. Most judges are not scientists by training, but they are the gatekeepers to deciding what evidence is allowed into court. This bench book will assist them with this important role. The material covered is pertinent to both civil and criminal proceedings. Organized by topic, it is split into pre-trial, trial, and post-trial proceedings (including post-sentencing supervision).

Topics include:

  • Cyber and Digital Evidence
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • DNA Evidence
  • Toxicology
  • Fiber Analysis
  • Electronic Tracking Devices
  • Biometrics
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Testing
  • Statistics, Data, Variables

new book shelf
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

Custom domain names and email filtering

Last month's tech tip, Using Dots to Expand Your Gmail Address, prompted attorney and author Christopher Wren to email us with another suggestion for filtering email. It's a simple and effective solution: register your own domain name and add email services to the package.


Popular domain registrars charge reasonable fees and most allow you to create multiple email addresses for a small additional cost. Most importantly, an email address with your own domain adds credibility to your law practice or small business. You can reserve a domain name and create email addresses without creating a website.

Some domain hosting services offer what's known as a "catch-all" email service. With a catch-all email, any email address for a domain name can arrive at a single, catch-all email account. This means that incorrectly addressed emails sent to your domain name won't get lost, along with any customized email addresses you make up, such as my-tax-email@example.com. Wren notes that this enables users to create several email addresses, each with its own purpose.

If you've been holding out on getting your own domain name and are not sure whether to take this step, check out these articles and blogs for more information on email domains and starting a website.

Image source

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Library News - Carol Hassler

August classes

Sign up now for our last CLE classes of the summer. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from the experts!


Administrative Code Research
Thursday, August 1, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Meeting Room 1 at the Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee
Presenter: Beverly Butula
This session will focus on information available on the Wisconsin State Legislature's website relative to the Wisconsin Administrative Code, information found within Statements of Scope and Clearinghouse rules, and locating prior versions of the Code. In addition, we will explore additional tips and tricks when conducting administrative law research.
FREE. 1 CLE credit. Registration is suggested through the Milwaukee County Law Library and space is limited. Call 414-278-4900 or email mcll.ref@wicourts.gov to register. Print Registration Form.

class flyer


Essentials for Ensuring Transparency Under the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law
Tuesday, August 6, Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: David T. Prosser Jr. Library rare book room
Presenter: Sarah K. Larson, an Assistant Attorney General in the Wisconsin Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Open Government
In this training, you will learn the fundamentals of the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law, including what constitutes a "meeting," a "governmental body," and a "convening" of members, including prohibited walking quorums and issues related to technologies such as email and social media. You will also learn when closed sessions are authorized, and learn the requirements related to notice, citizen participation, recordkeeping, and more.
FREE. 1 CLE credit. Register Online | Print Registration Form

Introduction to Westlaw
Tuesday, August 20, Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: David T. Prosser Jr. Library training room
Learn how to best utilize Westlaw in this course by: Finding Specific Cases, Statutes and Regulations by citation; Learning how to quickly find and search specific resource; Learning about plain language searching on Westlaw; Utilizing result list filtering to narrow your search results; Exploring document features, including new "Copy with Reference"; Learning about new Westlaw history; Reviewing the basics of the Westlaw Citator - KeyCite.
FREE. 1 CLE credit. Registration is limited to 8. Register Online | Print Registration Form

Librarians reach out

Heidi Yelk, Director of Reference, delivered a presentation about the library at the Court System's New Judge Orientation on July 24. The program brings newly elected and appointed judges together for three days of education and services for judges.

We welcome local librarians with the South Central Library System to the David T. Prosser Jr. Library on August 8. Wisconsin State Law Library staff will present information on providing legal reference services, and offer a tour.

AALL highlights

The following conference report is from Julie T. Robinson, State Law Librarian.

Each year since 1907, law librarians from across the country have gathered for the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). This year's conference was in our nation's Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Every profession has its superstars; rock & roll has Mick Jagger, football has Aaron Rodgers, anthropology has Jane Goodall. In the library world, the superstar is the Librarian of Congress. I was honored to hear Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of the Library of Congress speak during a reception in the Jefferson Building hosted by Thomson Reuters. Hayden welcomed fellow librarians from law firm, government, and academic law libraries. She spoke about the history and mission of the Library and showcased the current exhibits.

event photos

I was thrilled to be able to walk into the recreated Thomas Jefferson Library and see up close his method for classification. Using the digital collection, I was able to "turn' pages from one of his books. It was like stepping back in time!

The AALL conference was an excellent time to meet and share ideas with colleagues, and to tour our nation's historical libraries.

Labor Day closure

The David T. Prosser Jr. Library, Milwaukee County Law Library, and Dane County Law Library will be closed on Monday, September 2 for the Labor Day state holiday. We will respond to questions and requests on Tuesday, September 3.

To ask a question while we are closed, call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

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August Snapshot

staff photo

Q&A with the DA
Photo by Amy Crowder

We are grateful to Ismael Ozanne, Dane County District Attorney, for setting aside time in July to talk to our library staff and answer questions about the District Attorney's office and criminal procedure. Thank you!
(Right to left: District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, Bob Lopez, Mike Keane, Kari Zelinka)

We are accepting snapshots! Do you have a photo highlighting libraries, attractions or points of historical interest? Send your photo the editor at carol.hassler@wicourts.gov to be included in a future issue.

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