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WSLL @ Your Service November 2019


Neuroscience and the law research guide - Jaime Healy-Plotkin

Our libraries can help you to research emerging topics in the law. The examination of how neuroscience intersects with our justice system is a growing area, with recent articles and new books tackling the issue. Everything listed in this Start Here guide is available at the David T. Prosser Jr. Library. Library cardholders can also access many of the articles by logging in to use our databases.

start here guide


Online Resources



  • Avery, Joseph. Picking and choosing: inconsistent use of neuroscientific legal evidence. 81 Alb. L. Rev. 941. Available in HeinOnline and Westlaw.
  • Bradley, Anna Spain, The disruptive neuroscience of judicial choice. 9 UC Irvine L. Rev. 1. Available in Westlaw.
  • Eggshell minds and invisible injuries: can neuroscience challenge longstanding treatment of tort injuries? 50 Hous. L. Rev. 929. Available in HeinOnline, Index to Legal Periodicals, and Westlaw.
  • A glimpse inside the brain's black box: understanding the role of neuroscience in criminal sentencing. 85 Fordham L. Rev. 481. Available in HeinOnline and Index to Legal Periodicals.
  • Greely, Henry T., Neuroscience, mindreading, and the courts: the example of pain. 18 J. Health Care L. & Pol'y 171. Available in HeinOnline and Westlaw.
  • Hoffman, Morris B., Nine neurolaw predictions. 21 New Crim. L. Rev. 212. Available in HeinOnline and Westlaw.
  • Rosenthal, Hilary, Scanning for justice: using neuroscience to create a more inclusive legal system. 50 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 290. Available in HeinOnline and Westlaw.
  • Shen, Francis X., Law and neuroscience 2.0. 48 Ariz. St. L.J. 1043. Available in Hein Online, Index to Legal Periodicals, and Westlaw.
  • Murphy, Erin. Neuroscience and the civil/criminal Daubert divide. 85 Fordham L. Rev. 619. Available in HeinOnline and Index to Legal Periodicals.

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New books - Kari Zelinka

New Book! Vacant and Problem Properties: a Guide to Legal Strategies and Remedies, by Jessica Bacher and others, 2019
Call Number: KF 5692 .V33 2019

If you are an attorney working for local government or have clients who are landlords or developers, problem properties may come into your daily workflow. Whether it's blighted rentals, abandoned property, or foreclosed properties, you need to know local ordinances and codes to be able to navigate the regulations surrounding problem properties. This text includes case studies throughout the book to illustrate how concepts can be applied.

Topics include:

  • Local government exercise of eminent domain
  • Public nuisance law
  • Code enforcement: property maintenance standards
  • The role of vacant property registration
  • The evolution of land banks
  • Greening strategies: nondevelopment reuse options for vacation properties

New Book! Neuroscience in the Courtroom: What Every Lawyer Should Know about the Mind and the Brain, by William R. Uttal, 2008
Call Number: RC343 .U88 2008

William Uttal wrote over 30 books and 140 journal articles in the area of cognitive science. He states that that "although a major goal in jurisprudence has always been to understand a person's state of mind, including such aspects as their motives and competency, in fact, such judgments about a person's true mental state are always uncertain and arbitrary." He goes on to say that all we can do is look at past performance and try to predict what behavior a person may exhibit again. Judges and juries have to rely on witnesses, experts in various fields, and their own knowledge to make decisions. This book provides some framework on the evolving field of neuroscience and the law.

Sections include:

  • What are the major challenges to mind reading in the courtroom?
  • Brain imaging methods
  • A history of lie detection
  • Evaluation of the use of brain images as lie detectors
  • The brain and the control of aggression
  • The problems of neuropsychological test reliability and validation
  • The modern empirical literature on aggression
  • The neuroscience of cognitive dysfunction
  • Legal culpability in the face of neuroscientific findings
  • Some plausible relations of mental dysfunction and neuroscience
  • Other behavioral mysteries lacking a neuroscientific foundation

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

Easy screen shots in Firefox

The Firefox browser makes screen shots and screen grabs simple with a built-in toolbar feature.  To use it, open the "Page actions" feature in the URL bar, by selecting the ellipses button (shown below). Choose "Take a Screenshot" and you can drag over the page section you want to capture.  You can then download or copy the screen grab for pasting into another application. This method of capturing a screenshot is fast, easy, and requires no additional software or programs to install.

firefox tip

Google Chrome users (which make up 70% of the market share) can find a variety of  screen capture extensions in the Chrome Store. These articles from How-To Geek and Computerworld further explain how to access a "hidden command" for screen shots in Chrome.

The holidays are coming! 

If you're already thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you are not alone. Naturally, there are plenty of websites ready to help you plan holiday gifting. Here are few:

  • Consumer Reports 2019 Holiday Gift Guide - From electronics to cooking gadgets, this guide helps you understand the features and the ratings of the hottest merchandise this season.
  • CNet's Explainer explains Black Friday and Cyber Monday (does this really need explaining?) and provides tips on where to find the best advice on the sales.
  • DealNews.com - provides an extensive list of when you can expect to see Black Friday ads from various stores. Retailers no longer keep this information secret and most release ads weeks ahead of the sale.

If there's a reader on your shopping list, MentalFloss, The Uncorked Librarian, Literary Hub's Best of the Decade, and The Millions lists may provide ideas for a great gift.

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Celebrating 30 Years of Library News - Carol Hassler

newsletterIn the winter of 1989, the Wisconsin State Law Library published its first newsletter. Simply called "WSLL Newsletter," this was the first precursor to what readers now know as WSLL @ Your Service. Before we published online, the library printed and distributed this as a short four page newsletter.

Reading through these early issues provides a glimpse into the research needs of the time, with topical guides, tips for searching databases and books, and handy hints about common legal research questions. The very next issue announces the debut of our first online catalog, and attempts to sooth users familiar with physical card catalogs. The article notes for wary researchers that the new catalog "should be used much as one manually uses a free standing card catalog. An online catalog has all the 'normal' features of a manual card catalog. Searches can be conducted by the regular methods: by author, by title or by subject area." Now our catalog provides more robust keyword searching and for many records, direct links to the book or journal itself!

One thing that's stayed the same is our commitment to excellent service. For example, the inaugural issue promotes the library's 800 number, which was added in 1988 to improve access to the library for users throughout the state. We've also consistently welcomed researchers to visit, and provided a document copy service to those who couldn't make it to the library. (These days we scan and email far more often than mailing or faxing print-outs.) The details may change over the years, but we have always been a library committed to helping our users!

You can read the full first issue of the WSLL Newsletter online. To browse through our archive, visit our bound collection of 1989-1998 issues, which is shelved with the rest of our periodicals.

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Library News - Carol Hassler

Librarians reach out

Librarians Jaime Healy-Plotkin and Carol Hassler presented two successful programs at the Wisconsin Library Association annual conference in October: It's a Trap! How to Avoid Giving Legal Advice in Reference Services and Public Records: Research Tips and Tricks. In addition to speaking, they also staffed a table at the poster session, where they spoke to many Wisconsin librarians about how the Wisconsin State Law Library serves and supports librarians and members of the public.

Julie Robinson attended the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW) program in October. Professor Travis McDade, Curator of Law Rare Books and Associate Professor of Library Service at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spoke on crimes against rare books. Professor McDade highlighted a case involving Jenny H. Morrill, a UW-Madison doctoral student from the early 1900's, who was implicated but never charged with the theft and mutilation of over 250 books.

Watch for State Law Library staff at the following events this month:

State Law Librarian Julie Robinson will attend the Wisconsin Judicial Conference where she will share information about the library's services and collections to judges and attendees.

Librarian Jaime Healy-Plotkin will present at the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Criminal Defense Conference, providing information about the library's services and collection to attendees.

desk and books

After Hours access

Would you like the convenience of using the State Law Library later in the evening or on weekends? You can - by becoming an After Hours subscriber. Subscribe now to enjoy a full year of library access at times convenient for you.
After Hours users can read and check out books, use our public computers and databases - including Westlaw and HeinOnline, make photocopies, and enjoy a quiet space for research and study.

A calendar-year subscription includes access to the library from 7:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and a key fob for convenient entry into the building. New subscribers will gain access from the time they subscribe to the end of the 2020 calendar year. Subscribe now and save!

November classes

Register for our last CLE class of 2019! Watch for 2020 class announcements later this winter.

Advanced Wisconsin Legislative History Research
Wednesday, November 6, Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: David T. Prosser Jr. Library training room

I need the legislative history of a Wisconsin statute. Where do I start? What do I do? Participants will look at the primary resources used to research Wisconsin legislative history, learn about the online Wisconsin legislative drafting files, and learn some helpful tips and tricks along the way. This advanced class covers additional search strategies, budget bills, advanced use of drafting records, and Supreme Court rule order research.
FREE. 1 CLE credit. Registration is limited to 8. Register Online | Print Registration Form

Thanksgiving holiday closures

All three library locations will be closed on Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 28. The Dane County Law Library and the Milwaukee County Law Library will remain closed on Friday, November 29. The David T. Prosser Jr. State Law Library will be open on Friday, November 29th.

All three libraries will be open Monday, November 11th, which is the observed date for Veterans' Day.

Call the Reference Desk at 608-267-9696 and leave a voicemail, or Ask a Librarian online while we are closed. We will respond to you the next business day.

Winter open house

Please join us for our annual Winter Open House on Wednesday, December 18 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the reading room of the David T. Prosser Jr. State Law Library. Enjoy refreshments while you mingle with staff and other library users, or just grab a snack to go!

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November Snapshot

WLA display

Reaching out at WLA
Photo by Jaime Healy-Plotkin

Carol Hassler (pictured) and Jaime Healy-Plotkin spoke to librarians and handed out information about the library at the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference in October.

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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