Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service July 2024

Wisconsin Municipal Ordinance Research - Carol Hassler

The Wisconsin State Law Library has maintained a list of links to online Wisconsin municipal ordinances for 22 years, first debuting a comprehensive list in 2002. Over time, we've added and removed hundreds of links as Wisconsin's municipalities develop and change their websites. For the first time, we've included a full list of municipalities, and noted when the ordinances are not available online. We're constantly updating this list to keep it current, so please reach out to our library with changes or questions.

New this year, download an XML and CSV version of our current ordinances list. We would like to extend our thanks to Peter Herreid with the Wisconsin Department of Administration for the initial spreadsheet with geographic codes.

How to research ordinances

While our libraries do maintain some printed ordinances, we often help people to research ordinances online. For a great introduction to print and online research sources, read law librarian Emily Gelling's 2022 article, Legal Research 101: Municipal Ordinances, published in the State Bar of Wisconsin's InsideTrack.

Some municipalities use third party publishing platforms to share ordinances and codes online. Usually these platforms provide access to the current code of ordinances, but some may provide a limited number of years of archived information. Other municipalities may include the full code, or select ordinances (rather than an enrolled code) online through their own website.

Researchers at the State Law Library can use Lexis+ on our public computers to search the current municipal codes for several Wisconsin municipalities, as published by the Municipal Code Corporation.

Archived online ordinances

When a municipality publishes their code on their own website - whether it's reprinted on a webpage, included as a PDF file, or downloadable as a Word document - researchers have an opportunity to use the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to try to find older versions of the ordinance files.

With over 25 years of archived publicly available webpages, the Wayback Machine is the first place to look for older website content. A project by the Internet Archive, the website captures snapshots of websites and publicly available online documents during a given time, and makes them available to researchers.

I often use the Wayback Machine to look for older copies of local ordinances. While the most accurate option is to check with the municipal clerk or corporation counsel, you may find quick answers or helpful context for your request by browsing their website archives using the Wayback Machine.

ordinances page archive

An archived version of our Codes & Ordinances page from 2002

Start by entering the URL for the current ordinances webpage into the Wayback Machine search box. If the URL for the ordinances page or municipality has not changed over the years, this is an easy way to see which years have been captured. Clicking on links in an archived page will automatically land you on the version with the closest date.

In my experience, it's fairly common to find a wide range of captured years - even for links on a single page.

Using the Wayback Machine is simple:

If a URL is archived, the first page you see is a calendar of snapshots. You can browse archived pages using the year slider at the top, and then the individual dates within each year. We contributed an article on Wayback Machine research tips to the State Bar of Wisconsin's InsideTrack a few years ago. Read Legal Research: Surf the Discarded Web with the Wayback Machine to get more tips on using this valuable resource.

Over the years, website addresses can change. When I need to find an older municipal code or ordinance link, I go to the Wayback Machine's capture of our library's old website address. This can help you to track the oldest URLs we've recorded in the past for municipalities across Wisconsin. To get an idea of how this works, browse a snapshot of our earliest Codes & Ordinances page from 2002!
If you need help trying to locate a municipality's current ordinances, or an old government website address, send us your question and we'll try to help you to track it down!

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Rental Law Research - Chris Schroeder

Check out this month's book display on tenant and landlord law. These books provide clear and practical advice on rights, responsibilities, and legal steps for both tenants and landlords. You'll find everything you need to understand rental agreements, resolve disputes, and follow housing regulations.

book display

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New Books - Chris Schroeder

book cover

New Edition! Social media and the law, by Kathy Ossian
KF 390.5.C6 A176 2024

Social Media and the Law provides a comprehensive guide to navigating the legal landscape of digital platforms. From privacy concerns and copyright implications to brand promotion risks and defamation avoidance, this book equips readers with important information for navigating the online environment. It also delves into the complexities of social media in employment settings, criminal proceedings, civil litigation, and regulated industries, making it an indispensable resource for anyone engaging with or affected by social media.

Topics Include:

  • Privacy
  • Copyright, Ownership, and Control of Content
  • Employment and Workplace Issues
  • Advertising
  • Crimes, Prosecution, and Evidence

book cover

New edition! Advising the elderly client, by A. Kimberley Dayton and others
KF 390.A4 A38

This three volume set is a valuable resource for legal professionals specializing in elder law, offering thorough coverage of critical issues affecting older clients. From estate and financial planning to navigating entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, it provides guidance on difficult issues regarding elder care. The set also addresses crucial topics such as incapacity planning, healthcare decisions, and combating age discrimination, making it essential for anyone involved in elder care and legal advocacy.

Topics Include:

  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Living Wills
  • Pension and Retirement Benefits
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Estate Planning

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

Wisconsin Eye - more than meets the eye

We often think of Wisconsin Eye as covering happenings inside the state capitol, such as legislative sessions, hearings, and Supreme Court oral arguments. However, Wisconsin Eye is frequently "on the road" covering events all over Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Eye website includes coverage of select circuit court matters, meetings, presentations, press conferences, and more.

Start at the Wisconsin Eye home page and view the content under "programs" and "coverage." Here you will find original programming, such as "Rewind - Your Week In Review," which are 30-minute segments covering statewide and local events. You will also find coverage of state meetings, luncheon presentations, award ceremonies, town halls, and panel discussions.

Wisconsin Eye screenshot

Wisconsin Eye is phasing out paywall restrictions. By registering for a free account, users can access a wealth of on-demand programing. Sign up for an account here: https://wiseye.org/accounts/

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Library News - Carol Hassler

Libraries closed July 4th

All three libraries will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in observance of the Fourth of July. Send questions and requests to wsll.ref@wicourts.gov or leave a message at 608-267-9696. We'll get back to you on Friday, July 5th.

Welcome new library associate

Last month the Milwaukee County Law Library welcomed new library associate, Sheila Davis. Sheila has previously worked at the City of Milwaukee Legislative Reference Bureau, the City of Milwaukee Treasurer's Office, and the Milwaukee Public Schools. Welcome, Sheila!

Summer webinars

The Wisconsin State Law Library is excited to announce Lexis+ is now available for walk-in use at the State Law Library. To celebrate, we are offering three CLE webinars in conjunction with LexisNexis.

Diving Deeper into Legal Research Potential: Advanced Online Legal Research Concepts
Wednesday, July 24, noon-1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Diving Deeper into Legal Research Potential: Advanced Online Legal Research Concepts
American business man and former CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer once stated, "The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential." The goal of this course today is to harnessing the potential as attorneys to learn things about online legal research you didn't think you could learn before. This course is going to be a deeper dive into online legal research. According to the model rules of professional conduct, attorneys need to maintain competency, and a component of maintaining competency is to keep abreast of the benefits and risks of relevant technology. By the end of this course you all will be made aware of advanced online legal research methods to harness your potential as a researcher and to maintain a standard of competency in the legal profession.

Understanding the Risks, Rewards and Regulation of AI in the Legal Industry
Wednesday, August 21, noon-1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Understanding the Risks, Rewards and Regulation of AI in the Legal Industry
Artificial intelligence, and in particular Generative AI tools, continue to grow in popularity and will have a significant impact on how legal professionals' complete daily tasks and obligations of their roles. As use of AI becomes more prevalent, it is critical for legal professionals to understand the risks and rewards of using these technologies in the workplace. In this session, attendees will learn about navigating the competitive advances of responsible AI in their business strategy, eliminating bias, and what solution providers are doing to create inclusive, responsible technologies. Presenters will also examine recent legislation and regulatory responses relevant to AI and what is on the horizon for the coming years.

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July Snapshot

lane library with bookplate image

Lane Library Bookplate and Original Library

It's not an exaggeration to say all libraries are connected in some way. Libraries and librarians often work together in the goal of bringing information to users. Reminders of this connection sometimes pop up unexpectedly, such as finding this book plate from Ripon College's Lane Library in our compact storage archive. This second edition, 1959 volume of Wisconsin Practice Methods, once owned by Lane Library, now makes its home at the State Law Library, meeting a specialized goal of preserving Wisconsin's legal sources. For an even better story of "traveling books" and library connections read about "Wisconsin's Own Library" which is housed at Lane Library. This collection has a rich history dating back to 1948. It includes more than 5,000 volumes, with a focus on Wisconsin authors, history, literature, and poetry. Best of all, books from this special collection are available via interlibrary loan from your local public library. Make the connection!

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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