Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service   September, 2006
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

What's New -- Connie Von Der Heide   Learn @ the Law Library – Connie Von Der Heide

Wisconsin Legislature Infobases: New Software
The searchable infobases containing the Wisconsin Statutes, Administrative Code, Acts and other resources are being upgraded to Nxt, next generation search and retrieval software. Users currently encounter this screen giving the option of using the old Site Director software or the new Nxt version. For a concise description of what’s new and what has not changed, see Bonnie Shucha’s WisBlawg entry from August 10. For online help using the new Wisconsin Legislature Nxt software, see this guide. For more personalized assistance feel free to contact our Reference Desk, and stay tuned for announcement of a State Law Library hands-on class to be held soon.

A Note About the Online Wisconsin Statutes
According to the Wisconsin Statutes homepage, at this time all statutory changes effective prior to January 2, 2007 are displayed in the online Wisconsin Statutes as if currently in effect, and statutory changes effective on or after January 2, 2007 are designated by Notes. Therefore, you'll want to pay close attention to any such notes regarding currency. Also check the History notes immediately following each statute section, where you'll find a listing of recent Acts affecting that section. To more easily read and verify the effective dates of such Acts, we suggest using the Folio Infobase searchable version of the Statutes, as opposed to the PDF. In the Folio version, the History notes contain direct weblinks to the text of recent Acts. Alternatively, you could use the separate listing of all 2005-2006 Acts.

If you find that the online Statutes section you're researching contains language that is not yet effective, you may wish to look at other versions for comparison. This may be especially critical if you’re looking at Chapter 767, Actions Affecting the Family, which has been completely revised but the changes don’t take effect until 2007. If you need additional help in determining what the currently effective language of a particular statute section is, feel free to contact our Reference Desk



Upcoming Classes
There are still a few openings in our October 6 class, Mining for Company Nuggets: Locating Corporate Information on the Internet, which will meet in the WSLL Training Room. Guest instructor Carol Bannen, Director of Information Resources at the Milwaukee office of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, will demonstrate the skills of finding company information on the Internet. Learn how to locate background information, financial data, litigation history, and more. Whether your law firm is courting new clients or investigating an opposing party, this class will help you find the facts you need. Fee: $50.00. 1.5 CLE credits applied for. Registration is limited to 8.

To register for this or any of our other classes, please visit our Classes & Tours webpage.

LegalTrac Interface Changes
If you’ve used LegalTrac recently, you probably noticed that it’s had a facelift. LegalTrac, an electronic resource available to users in all three of our libraries and to Wisconsin Court System staff and registered library cardholders through restricted internet access, provides citation information for over 1.2 million law-related articles dating from 1980 to the present. Some listings also include full text.

On the LegalTrac homepage, the basic, advanced, subject guide and publication search buttons formerly located in the left sidebar are now positioned across the top of the page. The basic search remains as the default. Results are now categorized under five tabs: Academic Journals, Magazines, Reference, News and Multimedia. Click the tab name to view the results under it. Grayed out tab names have no listings. Each result now includes convenient links to the complete bibliographic citation, and to full text when available. If WSLL owns the journal in which the article appears, a link to our corresponding catalog record is also displayed.

We’ll hold a LegalTrac class in the near future which will address all of the changes, but as always please contact our Reference Desk for assistance anytime.

Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk MLRC Memo: News from the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center -- Rebecca Knutson

The Future of Internet “Research?”
A recent headline in the Onion proclaims “Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence.” While the story pokes fun at Wikipedia, its presence also signals that Wikipedia has arrived. It has entered mainstream and is popular enough to become a joke in the Onion.

Wikipedia is a dynamic online encyclopedia of collective knowledge. It’s a collaborative database where anyone and everyone can post information about a particular subject. It calls itself “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” and it was recently ranked as one of the top 15 “online properties” in the world.

Not surprisingly, several search sites, including Yahoo! and Google, have begun to build their own databases of collective knowledge. According to an Aug. 16, 2006 article in the Washington Post “Web Searches Go Low-Tech: You Ask, A Person Answers,” One Yahoo! executive sees this “as the next generation of search.” According to the article, website executives believe human interaction and personalization appeal to internet users, particularly younger people.

As a librarian, I suspect another appeal is the ease of use. The popularity of these sites may also reveal the general public’s frustration and inability to find good answers using search engines. Becoming a skilled searcher takes time and practice. Checking for accuracy requires skill also. It’s much easier to ask a person. If sites such as Yahoo Answers, Answerbag, and Google Answer appeal to you but you are wary of receiving false or inaccurate information, you will be happy to know that libraries worldwide offer the same services, with less risk. Wisconsin libraries, including the Wisconsin State Law Library, participate in Ask Away a place where Internet users can ask question and get reliable answers 24/7.

Please send suggestions for future Tech Tips to the editor.

Leslie Behroozi named DCLRC Branch Librarian
The MLRC staff bids farewell (kind of) to Leslie Behroozi, who is the new Branch Librarian at the Dane County Legal Resource Center in Madison. Leslie started at the MLRC as an LTE in the fall of 2004 and most recently was our Training and Technology Coordinator. She started her new full-time position on September 5th. We wish her much success at DCLRC, and we’re happy that she’s remaining a part of our library family. Congratulations, Leslie!

Learn @ the Legal Resource Center
There is still time to sign up for “Using Loislaw.com!” This class will be presented Thursday, September 28, 2006, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in the Milwaukee County Courthouse. State Law Librarian Jane Colwin will help you become familiar with the various Loislaw.com databases provided on the MLRC’s public access computers, and demonstrate how they can save you research time and money. This is a free class, but advance registration is required.

Thank you to Deputy State Law Librarian Julie Tessmer for her August 16 presentation of “Using Google to Its Full Potential.” We received an overwhelming response to this class and unfortunately couldn’t accommodate everyone who wanted to attend. You can be first to hear about our classes and ensure yourself a seat by subscribing to our MLRC Course Offerings e-mail list.

To sign up for a class or to be added to our e-mail list, please call (414) 278-4900, or e-mail Rebecca.Knutson@wicourts.gov. Or, drop your business card in the fishbowl at the MLRC and have a chance to win a great prize. Congratulations to this month’s winner, Attorney Jon G. Spansail.

Westlaw Training for Milwaukee County Judges and Court Commissioners
The MLRC will host two Westlaw training sessions for judges and court commissioners on October 12, 2006 in the CCAP training room of the Milwaukee County Courthouse. A beginner’s class will be held 12:15 – 1:15 p.m., followed by an advanced class 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. To register, please visit the MLRC, call (414) 278-4322; or e-mail Rebecca.Knutson@wicourts.gov no later than September 30, 2006.

Odds 'n' Endings -- Amy Crowder

New Supreme Court Term Begins
September brings cooler temps, the start of a new school year, and the beginning of a new Wisconsin Supreme Court term. The first day of oral arguments is Thursday, September 7th. To access monthly oral argument schedules, listings of case synopses, and both live and archived audio of oral argument proceedings, visit the Supreme Court’s oral arguments webpage.

The Smartest Card
One out of every six people in the world is a registered library cardholder. Are you? September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, so we’d like to tell you what our card offers. Persons eligible for a Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL) card may borrow items from any of our three libraries, and Wisconsin-licensed attorney cardholders may also use our Circulation By Mail service. WSLL cardholders can also access licensed electronic resources such as LegalTrac from their home or office, and use our interlibrary loan service to request items owned by other libraries. So get your WSLL card today, and be sure to apply for a card from your local public library, too. After all, a library card is the smartest card you can have in your wallet!

World's Largest Library Network Now Open to the Public
August marked the debut of OCLC's WorldCat, which now makes it possible for anyone with internet access to search the entire OCLC database of over 1.3 billion items, located in more than 18,000 libraries worldwide. To search the database, try using some keywords to identify the bibliographic item(s) you’re interested in. For example, here are the results I got when searching the words legislative, history, and Wisconsin. When you’ve found an item, click on the title and then enter your zip code in the “Enter Location Information” box to see if the item is owned by a local library. To find additional items on that same subject, simply click on the record's subject headings.

To make using this new database even easier, place the WorldCat search box right on your own personal or corporate website. After completing the free registration, simply copy and paste the provided HTML code into your site. It’s an easy way for you or your agency, organization or firm to provide convenient access to the vast collections of the world's libraries.

What if you’ve searched WorldCat but still can't find the item you need? Or, what if you have found it, but it’s not available in any nearby library? Contact our Reference Desk for help. We can help you formulate your search, and if no local library has the item we might also be able to request it through interlibrary loan. We'll do our best to help you with your legal information needs.

Reader Comments
From time to time we share comments received about our newsletter. If you have a comment, feel free to submit it to the editor.

"Your newsletter is everything a library newsletter should be - informative, fun, and quick to read. Even from way out here on the Left Coast, I enjoy and learn from it." - Laura Orr, Law Librarian, Washington County Law Library, Hillsboro, OR

"Just a note to let you know that we at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection always appreciate the State Law Library newsletter (and other services!). There is always something of interest and value to us. Thanks!" -- Jim Matson, DATCP Counsel

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

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