Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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What's New -- Connie Von Der Heide & Julie Tessmer

Staff Changes @ WSLL

Leslie Behroozi, Branch Librarian at the Dane County Legal Resource Center and formerly a Library Assistant at the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, has accepted a new position at the Marquette University Law Library. Her last day at DCLRC was June 1. We thank Leslie for her years of service at both MLRC and DCLRC, and we wish her well at Marquette.

Aaron Gillett and Chris Cody recently joined the WSLL staff as part time employees covering shelving, filing, document delivery, and assisting with circulation duties.

Aaron is a UW-Madison graduate with a double major in History and Political Science. He currently works as an intern for the Governor's office, assisting in research for the Pardon Advisory Board. He also works as a part time Legal Assistant at a local law firm. While in school, Aaron worked at the UW-Madison Chemistry Library, covering circulation and shelving duties. Chris is a UW-Madison graduate with a double major in History and English. Since graduating last year he's been working part time as a Legal Secretary for a local law firm. He plans to begin law school in 2008.

WSLL hosts Tours, Training Sessions

May was a busy month in the library with a number of groups taking tours and using our meeting rooms for training and educational sessions. The Madison Area Paralegal Association (MAPA) held their quarterly meeting in the Rare Book Room. MAPA’s goals include providing educational opportunities specific to the delivery of legal services, creating a forum for professional discussions and forming a career oriented network. MAPA’s membership includes practicing paralegals as well as students enrolled in paralegal programs.

Students from the Wisconsin English as a Second Language Institute (WESLI) returned to the library for a tour and an introduction to the library’s collection of constitutional law materials. The students were working on an assignment which involved researching and writing about a U.S. Constitutional amendment of their choice.

We also had employees of Drake and Company in the library for three evening sessions of training on legal topics. Bonnie Shucha, Head of the Reference Department at the University of Wisconsin Law Library, taught two of the sessions.

Finally, many law firm summer associates and court interns attended library orientation sessions to become more familiar with library resources and services.

If you or your organization is interested in a library tour or would like to reserve our Conference room, Training room or Rare Book room for a meeting or program, please see our Tours and Room Rentals webpages.

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Click To It! Legal Research At Your Fingertips -- Amy Crowder

In last month’s article, we explained how you can access electronic journals through our Library Catalog. This month, we’ll focus on another way to locate electronic journals.

Something New

You may have noticed something new on our home page: a link to Search Journals & Legal Databases. Visit this link and you’ll discover a list of licensed electronic resources the Library provides for our users.

For instance, you’ll find electronic journal databases such as HeinOnline which provides full-text articles from over 1,400 law reviews and legal journals. You’ll also find law-related databases and sources of current or past news, such as Academic Search Elite with over 2,000 full-text journals, and Proquest Newstand containing articles from over 400 state and national newspapers.

Search with Ease

You can search an individual database by clicking on the database name, or you may browse a list of available titles in the database. If you have a specific journal title in mind, you may search all the online databases at once. You can do this in two ways: by browsing through an alphabetical list of journal titles, or by searching for the journal title in the search box provided.

For example, enter Yale Law Journal in the search box and click on “Go.” You’ll find that Yale Law Journal is available in two databases: HeinOnline and LegalTrac. Coverage dates are provided for each database. To locate your article, choose one of the databases and then select the individual volume that contains the article.

The “Browse Select Journal Titles” feature is helpful when you don’t know the complete journal title. For instance, if you know it begins with “American journal”, you may simply select the letter “A” from the browse list. Next, quickly navigate through the list of titles by choosing a portion of the list: “Afr – Ame” and “Ame – Ann”. Then simply scroll down the list of journals until you reach the desired title, and note which databases include it. Select an individual database to locate the specific issue and article.

Don’t Forget Your Library Card

While many of our electronic journal databases are openly accessible, some require a Wisconsin State Law Library card. If you’re eligible for a library card, please visit any of our three libraries to obtain one. If you’re unable to stop in, contact the Wisconsin State Law Library to request a card by mail. For more information, please visit our Circulation page.

Anytime, Anywhere

Next time you need a law review or journal article, try the Library’s Journals & Legal Databases page. You can “click to it” anytime and anywhere.

Learn More About It

For more instruction in using these new search features and databases, sign up for our June 20 class on finding law reviews and legal news. Space is limited, so register today! Further details and registration information are available on our Classes & Tours webpage.

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Tech Tip in Brief – Heidi Yelk

Wikis for Knowledge Management

Imagine a resource on your computer network where an employee could enter a simple term, such as a client’s name, and get all the firm’s knowledge on that client: links to memos written for the client; a note on the latest meeting; business accomplishments and goals; perhaps even information provided by partners who have since retired.

An employee could also enter a term such as “shirking” and get links to all the firm’s memos and briefs discussing the topic.

Many readers will recognize this as a system for “knowledge management,” the capturing and organizing of a firm’s valuable assets of institutional knowledge and past work product. In recent years, knowledge management systems have evolved from paper based - index cards referencing documents stored in bulging file cabinets - to computerized applications using specialized programs focused on information organization. Both systems rely heavily on human input, which in turn relies heavily on ease of use. If a system isn’t easy to use, employees will be reluctant to participate and the system will not perform well.

A new trend in knowledge management is emerging that could change all that: the wiki. A wiki is a website that can be written and edited by anybody and everybody who has permission to enter information. It can be public or private. The most widely recognized example of a wiki is Wikipedia. A wiki within a law firm might be a collaborative effort by the entire firm or a smaller project by an individual practice group. An in-house wiki can be viewed and edited only by people within the firm.

The best thing about a wiki is that it’s easy to use. Entering and editing information requires no special knowledge of website design or HTML. The second best thing is that setting up a wiki is inexpensive and, in some cases, free. One place to start exploring wiki options is Wikimatrix which allows you to compare features and costs. For more resources and ideas see Creating Intranet Applications for Knowledge Sharing Within Law Firms by Jason Eiseman, and Wikis for the Legal Profession by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

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This Just In... -- Pete Boll

This month’s featured titles include:

New Title: What Good Is Legislative History? Justice Scalia in the Federal Court of Appeals by Joseph L. Gerken.
W.S. Hein Co., 2007
Call Number KF 425 .G47 2007

The opening sentence - "Justice Antonin Scalia hates legislative history" - sets the tone for Gerken’s analysis of more than 250 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions referencing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia's criticism of legislative history. Justice Scalia believes courts should focus on the text of a law, and not on extrinsic sources, which are as likely to mislead as to enlighten. This approach to statutory interpretation is known as Textualism.

In opinion after opinion Gerken points to Justice Scalia's castigation of his colleagues and practitioners for relying on material that he considers misleading and unreliable as a basis for interpreting statutes. Scalia’s approach however, has not been accepted at the highest level of our Judiciary - the U.S. Supreme Court. In decision after decision the Court has turned to legislative history when such sources are deemed relevant, while Scalia's criticism of legislative history is almost always expressed in concurring or dissenting opinions.

In addition to the main focus of the work, Gerken also includes chapters explaining the history of legislative history as well as the evolution of the U.S. Supreme Court's attitude toward it.

New Title: Trial Preparation From Start To Finish For Paralegals by Brian D. Anderson, Alex Flynn, James D. Oldham, Joyce D. Stoner.
National Business Institute, 2007
Call Number KFW 2937 .T74 2007

This text is featured as part of the library’s subscription with the National Business Institute (NBI) to make available detailed, print materials from recent NBI education and training seminars. This latest release takes the paralegal or legal assistant through the trial process, giving advice in such areas as case management, document control and organization, evidence and exhibits, interview and discovery techniques, and settlement. A complete chapter on ethics provides guidelines for non-attorneys as well as information on researching sources of ethics assistance from such organizations as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

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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!

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