Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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What’s New – Amy Crowder

State Law Librarian Co-Authors Legal Research Book

Legal Research in WisconsinThe W.S. Hein Co. has just announced the publication of Legal Research in Wisconsin, 2nd edition. Authors are Ted Potter, University of Iowa Law Library (formerly at Marquette Law Library); Mary Koshollek, Godfrey & Kahn; Bill Ebbott and Sunil Rao, both at UW Law Library; and our own Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian.

The first edition was written by Richard A. Danner and published by the University of Wisconsin Extension Law Department back in 1980. The publisher’s abstract for the 2nd edition states: “This new edition continues to offer a comprehensive reference tool about legal research in Wisconsin. It revises and updates chapters and also expands them to include electronic tools and other new sources. Basic research tools are discussed with an eye toward showing their best uses in locating useful information. It remains a guide for attorneys, judges, paralegals, law librarians, students and others needing ready access to information contained in Wisconsin legal materials.” A copy of the book will be available at WSLL soon.

LexisOne Doubles Its Free Case Law Offerings

LexisOne recently doubled the number of years’ worth of free case law on its website - from five years to ten. Users can search by keyword or citation, or browse by year. As before, U.S. Supreme Court cases are available for free back to 1781.

BadgerLink Now Offers One-Stop Search

BadgerLink now offers federated searching, which lets you enter your keywords in a single “Search Databases” box and search multiple databases at once. An “Advanced Search” feature is also available. This one-search feature eliminates the need to search each database individually, and it lets you simultaneously collect search results from EBSCO, ProQuest news, and Gale LitFinder databases.

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who took our website survey during the month of July. Your responses have been very helpful as we work on a new and improved site. Watch for its debut in spring 2009.


Upcoming Classes

Register now to reserve your spot in these upcoming legal research classes! More information is available on our Classes & Tours webpage.

Finding Wisconsin Public Records
Tuesday, September 23, 2008, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Want to learn more efficient ways to find records of individuals and businesses? This information packed class will help you find Wisconsin public records from a variety of government agency resources. Learn timesaving tips on searching for criminal records, state and local court records, business entity records, liens, foreclosures and real estate records, and more. Sign up today to become a more effective searcher.
Fee: $125.00. 3 CLE credits applied for. Registration limited to 8. Print registration form

Blogs, Feeds, and other Web 2.0 Stuff to Make Your Job Easier
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Come learn about Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs and RSS feeds. Bev Butula, law librarian and blogger, will explain how to use "feeds" which deliver case law, news articles, and current awareness resources right to your desktop. Keep up to date without spending hours surfing the web and become more efficient by utilizing other Web 2.0 technologies. This class will be presented in lecture format.
FREE Class. 1 CLE credit applied for. Registration is limited to 20. Print registration form

Using the Wisconsin Court System Website
Wednesday, October 8, 2008,  9:00-10:00 a.m.
Class is Full
Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Openings Available

Need some help finding the information you need on the Wisconsin Court System's website? Learn how to efficiently access Circuit Court records, find mandatory forms, search Supreme Court and Court of Appeals opinions, and check the status of appellate cases. You’ll also explore additional resources such as the Self-Help Center, court administrative office pages, and RSS feeds. Join us for a tour of this useful website.
FREE Class. 1 CLE credit applied for. Registration is limited to 8. Print registration form

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This Just In… – Pete Boll

This month’s featured titles include:

New Edition: Legal Ethics: The Lawyer’s Deskbook on Professional Responsibility, by Ronald D. Rotunda, John S. Dzienkowski. Thomson West Publishing, 2008-2009.
Call Number: KF 306.R67 L4

A joint venture between the American Bar Association and West Group publishing, this title intends to be the one-stop source of solid advice for “the majority of lawyers and judges who know a great deal about the laws affecting their clients, but not as much about laws that affect themselves.” This edition reflects new developments in the ABA Model Rules, case law, and literature regarding legal ethics. In addition to new chapters on judicial ethics, this latest edition examines changes made to the governing rules of the Ethics 2000 Commission; the Multijurisdictional Practice of Law Commission; the Task Force on Corporate Responsibility; the Joint Commission to Evaluate the Model Code of Judicial Conduct; and 2002 Revision Reporters.

Cites to other essential resources are also found throughout the book, including Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers (Third); ABA Formal Ethics Opinions; Ethics 2000 Reporter’s Notes; the Model Code of Professional Responsibility; the 1983 Model Rules of Professional Conduct; and leading ethics cases, treatises, and law review articles.

New Title: Election Law Manual, prepared by Elizabeth Bircher.
College of William and Mary School of Law and the National Center for State Courts, 2008.
Call Number: KF 4886 .B57 2008

This manual provides a basic overview of state election law in the United States. The primary audience for the manual is state court judges who may be called upon to resolve election related cases.

Instead of detailing state election laws, the manual is organized around broad election law issues that are likely to be litigated, including:

  1. the way in which federal statutes and constitutional provisions affect state and local elections
  2. issues that arise out of the regulation of various actors in the election process: candidates, political parties, and voters
  3. special legal issues that can arise on election day
  4. post-election administrative processes and legal disputes, including canvassing, certification, recounts, and election contests

New Titles RSS Feed
See our latest New Titles list for the complete list of new arrivals.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

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Start Here: A Guide to Wisconsin State Law Library Services and Specialized Resources – Connie Von Der Heide

The past two installments of this column featured selected library books and other materials on the topics of foreclosure and estate planning.This time we feature the library itself, with information about our services and specialized resources.


Reference Assistance
Whether you need a specific piece of information or some guidance in navigating a legal research website, our reference staff will do their best to help you. Anyone may use our general reference service, available in person and by email, phone, fax or mail. [Please note that library staff cannot give legal advice.] For judges and attorneys, we also offer case law and citator research services.

Document Delivery
Our staff can track down and deliver all types of legal information, whether it’s a copy of a case, an article, a book, a government publication, or some other print or electronic document from our own collection or around the world. If it's published, printed, posted, recorded or videotaped, we can probably locate it for you. Delivery options include email, fax, mail and FedEx. Find out more by visiting our Document Delivery webpage.

WSLL Website
The State Law Library website is a virtual “one stop shop” for legal and government information. The Legal Topics A-Z page alone contains thousands of links arranged in over 400 different topics, from Abortion to Zoning Law. The Wisconsin Law page provides access to free web resources like the Wisconsin Statutes, Attorney General opinions, court websites, local ordinances, and much more. You can also search the library catalog, and electronic databases of journal and newspaper articles.

The State Law Library extends borrowing privileges to Wisconsin judges and court staff, private attorneys, and government employees. To obtain a library card, visit any one of our three libraries or, if you’re unable to visit, contact the State Law Library to request a card by mail. To borrow materials, start by searching our online catalog to find out whether the item you want is currently available. See “Search Catalog” in the upper right corner of our homepage. Wisconsin judges and attorneys who are unable to come to the library may borrow materials through our Circulation By Mail service.

After Hours Service for Attorneys
Wisconsin-licensed attorneys who would prefer to use the State Law Library in the evening or on the weekend may subscribe to our After Hours Service. This convenient service allows subscribers to access the library from 5 to 10 p.m. M-F and 8 to 6 on Saturdays and Sundays. For complete details and subscription information, see our After Hours Service webpage.

Hands-on Legal Research Classes
The library offers free and fee-based classes on doing legal research and using electronic resources in the legal research process. Most classes are held in the library's computer training room, which is equipped with eight computers for hands-on instruction. Some classes are presented in demonstration or lecture format in the Rare Book Room. To find out what classes are being offered at any time, visit our Classes & Tours webpage.

Library Tours & Orientations
Interested in a firsthand look at the State Law Library? To schedule a tour for your group or an orientation session for new law firm or government agency staff, contact Tammy Keller, program assistant, at 608-261-7553 or Tammy.Keller@wicourts.gov

Room Rentals
Are you in need of a nice place in downtown Madison to meet with a client or hold a training session for your staff? The State Law Library has a variety of rooms available for hourly rental. Information about each room, including photos, may be found on our Room Rental webpage.


Specialized Resources Available @ WSLL

Wisconsin Briefs
The State Law Library provides public access to the briefs and appendices for cases decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Briefs for cases dated 1992 to the present are available on the web. Earlier ones may be used in the library, and copies may be requested through our Reference Service. For more information, visit our Wisconsin Briefs webpage.

Judicial Council Collection
If you’re researching the legislative history or intent of a Supreme Court Rule or a court-related statute, the State Law Library’s Judicial Council Collection might be of interest. It contains Council minutes and committee-related documents from the 1950’s to the present. Detailed information and a finding aid for the committee documents are available on our Judicial Council Collection webpage.

Wisconsin Administrative Code “Replaced Pages”
The State Law Library is one of very few libraries that maintain a collection of superseded pages from the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Dating back to the 1950’s, the “Replaced Pages Collection” (as we call it) is an invaluable resource for anyone researching the history or needing the previous language of a particular Admin Code section. For assistance or to obtain copies from this collection, contact the Reference Desk.

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Tech Tip in Brief – Heidi Yelk

A Tool to Search Your Favorites

In today’s world of social bookmarking tools, such as Delicious and Diigo, talking about Internet Explorer (IE) Favorites seems “old school.” However, I suspect that, like me, many web surfers still utilize the IE Favorites or FireFox Bookmarks feature. And, I suspect many of us have large archives of Favorites or Bookmarks going back 10 years or more.

Despite my best efforts to keep everything organized and neatly tucked into folders, I occasionally find myself hunting around my Favorites list for something I’m sure I marked in the past. Because I have over 100 folders in my Favorites list - and just as many subfolders - finding that “lost” Favorite can sometimes be an impossible task.

To solve this problem, I recently downloaded a tool called DZ Soft Favorites Search for IE. This free download has been around for a couple of years. As noted in reviews at Cnet and PC World, this is a very basic tool that simply searches the names of your Favorites or matches words in the URL.

I’m impressed with how quickly it searches through my list of Favorites. Once the results list of “found favorites” displays in the left frame, it’s very easy to click through the list, surfing from page to page, which is displayed on the right. Because my list of Favorites is about 10 years old, it’s not unusual for me to find broken links. I’ve found this to be a quick way to identify and delete those “old Favorites.”

Because DZSoft Favorites Search does not search folder names (only Favorite names and URLs), it’s tempting to stop using the Folders feature in IE Favorites. If you don’t like to use folders to organize layers of Favorites, then this search tool may work well for you. It’s a good way to locate Favorites without having to keep them in topical folders.

If you’re partial to the FireFox browser, there are several Bookmark add-ons to explore, too, such as Advanced Bookmark Search and Enhanced Bookmark Search.

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Odds 'n' Endings – Julie Tessmer

Notables for September

Juror Appreciation Month

This month the Wisconsin Court System celebrates Juror Appreciation Month. As Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson stated in a recent letter to court officials and staff, “The right to a jury trial is a fundamental component of the American and Wisconsin justice systems. The willingness of Wisconsin residents to serve as jurors is critical to preserving this right.” To kick off the celebration, a press conference will be held Sept. 3 in Milwaukee. Visit the websites of the Court System and your local circuit court for more information and listings of special activities.

September 27-October 4 marks the American Library Association’s (ALA) 27th annual observance of Banned Books Week. Each year ALA compiles a list of the most frequently “challenged” books and authors. Mark Twain regularly makes the list.

1 - Labor Day was declared a U.S. national holiday by Congress in 1894.

2 – The Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) made its U.S. debut in 1969, at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center. Today there are well over 1 million ATMs around the world. Source: National Merchant Services, ATM Timeline

7Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson was sworn in as Wisconsin’s first woman Justice in 1976.

20Colonel Hans Christian Heg was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga on this date in 1863. A Norwegian immigrant, Heg was appointed by Governor Alexander Randall to raise a Scandinavian regiment from Wisconsin to fight in the Civil War. A commemorative statue of Heg stands outside the east (King Street) entrance to the State Capitol in downtown Madison.


If you read last month’s Odds ‘n’ Endings column, you might’ve noticed that the body of water shown in the accompanying photo is Lake Monona - not Lake Mendota as the article stated. Our thanks to an astute reader for pointing out the error.

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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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