Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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Website Catalog

WSLL @ Your Service May 2009


New Website Sneak Peek – by Carol Hassler

This month the State Law Library will launch its dynamic new website, which makes it even easier to find Wisconsin legal resources.  The website offers new features and a fresh, modern and highly functional new look.

New WSLL Home PageWith its natural colors and clean lines, the new site reflects the aesthetics of the library.  Along with a new style, the website features accessible, neatly arranged information, allowing users to quickly find pages relevant to their needs.

The home page features popular legal topics such as divorce, foreclosure, and name change, letting users quickly find the law and the forms they need.  Library Highlights promotes upcoming library CLE classes and features legal research tips and library updates on a weekly basis.  New Request a Document forms let users order copies of opinions and other library materials or request a library book be shipped to them directly.  We are always ready to answer your questions; Ask a Librarian is just a click away.

For the first time, legal resources from every Wisconsin county will be conveniently available in one location.  A new County Resources database offers streamlined access to county departments, forms, procedural guides, sources of legal assistance, court rules and ordinances.  Users can simply choose their county or select “All Wisconsin Counties” to browse. 

The Library’s acclaimed Legal Topics pages provide links to circuit court forms and guides, state and federal agencies, organizations, and state and federal law.   The website now offers enhanced features.  Each of the topics includes new information such as links to notable titles in the Library’s collection, on-point law review articles, and subject area journals.  

The new website is the result of extensive planning by the Website Redesign Committee, which consists of Amy Crowder, Carol Hassler, Angela Sanfilippo, and Heidi Yelk.  The committee spent a year surveying users, researching design, and testing ideas, informed by a diverse group of volunteers and library staff. 

While we are still adding information, please tour the new site and let us know what you think.  You may give us feedback by clicking on the link from the home page or taking a short survey now.

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What’s New – Connie Von Der Heide

Be sure to check out the schedule of upcoming legal research classes at WSLL.  Classes usually fill quickly, so register today.

May 1 is Law Day, an annual observance sponsored by the American Bar Association. This year’s theme is “A Legacy of Liberty – Celebrating Lincoln’s Bicentennial.”

Amy Crowder, Director of Web & Bibliographic Services and Carol Hassler, Webmaster/Cataloger, will present the program “SOS! My Library Patron Has a Legal Reference Question!” during the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries annual conference May 7-8 in Wisconsin Dells. The program will provide a basic overview of the legal resources available on the State Law Library’s newly redesigned website, as well as practical advice for librarians on how to handle legal information requests.

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MLRC News – Rebecca Knutson, MLRC Librarian

The Milwaukee Legal Resource Center (MLRC) celebrated National Library Week with the theme “The Art of Legal Research.” Three contests held throughout the week gave participants a chance to win prizes such as Barnes and Noble gift cards and a selection of art books.  One of the contests was to draw the Milwaukee County Courthouse.  “Most Realistic” was won by Ann Hetzel and “Most Creative” was won by Kathy Nelson.   The entry by Judge Charles Kahn was give the first-ever “Librarian’s Award of Excellence” as it was such a realistic and beautiful representation.  The picture was a gift to the library and to Rebecca Knutson.  It will be framed and permanently displayed in the MLRC.

Participants enjoyed our “Artful Crossword Puzzle” which tested their knowledge of art, famous museums and the law.  There was also a “Question of the Day” which required participants to come to the library each day and visit a different famous museum such as the Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  The museums were represented with pictures of works of art that are part of each collection.  A short narrative about each museum contained the answer to a trivia question.  Patrons who answered all five questions correctly won a prize.

It was a fun-filled week with many participants each day.  We had a total 0f 135 entries in our contests.  Prize winners were notified starting the Monday after Library Week.  Thanks to everyone who participated!!

Our recent Westlaw classes on Basic Westlaw and KeyCite were filled to capacity.  Our next group of classes will be held in June.  Watch for details on dates and times.  Register early—these classes fill up quickly!

We bid farewell to Mary Weger.  Mary has been working at the MLRC part-time while taking paralegal classes at MATC.  She will now be working full time at a bankruptcy firm.  Best of luck, Mary - we’ll miss you!

Thanks to all who have donated books to our book drive for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. This is an ongoing project.  Please remember to donate any new or gently used books or DVDs for patients to enjoy while undergoing treatment.

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National Library Week at the DCLRC – Lisa M. Winkler, DCLRC Librarian

The results are in!  More than 50 people completed entries to win one of 8 different “library grab bag” prizes awarded for our 4 games: Acronym Antics, Library Word Search, Guess the Eggs in the Head, and Submit an Essay.  This year’s essay topic was to relate an inspiring story about how DCLRC services and staff have helped your case or career, or any time when we have made a positive difference for you or someone you know.  In addition to these activities, free sweet treats were available to library visitors all week long, and they were a hit; we went through 16 dozen cookies (collectively, of course). 

I hope you had a chance to stop in, see the decorations, and grab an oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, or peanut butter cookie while they lasted.  Fortunately NLW is an annual celebration, so if you missed out this year remember us next April. Please email me with suggestions for future National Library Week games and activities.  I would love to put together something new and fun ...maybe a Courthouse/Legal Resource Center scavenger hunt??  Send an email to Lisa Winkler with anything you think would be a fun way to celebrate libraries and their importance to our communities and daily lives.  Thank you to everyone who participated in our National Library Week festivities.  This year was a huge success; I hope to see you all again next year.  And tell a friend or colleague about it, or better yet, bring them with you next time.  The more the merrier!

DCLRC 2009 “Submit an Essay” Winner: Deb Rochon,* Dane County Jury Clerk

I have been asked to write an essay—so here it goes.  How has the DCLRC helped or made a positive difference for me or someone I know?  First of all, I go there every day.  Faxes from people responding to juror summonses come back to the Legal Resource Center’s fax machine, so I stop in and check for new ones at least once a day.  Additionally, while in the Legal Resource Center I have noted on many occasions that both Lisa and Kristin are very helpful with people who come in off the street to find resources about their legal matters, whether their questions are about filing for divorce, small claims, or any other matters.  Both of them deserve an award for listening to and helping all these people because, as we all know, there is a lot to know regarding the range of topics that come up each and every day.  I have observed much patience from both of these women and am proud that we residents here in Dane County have such an understanding and helpful staff that, again, should be commemorated.  Without going on and on, I just want to say thank you to Lisa and Kristin for a doing a job that doesn’t get much recognition from others, and for doing it well.  All in all, that is why I think these two ladies make a positive difference everyday for many of the people who visit the library.  I am proud to know them and to be able to see their great communication and knowledge skills in action at the DCLRC.

*Printed with permission.

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This Just In… – Julie Tessmer

New Titles

Bankruptcy and the Supreme Court, by Kenneth N. Klee
LexisNexis, 2008
Call Number: KF 1524 .K54 2008

The author examines 111 years of Supreme Court bankruptcy decisions from 1898 through 2008 from six different perspectives. Mr. Klee’s well-researched treatise studies the business and habits of the Supreme Court as it decides conflicts between federal and state laws in regards to bankruptcy matters.

Making E-Discovery Affordable, by Donald A. Wochna
National Business Institute, 2009
Call Number: KF 8902 .E42 W62 2009

Find out how to identify sources of discoverable information, how to properly request production of documents and what “crawl vs. clone” means in the E-discovery process. 

Wisconsin Titles

Workers’ Compensation Law, by Thomas M. Domer
Thomson West, 2009
Call Number: KFW 2930 .W72 v.17

This title is issued annually as part of the Wisconsin Practice Series. Practitioners may find that the most helpful part of this volume is the appendix, which is chock full of checklists, charts, sample forms and letters.

Property Taking through Eminent Domain in Wisconsin, by Mark Hazelbaker
National Business Institute, 2009
Call Number: KFW 2850 .A75 M23 2009

This recent seminar includes a case law update, explains how to effectively navigate an eminent domain action, and provides strategies for settling an action.

Financial Responsibility Law for Motor Vehicle Accidents, by Joyce L. Kiel
Wisconsin Legislative Council, 2009
Call Number: KFW 2418 .L43 2009-2010 IM 2009-01

Also available on the internet.


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 in Brief – Heidi Yelk

Free Markup Tool for PDF Documents

In a previous Tech Tip column, I highlighted two of my favorite free PDF creation tools, CutePDF and PDFredirect.   These tools are great for converting most any document into PDF format. 

But what if you want to “mark up” that document – highlight some text, circle an important paragraph, add some notes to the margin?   You need a PDF annotator to edit your PDF documents.  Most PDF annotators are sold as fee-based upgrades to PDF reader products.

However, I recently came across a free annotator that works quite well.  PDF-XChange Viewer is both a document viewer and a PDF annotator.  It’s by Tracker Software Products Ltd and works on Windows operating systems.  It provides a variety of markup tools, including a stamping tool that can be customized with your own images. It also allows you to embed hyperlinks.  This program is easy to use - simply open a PDF document, add annotations, and save.  

You can download the free version through the company’s webpage or at CNET.

Twitter and the TinyURL

With the increase buzz around Twitter, the demand for URL shortening tools such as TinyURL has skyrocketed. Twitter, if you’re not familiar, operates a bit like a mini-blog.  Posts (or Tweets) are limited to 140 characters.  Thus, when pointing users to information elsewhere on the web, as many business Twitterers are apt to do, a writer wants to save characters by using a short URL. 

TechBeat recently provided a run-down of the many URL shortening services available and a link to an interesting discussion on the pitfalls of shortened URLs.

Tech Tip Reader Comment

Carol Ebbinghouse, Law Librarian with the California Court of Appeal, 2nd District in Los Angeles, sent us this comment in response to our March 2009 Tech Tip on laptop cooling pads: “Once upon a time I was at my brother's place using a laptop on the dining room table for a few hours, and the beveled glass top snapped in half.  That was expensive!!!”  Carol went on to say that the laptop she now has stays cool enough that she can actually use it on her lap.

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Odds ‘n’ Endings – Amy Crowder

On May 29th, 1848, Wisconsin became the 30th state to join the Union. 

Did you know…?

  • Our library, first known as the Wisconsin State Library, was founded with the Wisconsin Territory by an Act of Congress in 1836 and is the oldest library in the state.
  • We also have the journals of the 1846 and 1847 Wisconsin constitutional conventions.  The first draft of the constitution was rejected by voters in 1847; the current Wisconsin Constitution was adopted on March 13, 1848.  “Wisconsin is one of only 19 states still using their original constitutions; only five states, all in New England, have constitutions older than ours.” 1 2

You can learn more about the Wisconsin Constitution, by reading Jack Stark’s The Wisconsin State Constitution: a Reference Guide or Milo M. Quaife’s four volume set on the journey for and attainment of statehood.  


1. Shirley S. Abrahamson, Foreword to Jack Stark, The Wisconsin State Constitution: a Reference Guide, at xviii (1997).

2. The nineteen states are:  Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  Robert L. Maddex, State Constitutions of the United States, xxxii-xxxvi (2006).

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



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