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WSLL @ Your Service May 2010

WSLL Welcomes State Bar Convention Attendees

If you'll be in Madison for the State Bar of Wisconsin's annual convention May 5-7, we cordially invite you to visit the Wisconsin State Law Library. The library is located at 120 MLK, Jr. Blvd., just one short block from the Monona Terrace Convention Center. Hours are 8-5 M-F. We look forward to your visit!

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What's New – Connie Von Der Heide

Library Closings in May

WSLL, MLRC and DCLRC will be closed on Friday, May 28 for a designated furlough day, and on Monday, May 31 for the Memorial Day holiday.

Upcoming Classes

Registration is now open for legal research classes being held at WSLL this summer. June's class is on Wisconsin legislative history research; July's class will cover using LegalTrac, and August's class will focus on using the free Westlaw service available at WSLL and MLRC. For complete information and links to registration forms, please visit our Classes page.

National Library Week 2010

Michele Besant (left), librarian at the UW-Madison School of Information Studies, and Lisa Winkler, DCLRC librarian, with the 160 children's books donated to Kids Connection by WSLL & DCLRC library patrons during National Library Week.

National Library Week 2010 Wrap-Up

A big Thank You to everyone who helped us celebrate National Library Week! Many of our patrons participated in our contests and games, and enjoyed cookies and other treats. Special thanks to everyone who made our Kids Connection children's book drive a big success. 160 books were donated! The winner of WSLL's book drive donors drawing was Laurie Mlatawou, Court of Appeals Law Clerk, who received a copy of The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community, provided courtesy of Nolo.

Former WSLL Staffer "On the Run"

Art Saffran, part time CCAP employee formerly assigned to WSLL technology projects, has been involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training (TNT) since 2004, when he ran his first marathon in Anchorage, Alaska in memory of a friend who lost his battle with leukemia. Art now serves as a TNT marathon trainer and mentor, and this year he's been nominated for the Madison Chapter's Man of the Year Award. Find out more by visiting web pages of the Madison Man/Woman of the Year Campaign, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Team in Training. A big WSLL shout out to Art!



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This Just In… – Pete Boll

New Edition, Just Announced! The Blue Book: a Uniform System of Citation
19th edition
Published by Harvard Law Review Association, distributed by William S. Hein & Co., Inc.
Estimated for release in mid-May, so all 3 of our libraries will have it very soon!
Call Number Will Be: KF 245 .U55 2010

According to Hein, the 19th edition retains the same basic approach to legal citation established by its predecessors. The layout has been updated to make information easier to access. Some citation forms have been expanded, elaborated upon, or modified from previous editions to reflect the ever-expanding range of authorities used in legal writing and to respond to suggestions from the legal community.

New Edition: Red Flags: A Lawyer's Handbook On Legal Ethics, by Lawrence J. Fox and Susan R. Martyn
2nd Edition
American Law Institute-American Bar Association, 2010
Call Number: KF 306 .F69 2010

This new, expanded second edition covers recent developments in the law governing lawyers and developing issues such as:

  • Screens and imputed disqualification arising from possible conflicts of interest
  • E-Lawyering
  • Limits on the scope of representations
  • Rules requiring written fee agreements
  • Exceptions to rules concerning client confidentiality

It also includes in-depth coverage of problems and disputes concerning control of the attorney-client relations. The authors describe the attorney's sphere, the client's sphere, and areas in the attorney-relationship that are open for negotiation. A new chapter focuses on judicial ethics for lawyers and discusses how lawyers can prevent and deal with problems arising from ex parte communications, judicial bias, disqualification and recusal motions, and judicial selection.

New Title: Principles of the Law: Software Contracts, as adopted and promulgated by the American Law Institute, May 19, 2009
Call Number: KF 905 .C6 P75

A necessary component of the information age, software is owned and transferred differently from tangible goods. Traditional state contract law and the Uniform Commercial Code are not always appropriate to govern software transactions. The culmination of a five-year project, this new title in the Principles of the Law series provides analytical tools to guide transactions and to help lawyers, judges, and legislators meet the challenges of an industry that is an increasingly important share of the economy.


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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Click To It: Case Law Research with Google Scholar – Carol Hassler

What is Google Scholar?

This winter Google created a small news firestorm when it announced that it would now provide access to case law via Google Scholar. Already a search tool for journal articles and patents, Google Scholar was expanded to include Federal and state appellate and Federal trial court opinions.

Google hopes to "empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us all."

Google populated the Scholar database with a purchased collection of opinions from a third party provider. In addition, the database includes opinions from publicly available collections like Public.Resource.Org, the Cornell Legal Information Institute and Justia.

Scope of Cases Available

Indexed opinions include:

  • US Supreme Court opinions since the start of the US Reports (1791-)
  • Federal district, appellate, tax, and bankruptcy court opinions (1923-)
  • Appellate opinions for all 50 states (1950-)

Wisconsin coverage begins in 1950, in the middle of volume 256 Wis. The "oldest" Wisconsin case one of our librarians was able to find was La Duke v. Northern States 256 Wis 286, the first of several cases released on Feb. 7, 1950. Unpublished Wisconsin opinions from 1978-1995 are not available in Google Scholar.

Search methods

Scholar's search feels similar to the typical Google search box, except options for targeting select collections are available from the first screen.

Google Scholar's Quick Search Box

Google Scholar's Quick Search Box

Search by party or attorney name, subject keywords or phrases (in quotes), or citations.

Case citations are in Bluebook format. In order to search for a specific citation, be sure to type your citation in quotes (i.e. for the State v. Hanson radar case, type: "85 Wis 2d 233")

Avoid the temptation to only run simple searches from the quick search box; the advanced search feature is well worth bookmarking. Scholar's advanced search features allows for limits by state and jurisdiction, as well as by author or date (i.e. WI cases heard before P.J. Snyder in 1997). Be aware that there can be multiple versions of the same case in the search results, particularly with Federal cases.

Watch our tutorials at the end of this article for more search examples. Be sure to click over to Case Law Research with Google Scholar for links to more guides and advanced search tips.

Case Features on Google Scholar

The header of each case is uniformly organized to show citations, title, court, and dates. Many cases include page numbers on the left (mainly for US Reports, West Federal Reporters, and Wisconsin Reports). Though you can search by Northwestern Reporter citations, there are no page numbers for NW cites.

Each case includes two tabs. "View this case" displays the opinion, header, and page number. The "How cited" tab provides additional information related to the case.

Tabs on a Google Scholar Case

The "How cited" tab hosts links to related documents and a citation history for the case. The citation history includes the title and an excerpt from relevancy-ranked cases mentioning the main opinion. This tab also includes links to books, articles, and other cases under the "Cited by" heading.

Some article links may direct to HeinOnline. Researchers who need to use a WSLL library card number to log into HeinOnline must take note of the article citation and log into HeinOnline through our website before viewing the article.

Similar cases, books, and articles comprise the automatically-generated "Related documents".

Who Should Use Google Scholar?

Unlike Westlaw or Lexis, there are no case summaries or headnotes, no indicators of case status, and no citator service. Though lacking the interpretive features of some legal products, Google Scholar is useful for quick access to the text of opinions. Far better than a generic web search, Google Scholar's legal opinion search provides relevant related documents from the Google Scholar and Google Books universe. Those with a Google account will also find their preferred search settings saved when logged in.

Remember that Google Scholar is not the only place to search for free case opinions. For lists of sites offering free case law, see the court opinions links on our Wisconsin Law and Federal Law legal topic pages.


Basic Case Law Searching with Google Scholar from Wisconsin State Law Library on Vimeo.


Advanced Case Law Searching with Google Scholar from Wisconsin State Law Library on Vimeo.

Google Scholar Posts Cases, The Common Scold, November 2009

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Tech Tip in Brief – Heidi Yelk

Lawyers and Cloud Computing

When making a technology plan for your firm, there's always something new to think about. One of the latest concepts is "cloud computing." In his article "Computing in the Cloud" attorney Charles Bieneman provides a basic definition: "using hardware or software provided by another party over a network" – the network being the Internet.

One great advantage of cloud computing is that the service provider is responsible for software upgrades, storage space, backups, etc. Theoretically, this means less overhead for the law firm and more flexibility, since your data can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. However, storing work product off-site also raises concerns about data security and client confidentiality.

Even if your firm isn't using cloud computing, your clients might be. Many individuals use at least one of these five examples.

To learn more about "the cloud," check out these articles:

Before the iPad…

Apple is billing the iPad as a "magical and revolutionary product." However, as several writers have pointed out, tablet PCs are nothing new. In this article and slide show, Conrad Blickenstorfer, editor-in-chief of RuggedPCReview.com, analyzes the history of tablet PCs and provides images of prior attempts to succeed in the tablet market.

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