Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service   Oct. 2003
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

What's new -- Julie Tessmer   Learn @ The Law Library

State Law Librarian Jane Colwin taught sessions on using Loislaw for legal research at the Wisconsin Judicial College held in Wisconsin Dells September 15th-19th. Jane’s class was part of “Computer Solutions for Judges,” a hands-on training session aimed at veteran judges.

Jane Colwin and Connie Von Der Heide, Reference/Outreach Services Librarian, presented the “Legal Research in a Nutshell” class to over 20 librarians in the Waukesha County Federated Library System on September 12th. The class covered the basic resources used in conducting Wisconsin legal research, in both print and online formats.

Deputy Law Librarian Julie Tessmer, a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve since 1995, was recently promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer (E-7). Tessmer serves as a Chief Legalman with Legal Service Office 113, attached to the Naval Reserve Center in Chicago. Only twelve Legalmen in the entire Naval Reserve were selected for advancement to Chief Petty Officer this year.

Amy Crowder, Web Resources Librarian/Cataloger, gave birth to a son, Sean Paul Crowder on September 8th. Congratulations to Amy and her husband, Paul.


Did you know that October is Computer Learning Month? Why not celebrate by taking one of the State Law Library’s upcoming hands-on legal research training classes! The registration form is available on our Classes & Tours webpage .

Internet Tips & Tricks
Thursday October 23, 2003 8:30-10:00 a.m.
As increasing amounts of information become accessible on the Internet, the legal researcher faces enormous challenges and frustrations in locating legal information efficiently. In this hands-on session you’ll learn tips and tricks for using the Internet without losing your mind. Learn the difference between search engines and directories, and how to use them to locate information quickly. Discover the secrets of the "invisible web." Track Wisconsin appellate dockets. Utilize free legal research sites. Save time and money, and let someone else do the work for you, by using resources such as the State Law Library's web site as an Internet "legal yellow pages."
Fee: $50.00. Registration limited to 8. 1.5 CLE credits applied for.

Wisconsin Briefs Online
Wednesday November 5, 2003 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Streamline your search for briefs! This class covers Wisconsin Briefs available on the Internet. Learn how to identify the briefs filed in an appellate case, as well as basic searching techniques and TIFF file manipulation.
FREE Class. Registration is limited to 8.

Our website also links to many helpful guides for locating and using various legal resources, both print and electronic. Visit our homepage and click on Legal Research Guides in the lower right corner.

Need more help? Please contact our Reference Desk, and we’ll do our best to assist you!

WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp Tech Tip in Brief – Heidi Yelk

Whatever happened to OAG?
WSLL recently learned that, while we have not received any "Opinions of the Attorney General of the State of Wisconsin" (OAG) since Feb. 2001, our collection is in fact up-to-date. Two opinions were issued in early 2001, and none since then. Each of our libraries has a complete OAG set in print, and opinions from 1982 forward are available online.

Looking for Agency Decisions?
An increasing number of Wisconsin and Federal agencies are providing online access to their decisions. For links to Wisconsin agency decisions, look under Wisconsin Executive Branch on our Wisconsin Law page. For federal agency decisions, look under U.S. Executive Branch on our Federal Law page.

Business Wizard
Business Wizard is a new tool provided by the State of Wisconsin’s Build Your Business site. It provides "licensing, permitting and regulatory requirements" to help individuals "start and operate a Wisconsin-based business." Indicate choices by checking applicable boxes and this easy-to-use resource will return information regarding your chosen business structure, employees, taxes, etc. Some federal and local regulations are included. Visit the Wizard; visit Build Your Business.

FASB Statements
Financial Accounting Standards Board Statements are now available online. Full-text, summary, and status are provided for every statement issued since the FASB’s inception in 1973.

Project Vote Smart
Project Vote Smart is a "citizen's organization dedicated to serving all Americans with accurate and unbiased information for electoral decision-making." PVS provides extensive information about elected officials and political candidates. Biographical and contact information, speeches, voting records, issue positions, campaign finances, etc. are included. A section devoted to the 2004 presidential candidates has recently been added. A brief interactive tour will show you what information is available for each candidate and how to find your elected officials and candidates. Visit PVS.

Toolbar News
Google recently released a new version of its popular toolbar. Features such as a popup blocker, the ability to perform searches on whatever site you are visiting, the ability to highlight your search terms on the page you are viewing, plus many other options make this easy-to-install toolbar very useful for those searching the web. Learn more about or get the Google toolbar.

Altavista announced in August the launch of its toolbar. To download this new toolbar or for more information about it and how it compares with those offered by Google, Teoma, and Hotbot, visit SearchEngineWatch.com.

Everyone has an Opinion on Epinions
Find and compare items in categories such as: cameras, cars, computers, electronics, games, home & garden, movies, office supply, personal finance, restaurants, sports, travel, wellness, etc. Read or write an opinion on various products. Visit epinions.

Tips for Microsoft Word Users

Shrink to Fit
When creating a document in Word, you sometimes find that one or two sentences carry over to the next page, making what should be a single page document into a two page one. You can tighten things up and save a little paper by using the Shrink to Fit tool. Shrink to Fit will reformat your document to reduce it by one page: a five page document becomes four pages, a two page document is reduced to one page, etc. With your document open, click on File and choose Print Preview. In the Print Preview window, click the Shrink to Fit icon on the toolbar. The change is made automatically.

Know your Options
Under the Tools button, the Options selection is full of settings you can adjust in order to customize Word’s performance to your liking. For example, you can use the File Locations tab to change where files are stored. The default file storage location is the “My Documents” folder. To change it, highlight the file type (documents), click the Modify button, and choose a new default location. The next time you save a Word document, it will go to the new location.

Another setting under Options dictates how many files are listed in your “Recently Used Files” list (found near the bottom of the File menu). To change it, click the General tab in the Options window, and next to “Recently Used File List” change the number of files you would like listed, up to a maximum of 9. If you want to turn this option off completely, uncheck the box.

Beware of Email Impersonators

Several large companies and their customers have recently been victims of email impersonators. This scam starts with an email sent to customers asking them to verify information such as account numbers or credit card data. The email appears to come from the customer service department of the company, and even includes a clickable web address (URL) inviting the customer to visit the company’s customer service webpage. The URL generally leads to a “dummy” webpage that looks and feels just like the company’s real webpage. The goal of the email is to elicit enough personal and account information to steal the victim’s money or identity. Companies that have been victimized by this type of scam include Best Buy and PayPal. It is recommended that consumers never provide account information via email. For more information see this consumer alert from the Federal Trade Commission.

Send your suggestions for future Tech Tips to the editor.


Odds 'n' Endings -- Connie Von Der Heide

Notables for October

Oct. 16 - Dictionary Day. Birthday of Noah Webster, Father of the Dictionary, born 1758. Source

Oct. 20 - International Internet Day. October 20, 1999 was the first International Internet Day, celebrating 30 years of the Internet. Source

Oct. 26 - Standard Time resumes. Set clocks back one hour. Learn more about the time change and time zones at this Daylight Savings page and at the U.S. Government’s time site.

Oct. 31 - Halloween. Learn more about the origins of this spooky day from HistoryChannel.com and visit Madison-based WISC-TV Channel 3’s forthcoming Halloween Guide or area trick or treat times and other information.

Weirdness and Witches

This being the month of Halloween, it seems appropriate to highlight the Weird Wisconsin web site, mastered by Rick Hendricks. Rick, who is also a law librarian, has been researching and collecting information about Wisconsin “weirdnesses” for several years, and presents his findings and knowledge on this well-organized site. Take a look!

While the Salem Witchcraft Trials are not associated in any way with Halloween, they also came to mind while preparing this column (Halloween, witches…you get the idea). To learn more about them, visit the “Famous Trials” project by Doug Linder, professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. The project includes extensive materials on a number of historic and noteworthy cases, including the Salem Witchcraft Trials which took place June through September 1692.

You can also link to “Famous Trials” and many other historic legal resources and documents on the State Law Library’s Historic Documents webpage .


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

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