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WSLL @ Your Service   Dec. 2004
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Friday, December 24 and Friday, December 31. All three libraries will be open regular hours throughout the rest of the holiday season.

What's New   This Just In... -- Pete Boll

You’re Invited
You are cordially invited to the Wisconsin State Law Library’s annual holiday open house on Wednesday, December 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. Please join us for good food and conversation. Happy Holidays!

WSLL Website Wins “Webbie” Award

The Wisconsin State Law Library website has won the 2004 Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) "Webbie" award for Best Reference Site. The award was announced November 3 during the WLA annual conference in Lake Geneva. The WSLL website was one of nine nominees in the Best Reference Site category.

The WLA Media and Technology Section awarded "Webbies" in four different categories plus best of show. A complete list of recipients is available on the MATS webpage.

Launched in 1999, the WSLL website is designed and maintained by Amy Crowder, Web Resources Librarian/Cataloger and Elaine Sharp, Technical Services Librarian. Congratulations, Amy & Elaine, on this recognition of your award-winning web work!

New Staff

Angela Andres has joined the WSLL staff as a part time looseleaf & supplement filer, and she also does document delivery and fills in at the Circulation Desk as needed. Angela recently graduated from the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies and also works part time in the Wisconsin Veterans Museum conservation lab. Welcome, Angela!



We’re pleased to debut this new column in which Pete Boll, Acquisitions Librarian, highlights brand new titles, new editions of existing titles, and supplements or updates to current subscriptions that have recently been added to our print collection. For additional information about any of the items listed, please consult our online catalog or contact our Reference Desk.

NEW The Criminal Records Manual: The Complete National Reference for the Legal Access and Use of Criminal Records by Derek Hinton. 2nd edition. Facts on Demand Press, 2004
Call number: Reference KF 9751 .H56 2004

This revised edition of the Criminal Records Book (2002) provides useful information on obtaining and using criminal record information. It covers:

  • Privacy issues with regard to criminal records
  • Criminal records sources at the county, state, and federal level
  • Employer and vendor guidelines to accessing and using criminal records
  • Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
  • and much more!

NEW Funding of Living Trusts by Carla Neely Freitag. American Bar Association, 2004. Call number: KF 734 .F74 2004

This book provides a detailed overview of the funding process from initial client contact through completion and proposes effective roles for both the attorney and client in order to get the trust funding completed. It emphasizes the importance of trust funds in estate planning and suggests proper roles for attorneys and clients; provides practical information at the funding process in general and the funding of specific assets; collects and analyzes existing case law, statutes, and treatises on the necessity of trust funding as well as on specific funding issues; and provides guidance for representing successor trustees, beneficiaries, and heirs at law. Sample forms are included.

UPDATED Legal Rights of Persons With Disabilities: An Analysis of Federal Law by Bonnie P. Tucker and Bruce A. Goldstein. LRP Publications, 1991-
Call number: KF 480 .T82

Updated for 2004, this 2-volume treatise explains what is required, permitted, and guaranteed by federal disability laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Act. It also explores the boundaries of acceptable behavior under the laws and analyzes recent court decisions.

WSLL Web -- Amy Crowder Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk

'Tis the Season to be Shopping…
It's the most wonderful time of the year, when the end of the checkout line is miles away, computers are running into the silent night, and credit card balances are going up through the chimney. All to buy that perfect gift. But what can you do if your purchase turns out not to be so perfect? Visit the Consumer Law section of our Legal Topics page for resources that can help you both before and after your holiday shopping.

Our Consumer Protection topic links to sources of consumer product safety information and ways to file a consumer complaint. Several sites offer information on recalls. For instance, Recalls.gov is a one-stop-shop for recall information from the federal government, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission provides recall & product safety news and offers email recall notification lists for children’s, household, and other products. The Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection website has fact sheets on consumer topics such as safe toys and holiday shopping, publishes the Keep Your Kids Safe Newsletter, and provides guides to consumer law.

Remember, products that pose a hazard may have still made it to store shelves.  ToySafety.net contains a list of toys that are potential choking hazards. The website is sponsored by the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups. According to the Association, these dangerous toys were available in stores in September and October 2004. The website also offers Tips for Toy Safety to help parents, grandparents, caregivers and other toy buyers avoid the most common hazards in toys.

The State Law Library's website offers other consumer law topics that may help you. The Internet Shopping topic links to the Consumer's Union eRatings Guide to Online Shopping, so you can check a webstore's rating before you buy anything from clothing to electronics. The Credit/Debt topic provides information on fair debt collection, how to correct credit errors and more. And if that perfect gift stops working, visit our Warranties topic.

Enjoy the season of dashing through the snow, laughing all the way. And throughout the coming year, check out all our consumer law topics: Consumer Protection, Credit/Debt, Direct Marketing, Identity Theft, Internet Shopping, Junk Mail/Email/FAX/Spam, Sweepstakes, Telemarketing/Telephone Shopping and Warranties. These and other topics are available on our Legal Topics page.


Shopping Online…Safely
If shopping at the mall is not your idea of holiday fun, you might consider online shopping. It’s convenient, fast and easy. But is it safe? How can you ensure that your Internet shopping experience is a happy one? Consumer advocates, including the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Reports, offer some of the following tips:
  • Shop reputable companies and buy from trustworthy sellers. Many online stores, such as Kohls and JCPenney, have brick and mortar locations consumers are already familiar with. If the business is “online only” review the company’s webpage to be sure it has legitimate contact information, such as a physical address, phone number and customer support line you can contact. If you are using e-bay, read the feedback comments and note the seller’s history.
  • Review the seller’s policies before buying. E-retailers should post procedures, such as return policies and shipping costs, on their web pages. Review the terms before you buy. Companies with both online and physical stores may offer easy returns or free shipping to their local outlets.
  • Make sure the website is secure. As you progress to checkout screen, verify that the site is secure before entering your credit card information. Both Internet Explorer and Netscape display a locked padlock in the lower right of the computer screen when a site is secure. This will ensure that your credit card information is encrypted.
  • Use a credit card. Should there be a problem with your order, payment can be withheld under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Also, many major credit card companies now offer full coverage if your credit card number is stolen or misused.
  • Keep a paper trail. Most e-commerce transactions end with a final receipt screen. Print or save the receipt for your records.
  • Protect your personal information. Read the company’s privacy policy to learn if they will share your name and address with other retailers. Opt out if you are not comfortable with this. Some sites offer accounts so return customers do not have to re-enter their credit card and address information. If you establish an account, keep your password secret. Also, be aware of phishing scams. Never use email to transmit sensitive information, such as credit card, social security or bank account numbers.
  • Order in time for gift giving and take advantage of shipping flexibility. Most e-retailers will ship your order to multiple locations. If you are traveling for the holidays, you can ship your gifts directly to their intended locations and forget about having to pack and transport them yourself.

For more information on online shopping, see the Federal Trade Commission’s Holiday Shopping page, Consumer Report’s website e-ratings page, the ABA’s Safeshopping.org site, and the Better Business Bureau’s Shopping Safely Online.

Send your suggestions for future legal research Tech Tips to the editor.

Learn @ The Law Library -- Connie Von Der Heide

Still need a few CLE credits this year? Still need to make good on that 2004 New Year’s resolution to learn more about web-based legal resources? Then register now for our December 7 class Using Wisconsin Legal Resources on the Internet. This half-day course focuses entirely on locating and using web-based Wisconsin legal and government information, including statutes, regulations, caselaw and much more. It is especially appropriate for attorneys, paralegals and legal assistants, and anyone who wants to improve their online Wisconsin legal research skills.

To register for this or any of our upcoming classes, please visit our Classes & Tours page.

Legal Research Tip o’ the Month
If your holiday wish is for a faster, easier way to keep current on what’s new in Wisconsin legal research, then your wish has been granted. WisBlawg, produced by Bonnie Shucha of the University of Wisconsin Law Library, brings you the latest in legal research news and Internet information, with an emphasis on Wisconsin. Bonnie does the work for you by reading over 40 legal research, library and technology blogs as well as other online and print resources, and compiling and archiving her “finds” in easy to navigate monthly lists.

Here’s a sample WisBlawg entry from November 18:

“As reported earlier, the Wisconsin Statutes and Annotations, Wisconsin Constitution and Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules on the Revisor of Statutes Bureau website now contain links from annotations to cited cases on the Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Court System website.

“And, according to Bruce Hoesly, Deputy Revisor of Statutes, WisLaw CD-Roms also have the case links to the Wisconsin Court System website. If a user is accessing the statutes or Constitution or Statutes from the WisLaw CD-Rom without a web browser running, clicking on the link, will open the browser and the link will be followed.”

Visit WisBlawg today, and while you’re there be sure to subscribe. It’s free, and you’ll receive an email alert each day Bonnie adds new information. How much easier can it get?!

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

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