Wisconsin State Law Library

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

What's new -- Julie Tessmer   Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk

Paula Seeger, Reference/Outreach Services Librarian at the Dane County Legal Resource Center (DCLRC), was presented with a Community Professional Service Award at the Dane County Bar Association's annual Law Day Pro Bono Breakfast on April 30. Dane County Circuit Court Judges Sarah O’Brien and Gerald Nichol presented Paula with a carved plaque in recognition of her dedicated service in providing legal information to the public.

The DCLRC offers court forms (mainly for family law but also some others), books on self-representation, and basic legal research classes for non-lawyers. "Oftentimes people don't know how to verbalize their legal problem,” said Paula, “so we try to translate their frustration into options using our resources." The DCLRC also serves the Dane County Circuit Court, city and county agencies, and private attorneys, and it fills legal information requests submitted by Dane County Jail inmates.

Paula is very honored to have received this award, and she looks forward to continuing the DCLRC’s service to the Dane County community. In the future, she hopes to provide more programs for the public that explain the court system’s structure and procedures. She would also like to expand the formats in which legal information services are offered to include video presentations and interactive court forms. Another priority is expansion of services to users for whom English is a second language.

The staff of the Wisconsin State Law Library heartily congratulates Paula!


Faxing without a fax machine

Did you know you don’t need a fax machine to send and receive faxes? Online fax services allow you to send and receive faxes using your email account.

Services such as efax.com, faxaway.com, myfax.com, and maxemail.com provide users with an inbound “fax number” which routes to the company’s Internet server where the fax is converted into digital format and sent to your email account, usually as an attached document. The service also allows you send faxes from your computer, using the service as an intermediary between your computer and the destination fax machine. Generally, no special software is required. Cost varies and usually includes a monthly service fee and per page fee.

For a list of services see: Free Faxing by David Berger or How can I send a fax from the Internet? by Kevin Savetz.

Reader Feedback

We received some excellent feedback on last month’s Tech Tip column
about MS Word’s AutoCorrect feature. Madison attorney Christopher Wren wrote to share some savvy tips for using AutoCorrect in a legal setting. Mr. Wren writes:

“AutoCorrect works nicely as a way of correctly formatting citations. For example, I set "w2d", "wis2", and "wis2d" to autocorrect to "Wis. 2d"; "nw2" and nw2d" to autocorrect to "N.W.2d"; "7cir" to autocorrect to "7th Cir."; and so forth.

“In addition, for some commonly used case-law citations, AutoCorrect can expand a few keystrokes into a complete citation. In my line of work, for instance, the Machner decision plays a big role. So, I've set "machnerfull" to expand to the full citation of "State v. Machner, 92 Wis. 2d 797, 285 N.W.2d 905 (Ct. App. 1979)", and "machnershort" to expand to the short citation of "Machner, 92 Wis. 2d 797".

“I find this technique is easier than constructing macros, improves accuracy in citations, and allows me to use some simple, consistent, intuitive mnemonic devices for creating and using autocorrections.”

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

WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp   Learn @ The Law Library -- Connie Von Der Heide

Everything Old is …Accessible Again

Numerous libraries, museums, galleries, and other organizations are making their resources accessible on the Internet. Ventures range from the ambitious, such as Project Gutenberg and the Colorado Digitization Program, to the more modest, such as Wisconsin's Great Lakes Maritime History Project and Milwaukee Neighborhoods: Photos and Maps 1885-1992.

Providing worldwide access to regional historical records is often a primary goal of such digitization projects. Examples include these significant collections:

American Memory
This Library of Congress endeavor provides access to a wide range of resources on the history and culture of the United States. Topics range from the expected (politics, history, law) to the perhaps unexpected (baseball cards, ballroom dance instruction manuals, films showing factory operations at Westinghouse). To see a list of all collections or to select by topic, span of years or geographic region, visit the Collection Finder page.

Wisconsin Historical Society
WHS has digitized thousands of pages of text and images. Explore newspaper articles from 1850-1950 in Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles, read eyewitness accounts of North American exploration in American Journeys, or order photographs and other images from the Wisconsin Historical Images collection.
For annotated links to more Wisconsin-related projects, visit the WHS Digital Collections page.

University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Access the State of Wisconsin Collection to find materials related to our state's history and development, visit the Ecology and Natural Resources Collection containing the Aldo Leopold papers, or explore the Wisconsin Pioneer Experience: A Digital Collection of Original Sources Documenting 19th-century Wisconsin History. Visit UWDC Collections.

Interested in law-related historical materials? Links to collections such as Wisconsin's Legal History, Salem Witch Trials, Slaves in the Court, Making of America, Nuremberg Trials Project and many more are on our Historic Documents page.

  Back by popular demand, “SOS -- Start Out Smart: A Class for Summer Associates” helps summer associates get started on the right legal research foot. Participants learn the right questions to ask when given a research assignment; discover smarter ways to compile legislative and Judicial Council histories; examine selected “timesaver” treatises, looseleaf services and other secondary sources; and take a guided tour of the library. Register for either Tuesday, June 8 or Thursday, June 10, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. The fee is $50.00 per participant and the classes meet in our Computer Training Room. For more information and to register your summer associates, contact Tammy Keller by email tammy.keller@wicourts.gov or at 608-261-7553.

Register today to reserve your spot in our July 7 hands-on class “The Wisconsin Court System Website: What’s On It For Me,” and our August 4 class, “WSLL Web Tour.” For complete information and registration forms, please visit our Classes & Tours page.

Legal Research Tip o’ the Month: Department? Which Department?!

While reading a Wisconsin statute, have you ever come across a sentence that includes the words “the department” and had difficulty figuring out which department is being referred to? Here’s a tip that might help you out.

Many statute chapters contain a section called “definitions.” Not always, but quite often it’s the first section of the chapter. So this is always the first place to look for the definition of “department” or other terms within that chapter. What if the chapter you’re in does not have a “definitions” section, or it does but “department” is not defined there? That probably means this is one of several chapters on the same general topic, and an earlier chapter contains the definition you need. But instead of looking back chapter by chapter till you find it, use the Statutes Table of Contents (TOC), found at the beginning of volume 1 of the printed statutes and on the Wisconsin Statutes website (see it in red, just above the search boxes). The TOC not only lists the chapter names and numbers, but it also groups the chapters by topic. The first chapter listed under a topic will likely contain the “definitions” section you need.

When you find out which department it is, remember to also check the Wisconsin Administrative Code for any regulations the department may have created in order to carry out its statutory duties. I’ll provide some tips on using the Administrative Code next month!

Odds 'n' Endings

Some Noteworthy Statistics

28% -- Proportion of U.S. public libraries that offered Internet access in 1996

95% -- Proportion of libraries that offer Internet access today

17% -- Increase in U.S. library attendance in the past six years

11 million – Number of taxpayers who filed their income tax returns on the Internet, up 21% from last year

34.2 million – Number of returns e-filed by accountants, up 14% from last year

Sources: The New York Times and the IRS, as reported in the May 3, 2004 issue of Time magazine, page 19.

Notables for June

It’s National Flag Month, and June 14 is Flag Day, commemorating the adoption of the Stars and Stripes on that date in 1777. For more information about flags of all kinds, visit our Reference Tools webpage and scroll down to the category “Symbols & Customs.”

June 19 is Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers finally arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free. Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement.

June 25 is LEON Day. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. It is now six months until Christmas Day.

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!