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

What's new -- Amy Crowder   Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk

National Library Week at WSLL
We enjoyed visiting with fellow Supreme Court staff on April 20 during the library's annual National Library Week court coffee hour. Jon Green, Westlaw account representative, was also on hand to answer Westlaw questions and award some door prizes. Special thanks to everyone who took our Into the Stacks board game challenge. We enjoyed using our creative juices to associate popular board games with different areas of the law, in order to highlight the variety of materials available in the library.

Google Basics and Beyond
Julie Tessmer, Deputy Law Librarian, and Amy Crowder, Web Resources Librarian/Cataloger, presented Google Basics and Beyond during National Library Week at the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center. Participants in the brown bag class learned both serious searching techniques as well as the lighter side of Google, such as finding recipes, tracking packages and checking flight statuses.

WSLL presentation at ETF
Heidi Yelk, Reference/Electronic Services Librarian, demonstrated features of the Wisconsin Legislature website to Wis. Dept. of Employee Trust Fund staff in April. Heidi showed the group how to locate current and historical bills, acts, statutes, and administrative code sections. She also introduced the new Wisconsin Legislative Notification System, to which people can subscribe and receive daily or weekly emails about pending legislation. Heidi also demonstrated the legislative drafting records available on the University of Wisconsin Law Library website.

New Dane Co. Family Court Resource Booklet
Through a collaborative effort of the Dane County Family Court (Family Court Commissioner's office, Child Support Agency, Family Court Counseling Services) and the Dane County Legal Resource Center, a new edition of the Dane County Family Court Resource Booklet was recently published. Substantial changes and enhancements to the booklet include a glossary and a Frequently Asked Questions section. Print copies are available for $3.00 each from Family Court Counseling Services (Room 108) or the Dane County Legal Resource Center (Room 315) in the Dane County Courthouse, 210 MLK, Jr. Blvd., Madison, and it’s also available on the Internet. While the booklet was designed with pro se litigants' needs in mind, all family law experts are encouraged to provide feedback. Comments should be directed to Paula Seeger, Librarian, Dane County Legal Resource Center at paula.seeger@wicourts.gov or (608) 266-6316.


Taming Microsoft Word’s AutoCorrect Feature
I consider myself a casual user of Microsoft Word; I know enough to get along but not enough to exert full control over the program. It is casual users like me who often get frustrated with the “helpful” features of Microsoft Word. One of those features is AutoCorrect. As the name implies, AutoCorrect automatically corrects text as you type. Often these are helpful corrections, such as changing WIsconsin to Wisconsin or teh to the. Problems arise, however, when AutoCorrect starts changing words and symbols that you do not want changed. Perhaps the best example in legal settings is the copyright symbol being inserted in place of (c). When you type Wis. Stat. 252.17(3)(c), Word automatically changes it to 252.17(3)©. This starts the frustrating process of erasing the © and trying to insert (c). But before you can hit the space bar, Word has changed (c) to ©, and the battle begins. The solution? Customize AutoCorrect to fit your needs.

Under the Tools menu, select AutoCorrect. With the AutoCorrect tab displayed, note the grid near the bottom called “Replace text while you type.” The first column shows text, such as (c). The second column shows that whenever that text is typed, it will automatically be replaced with ©. The list of “replacements” can be very extensive. Note that (r) is automatically replaced with ® and (tm) is automatically replaced with ™. In addition, common spelling errors are automatically corrected.

You have several options for taming AutoCorrect. One is to simply uncheck the features you don’t want. Uncheck the “Replace text while you type” box and most AutoCorrections will cease. You can also delete individual sections of the grid: click on the feature to highlight it, click the Delete button at the bottom of the window, then click OK. Of course, there are times that you will want to use the © or ® symbols. You can still use the AutoCorrect feature for these symbols. Instead of deleting the symbol entirely from the “Replace text while you type box,” simply change the text that relates to the symbol. For example, replace (c) with another word or text, such as “ccc.” Then whenever you type ccc, the copyright symbol © will appear.

Other tabs in the AutoCorrect window include AutoFormat as You Type, AutoText and AutoFormat. Features within these tabs can also be modified to fit your needs. Of particular interest is AutoText. This is the little “helper” that tries to finish your word or words before you can. For example, you begin typing “attention” and a little yellow bubble floats above your text with the word “attention.” To accept that word, simply hit the enter key. You can add more words and phrases by customizing the AutoText tab. You can also turn off this feature by removing the check from the box next to “Show AutoComplete tip for AutoText and dates.”

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

WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp   Learn @ The Law Library

This month's column concentrates on new or improved Wisconsin-related resources.

Wisconsin Court System Gets a New Look
The Wisconsin Court System website was recently redesigned in order to provide better organization of resources and make things easier to find. Check it out at www.wicourts.gov.

If you’ve previously experienced difficulties accessing online Wisconsin Briefs, you’ll be very pleased to know that they are now available in .pdf (i.e. Acrobat) format! Coverage begins with 173 Wis.2d. (June 11, 1991). Search for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals briefs. For information about searching, opening, saving, or viewing the briefs, consult the Quick Guide.

Prescription Drugs
The State of Wisconsin Prescription Drug Resource Center provides information about ordering drugs from Canada. This site also includes information about recent Medicare changes, health-care related resources for WI residents, and numerous FAQs. Visit the Center.

Public Land Survey Records
Between 1833-1866 the land now known as the State of Wisconsin was surveyed by the federal government in order to divide public domain land into salable-size lots. As the land was divided, surveyors recorded their work in notebooks that have become known as field notes. These original notebooks may now be viewed online.

WisStat, another service of UW's Applied Population Laboratory, provides a vast array of demographic data for Wisconsin. Follow the detailed instructions in Steps 1-3 to select a geographical unit, apply the desired filter, and view the results. Demos showing how to select a geography or a table are provided. Visit WisStat.

Wisconsin Naturally: A Guide to 150 Great State Natural Areas
Available for purchase from the DNR, this attractive Guide provides a brief description of the plants, animals, and natural communities found in 150 state natural areas. Maps and driving directions are included for each description. Descriptions for many of the areas included in the Guide are also available online. Purchase Guide or Find a State Natural Area by name, county, or map on the Endangered Resources site.

Wisconsin Local Government
This section of the Library's website now provides links to local ordinances, town law forms, a directory of WI Cities, Villages, Townships, and Unincorporated Places, and more. Visit WI Local Government.

  At press time there are still some openings in our May and June hands-on classes. On May 5, learn about using online Wisconsin Briefs. On May 13, learn how to use Google to its full potential. On June 2, join guest instructor Pete Cannon, Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, for a look at online legislative history resources. For complete class descriptions and registration information, please visit our Classes & Tours webpage.

Legal Research Tip o’ the Month

Q. Where can I find plain-English explanations of Wisconsin bills and acts?

A. Each bill that is introduced in the Legislature includes a legislative analysis, prepared by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. The analysis states what the current law is, and how the bill would change it. If you know the bill number, use this Wisconsin Legislature search form to access the bill history. For example, retrieve Assembly Bill 570 from the 2003 Regular Session. When viewing the history, click on the bill number link at the top left to view the analysis and bill text. If you don’t know the bill number, browse or search the Legislative Reference Bureau’s Subject Index to Senate & Assembly Bills, Joint Resolutions, Resolutions & Petitions and click on the bill number link to view full text.

Beginning with the 2003-2004 legislative session, if a bill has been amended during the legislative process, it might include an Amendment Memo explaining how the amendment changes the original bill. A link to the Amendment Memo is provided at the top right of the bill history.

Prior to the 2003-2004 session, a few selected Wisconsin Acts (i.e. enacted bills) had accompanying legislative, informational or staff memoranda, providing background and explanation of the new law. Starting with the 2003-2004 session, every Wisconsin Act will have what is now called an Act Memo, which clearly states what the (now former) law was, how the Act changes it, and the effective date of the Act. Just as with Amendment memos, a link to the Act memo is provided at the top right of its corresponding bill history. Since the 2003-2004 session ended just a few weeks ago and some bills are just now being approved and signed into law, several Act Memos are not yet available. To verify whether a bill has been enacted, scroll to the bottom of the bill history and look for the Act number and/or an indication of approval, veto, or other final action.

Act and Amendment Memos are written by staff of the Wisconsin Legislative Council, and complete lists of the memos in bill or act number order are also available on their website.

Odds 'n' Endings -- Connie Von Der Heide

Did you know that in Wisconsin, sales tax is applied to the purchase of disposable diapers but not cloth ones? This and other “oddities” from around the country made the list of Taxware.com’s Top 10 Most Unusual Sales Tax Laws for 2004.

For more information about Wisconsin sales and use tax, see these Wis. Dept. of Revenue Tax Publications.

Notables for May

May is National Foster Care Month. Visit the National Foster Parent Association website and also the brand new Foster Care and Child Welfare Service topics on our Legal Topics webpage.

50th Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that segregation of public schools “solely on the basis of race” denied black children equal educational opportunity, even though “physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may have been equal.” The plaintiff’s case was argued by Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice. The University of Michigan Library has created a Digital Archive containing documents and images chronicling this historic decision up to the present.

160th anniversary of the first telegraph. On May 24, 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse used his dot-and-dash code to transmit the words “What hath God wrought?” across his newly completed experimental electric telegraph line from the old Supreme Court chamber in the Capitol in Washington, DC to Baltimore. Within ten years, the Morse code system connected American cities with over 23,000 miles of wire. (As reported in the May 2004 issue of Smithsonian, page 15.) See this About.com article for more on the history of telegraphy.

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!