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WSLL @ Your Service   Jan. 2005
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

Holiday Closing: WSLL, MLRC and DCLRC will be closed Monday, January 17 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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

WSLL Librarian Featured in Madison Magazine Article
Heidi Yelk, Reference/Electronic Services Librarian, was recently interviewed by Madison Magazine for an article about law librarianship. The article appears in the January issue and is also available online. Well done, Heidi!

Tessmer Visits Libraries and Law Libraries in Serbia
In mid-November I had the opportunity to serve as a law library consultant for the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) Rule of Law project in the Republic of Serbia. The project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), includes studies on reducing case backlogs and improving efficiency in the courts, and assisting law schools in developing curriculum.

My assignment involved visiting and assessing court library collections in the cities of Novi Pazar, Kragujevac and Belgrade. I was able to meet with judges, court administrators and librarians at several court levels including Magistrate, Municipal, District and Supreme Court. I will be making recommendations on how the libraries in these courts can improve service to the judges and court staff.

One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the National Library of Serbia in Belgrade. The equivalent to our Library of Congress, the National Library of Serbia was founded in 1832 and has over 5 million publications in its collection, including handwritten books dating back to the 12th century. There is a large preservation section that focuses primarily on preserving Serbian language materials. During my tour I saw a manuscript from one of the oldest monasteries in Serbia that was being restored.

I also had the opportunity for a brief visit to the American Corners library in Belgrade. The Corners are small libraries funded by the U.S. Department of State and set up through U.S. Embassies. Their purpose is to provide local residents a variety of information about America. The collections include both fiction and non-fiction materials by popular American authors, as well as videos, magazines and newspapers. Corners libraries are staffed by bilingual librarians who also coordinate programs and lectures about the United States.

I did have some leisure time to enjoy the capital city of Belgrade. The city center includes a large pedestrian mall filled with shops, artists and coffee houses. My favorite memory is of sipping Turkish coffee, listening to street musicians and people watching.


  Cell Phones, Telemarketing and Wireless 411 Service
Did you know that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 places many restrictions on telemarketing calls to wireless phone numbers? (See 68 Federal Register 44165, July 25, 2003, available on GPO Access.) Despite this protection, an alarming -- but false -- email has been circulating recently, warning that after January 1, 2005 telemarketers will be able to call cell phone numbers unless consumers place themselves on the National Do-Not-Call List. The email states that the deadline to register was Dec. 15, 2004.

The emergence of this hoax email seems to have coincided with an announcement that several wireless companies plan to compile a 411 directory of cell phone numbers. To add to the confusion, information warning that telemarketers may soon be calling cell phone numbers was reported on national broadcast news. CBS reported that the directory would be put on the Internet.

Here are some general facts about this issue:

  • It is unlawful to make any call using an automatic telephone dialing system or artificial or prerecorded message to any wireless telephone number. See 47 USC 227(b)(1).
  • The National Do-Not-Call List accepts both landline and cellular phone numbers, and you can register at any time. If you regularly give out your cell phone number, you may wish to put it on the Do-Not-Call List.
  • As of January 1, 2005 telemarketers will be required to comply with a new law that requires them to “scrub” their solicitation lists every 31 days.
  • Wireless 411 directory assistance may be available sometime in 2005. According to the company coordinating the database: consumers will be able to opt-in to the directory; the directory will not be published; and the phone numbers will only be available to operator service centers (the folks who currently provide the standard landline 411 service).
  • A pending bill in Congress, the Wireless 411 Privacy Act (available on Thomas; retrieve by bill number, S. 1963) may affect cell phone directory service. Consumer groups are advocating opt-in provisions.

For more information on the email hoax and Wireless 411 service, see this Snopes article.

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

This Just In… -- Pete Boll   WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp

This month’s featured titles include:

NEW! Brown at 50: The Unfinished Legacy : a collection of essays / edited by Deborah L. Rhode and Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. American Bar Association, 2004.
Call number: KF4155 .B76 2004

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the ABA has brought together attorneys who were involved in the case as well as current U.S. Supreme Court justices, legal scholars, and historians to discuss the landmark decision that called for an end to segregation in our nation’s public schools. The essays included also discuss the importance of the Brown decision on issues of quality, segregation, and equal opportunity in public education.

UPDATED! West's Encyclopedia of American Law / Jeffrey Lehman, editor, Shirelle Phelps, editor. 2nd edition. Thomson/Gale, 2005.
Call number: KF154 .W47 2004

The 13 volume 2nd edition of the encyclopedia explains in everyday language nearly 5,000 terms, concepts, events, movements, cases, and persons significant to U.S. law. Enhancements to the 2nd edition include two appendix volumes:

  • Milestone Cases in the Law – allows readers to explore in-depth landmark cases in U.S. law and to analyze the reasoning of the judges and the arguments of the attorneys involved.
  • Primary Documents – contains more than 60 primary documents such as the English Bill of Rights, Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, and several presidential speeches.

UPDATED! Legal Opinion Letters : A Comprehensive Guide to Opinion Letter Practice / M. John Sterba, Jr., editor. Aspen, 2003–
Call number: KF250 .D73

Updated for 2004, this treatise covers all substantive areas of legal opinion practice including corporate, real estate, securities and tax among others. Special attention is given to exposure to liability, an area of great concern in opinion practice. Presented in a practical, easy-to-use format, each chapter contains sample language and tables, and contains cross-references where helpful. Highlights of the 2004 supplement include:

  • Discussion of the new North Carolina Bar Association Report on Third-Party Legal Opinions in Business Transactions
  • Ongoing discussion of Revised Article 9 of the UCC and the 2003 TriBar Report on Security Interest Opinions
  • New analysis of proposed IRS regulations setting forth “best practices” for tax advisors and modifying the standards for issuing tax shelter opinions

"I Do Solemnly Swear..."

As the upcoming Presidential inauguration approaches, let's take a look at some of the "firsts" and "notables" surrounding both inaugural ceremonies and the presidency.

Did you know that ... George Washington gave the shortest inaugural address (135 words) and William H. Harrison gave the longest (10,000 words)? ... William McKinley's 1897 inauguration was the first recorded by movie camera? ...Woodrow Wilson's 1917 inaugural parade was the first that women participated in? For more, visit the Precedents and Notable Events section of "I Do Solemnly Swear . . .": Presidential Inaugurations. This resource, which is part of the Library of Congress American Memory website, is a collection of inauguration-related diaries, letters, memorabilia, and more. It also includes the Oath of Office and a list of when, where, and by whom the Oath has been administered. Visit "I Do Solemnly Swear . . ."

Did you know that ... William H. Taft became Chief Justice after his presidency? ... James Garfield could simultaneously write Greek with one hand and Latin with the other? ... seven presidents have legally changed their names? And are you sure George Washington was the first President? To find out more, visit the Internet Public Library. For more about the first President, see also this article from the controversial Wikipedia.

Now that you know all of these facts, are you ready for an inauguration quiz? Test your knowledge about past Presidential inaugurations by taking NARA's (National Archives and Records Administration) quiz!

Lastly, if you ever find yourself preparing to be inaugurated as President, you might want to consider these rather tongue-in-cheek tips from the BBC!

For more information about U.S. presidents and the office of President, visit the Biographies section of our Reference Tools page; the U.S. Executive Branch section of our Federal Law page; and scan the Document Collections section of our Historic Documents page.

Odds 'n' Endings -- Amy Crowder

Happy New Year! Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet? We have a few for you!

  • Read WSLL@Your Service each month! Not on our email notification list yet? Email the editor to be added.
  • Take a hands-on legal research class at the State Law Library! The list of upcoming classes and registration information is always available on our Classes & Tours page. (And while you’re at it, add that page to your Favorites list, too!)
  • And finally, if organizing your home is on your New Year’s to-do list, please consider donating your gently used legal fiction and movies to our Prose & Cons collection.

Notables for January

4 - On this date in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson gave his "Great Society" State of the Union Address. Laws passed during the Johnson administration included the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Food Stamp Act of 1964, and the Criminal Justice Act of 1964.

12 – On this date in 1863, Jefferson Davis delivered the State of the Confederacy address. The American Memory digital collection contains both the Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States and the Confederate Constitution.

17 - Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706.

20 - In 1937, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first U.S. President sworn into office in January. The day marked the beginning of Roosevelt's second term in office. Prior to 1937, Inauguration Day was held on March 4, which at that time was the final day of the congressional session. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution declared that the terms of office of the President and Vice-President "shall end at noon on the 20th day of January". For more inaugural facts and firsts, visit the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies website.

30 - President James Madison, in 1815, approved an act of Congress appropriating $23,950 for the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's Library of 6,487 volumes. The original Library of Congress had been destroyed by fire when the British burned the U.S. Capitol during the War of 1812. Jefferson's collection included works on a wide variety of subjects in several languages, expanding the scope of the destroyed collection. Thinking that Congress might argue the collection was too wide-ranging, Jefferson stated the collection contained "no subject to which a Member of Congress might not have occasion to refer.”

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!