Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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WSLL @ Your Service  no. 1

  to the first issue of WSLL @ Your Service, an e-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL).
 Each issue will consist of a brief "Focus On" article and these regular columns:  "WSLL Web", "Tech Tip in Brief", "What's New at...", and "Odds 'n' Endings".  We hope you'll find some useful tidbits. 

Focus On:  WSLL

Looking for information on the Web? Want a book or journal article? Need a publisher phone number? Then call us. Library staff routinely:

  • provide legal information to Court staff, attorneys, government agencies & the public
  • mail books to court staff & attorneys in WI
  • fax, mail & email information
  • provide contact information about courts, publishers, organizations & people
  • help locate information on the web
  • teach classes on using legal resources as well as provide one-on-one training
  • maintain a website to direct users to legal resources
  • maintain a collection of Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals briefs


WSLL actually consists of 3 libraries: Wisconsin State Law Library (Madison), Dane County Law Library (Madison) and the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center.

So stop in, give us a call, drop us an email, or visit our website! Let us help you with your information needs!

Future Focus On:  topics will include "Accessing Briefs @ WSLL", "Judicial Council Materials : A Very Special Collection", "Using Listservs & Mailing Lists", "Native American Resources @ WSLL", "How to Access & Use Legal Resource Index",  "What is BadgerLink?"

WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp   Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk
Want to know if we have a certain book, video, or journal? Our catalog is now online. Search by title, author, or keywords. If you see a title you are interested in, give us a call & we'll mail it to you.

WSLL's catalog contains titles owned by the Wisconsin State Law Library, Dane County Law Library, and Milwaukee Legal Resource Center. Over 1,000 of these titles (mostly published by federal or state agencies) are linked to full-text versions on the Web.

Can't find what you want in the online catalog?  We can pinpoint what other libraries own by searching OCLC, an international database containing over 45,000,000 records of more than  38,000 libraries.  Let us suggest some options for obtaining your material as it may be possible to borrow from one of these libraries. 

Q: I prefer to get legal information free from the Internet but often I can't find what I'm looking for. What are some guidelines for knowing what's on the Internet and what isn't?

A: When searching for legal information on the Internet, consider the type, source and date of the information. First, are you seeking primary or secondary sources? Primary law (statutes, court decisions, regulations) is very likely to be provided free of charge on the Internet. A visit to an official court page, legislative page or government agency page is usually the best method of finding primary law. Secondary sources such as ALRs, CJS, AmJur, Restatements, and treatises are unlikely to be found free of charge on the Internet. These resources are published by private corporations which sell legal expertise and analysis. The exception is law reviews and journals. Many law schools and bar associations are now providing articles free on the Internet. Also, keep in mind the date of the information. Most legal sites begin coverage in the mid-1990's. Some provide more historical coverage but, in general, legal information dated prior to 1995 is less likely to be found on the Internet.

If you need assistance searching the Internet or locating information, please phone our reference librarians at 608-267-9696 or 800-322-9755.

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

What's New at... -- Amy Crowder Odds 'n' Endings -- Connie Von Der Heide
WSLL has been in its temporary location, the 2nd floor of One East Main St., for over one year. During this year, users have been able to enjoy access to the Internet and to an expanded current periodicals area in a quiet and comfortable environment. WSLL's permanent location will be in the State Law & Justice Center, currently under construction at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Doty St. At the new facility, we will offer even more services to our users.  Amenities will include private research rooms available on an hourly basis and computer training facilities. Increased space will alleviate the need for remote storage and library materials will be housed in one location – something that hasn't been possible in more than a decade. This column will keep you informed of future developments.

We welcome Julie Baldwin as the new Reference Librarian at the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center. Julie comes to us from the corporate library at Miller Brewing where one of her duties was a daily beer tasting. That was one perk we couldn't match!

Jane Colwin and Connie Von Der Heide recently traveled to Oshkosh to present their Legal Reference in a Nutshell Workshop to UW reference librarians. Several future workshops have been scheduled for WI public library systems.

For you Wisconsin trivia fans:

Has Wisconsin ever had a law that requires serving a slice of cheese with apple pie?

It certainly sounds plausible since after all this is the Dairy State, but the answer is no. 1935 Laws of Wis., ch. 106 came close; it required serving a small amount of cheese and butter with meals in restaurants (eff. June 1935 – March 1937). And by the way, that was the first Wisconsin law with a sunset provision, i.e. a legislated ending time. Interestingly, Vermont just passed a law in 1999 designating the apple as the state fruit and apple pie as the state pie. It also requires a good faith effort to serve either a glass of cold milk, a 1/2 ounce or larger slice of cheddar cheese, or a large scoop of vanilla ice cream with a slice of apple pie. (Title 1 Vermont Statutes Annotated, secs. 512 & 513, eff. July 1, 1999)

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!