Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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December 26, 2014

Libraries Closed December 31 and January 1

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Wednesday, December 31st and Thursday, January 1st for state holidays. We will respond to questions and requests on Friday, January 2nd.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

December 19, 2014

Libraries Closed December 24 and 25

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Wednesday, December 24th and Thursday, December 25th for state holidays. We will respond to questions and requests on Friday, December 26th.

To send a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

A Finished Shelf Shift

This week we have been talking about how we plan and implement shelf shifting projects in the library. These projects aim to improve access to library materials as well as make more space for future additions. Our Wisconsin (KFW) collection is currently being shifted and will be completed in late December or early January. The KFW project comes on the heels of a shift at the tail end of the Library of Congress call number range.

This section used to be a very compressed area with little room to grow. The above image shows this section now with many more empty shelves surrounding it. This section includes library literature, medical reference materials, international law, and legal wit and humor.

December 16, 2014

Planning for a Major Shelf Shift

At the beginning of our shifting projects Library Assistant Danni Niles works with Deputy Law Librarian Amy Crowder to analyze the space needs of each area of the library that is overcrowded. Some subjects might be compressed and others expanded depending on the use and currency of each section of the collection.

Before anything is physically moved the space needs are visualized. Danni creates a guide to assign specific collections or call number ranges to new shelves.

This clipboard represents two long ranges of shelves. Each shelf in the range has its own box which holds a call number range or collection nickname, such as LIRC for the Labor and Industry Review Commission decisions collection. Any shelves planned to be left empty for future expansion are marked with a dash -. This way we can test out how the new collection arrangement will fit without having to move materials multiple times. 

December 15, 2014

Shifting Projects in the Library

There are a lot of things that libraries do behind the scenes to improve the experience of using the library. Along with straightening books on the shelves, shifting books to create more space is regular maintenance that helps browsing users and preserves the collection.

A "shifting" project is undertaken when shelves get too crowded which happens as the collection grows. Some subject areas may get more new materials than others and a shifting project is designed to add more space in higher growth areas. Our latest shifting project is a big one; the Wisconsin collection (KFW collection) is constantly growing but occupies a finite space on the second floor of the library.

Our posts this week are devoted to giving you insight into how we design and implement our shifting projects and share with you some of the end results.

Shifting projects are all about making more space. This extra space was made in Compact Storage during a 2012 shifting project

December 2, 2014

Briefs Online: Webinar Scheduled for December 10

Space is still available for our webinar on how to research Wisconsin Briefs. Learn how to access Wisconsin Appellate Briefs on the UW Law Library's website and WSCCA. This class is an introduction to searching for Wisconsin Appellate Briefs available for free on the Internet. This class is worth 1 CLE credit.

Here are the details:
Date: Wednesday, December 10
Time: noon - 1 p.m.
Registration fee: $35

Signing up is easy - preregister on our website or call Tammy Keller at 608-261-7553. We can send attorneys an invoice for the registration fee or the fee can be paid with a credit card over the phone by calling 608-267-9696. The deadline to sign up for this webinar is Tuesday, December 8th.

WSLL at Your Service: December 2014

Our December newsletter is now online! Read about parties, our mitten and hat donation drive, and get tips for using technology with jurors. 

In this issue:
  • What's New:  WSLL Holiday Open House; Upcoming Classes; After Hours Library Access Sign Up/Renew; Libraries Closed for Holidays; 50th Anniversary Judicial Education Conference
  • This Just in...: New & updated library materials; Monthly list of new titles
  • Tech Tip in Brief: Tech Tips for Jury Persuasion
  • WSLL Recommends: Wisconsin Collection Law
  • Odds 'n' Endings: Recipes for Holiday Treats

November 24, 2014

Libraries Closed on Thanksgiving Day

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Thursday, November 27th for the Thanksgiving holiday. WSLL and MLRC will be open the next day on Friday, November 28th; DCLRC will be closed until the following Monday.

Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900. Creative Commons
To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online. We will respond to questions and requests on Friday, November 28th.

November 20, 2014

Phone service is restored

Phone service has been restored for the Wisconsin State Law Library.

Thank you for your patience during this interruption of service!

Phone services are unavailable

Phone service is temporarily unavailable in the Wisconsin State Law Library. Any calls made at this time to our reference or circulation lines will not go through. The branch libraries in the Dane and Milwaukee courthouses do have working phone lines.

If you need immediate assistance, please fill out our online contact form to send us an email. Thank you for your patience as we resolve this issue. Watch this blog for updates.

November 18, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Wisconsin Collection Law

We are often asked about collection law. To find information we turn to Wisconsin Collection Law, by Robert A. Pasch.

In its second edition, Wisconsin Collection Law is volume 12 and 13 of the Wisconsin Practice Series published by Thomson Reuters. It is a comprehensive publication on substantive and procedural law.

Topics include:
  • Pre-suit considerations
  • Collection regulation
  • Consumer credit transactions
  • Marital property concerns
  • Bulk transfers
  • Obtaining a civil or small claims money judgment
  • Attachment
  • Injunctive relief
  • Replevin: non-consumer and consumer
  • Judgments and foreign judgments
  • Executions and exemptions
  • Supplemental proceedings/examination
  • Garnishment
  • Receivers
  • Creditors' actions
  • Other collection issues
Sample and mandatory court forms are also included. Volume 13 consists entirely of appendices referring to selected Wisconsin statutes and regulations, commonly used statutes of limitations, and federal acts.

Wisconsin Collection Law is available to check out at the State Law Library and our branch libraries in the Milwaukee and Dane County courthouses. It is also available on Westlaw for free in our libraries.

November 5, 2014

New Guide to Researching Wisconsin Legislative History

Because legislative history research can be overwhelming, we distilled the core procedure into a two page, colorful handout on Researching Wisconsin Legislative History. This handout, styled like a children's board game, leads researchers through 8 steps. On the back of the handout we list notes about available date ranges for online and print sources for each step. If you need to do a legislative history, start with this guide for basic pointers and sources to get you started. Ask a librarian for help and for more in-depth education be sure to sign up for our November class.

Researching the legislative history of a Wisconsin statute can be a time-consuming process. Many of our users need help setting goals and getting started. Our two hour CLE credit class on researching Wisconsin legislative history gives an overview of the basic steps and sources. The class also covers rarer research topics like researching the history of a Wisconsin court rule or budget bill. Space is available for this hands-on class on November 11, from 9-11 a.m at the Wisconsin State Law Library training room. Register online today.

WSLL at Your Service: November 2014

The November issue of WSLL @ Your Service is now online.  
In this issue:
  • What is New: Holiday closings; UW Pro Bono Reception Recap; State Bar's Annual Real Estate Seminar Update; Upcoming Classes; WSLL Holiday Party
  • Welcome to the Redesigned wilawlibrary.gov
  • This Just in...: New & updated library materials; Monthly list of new titles
  • Tech Tip in Brief: Convert Text Messages to Email
  • WSLL Recommends: Deposing and Examining Doctors
  • Odds 'n' Endings: Toys for Tots  Donations Now Accepted
 As always, your comments are welcome.  Please direct them to the editor, Lisa.Winkler@wicourts.gov

October 31, 2014

Vote on November 4th

The November 4th election is just around the corner. If you haven't voted yet, take some time to find out how to get to your polling location and preview your local ballot.

Sign in to My Vote Wisconsin to see your polling location, voter registration status, and sample ballot. Once you sign in, use the menu on the left side of the page to see your sample ballot and find out where you need to vote.

The WI Government Accountability Board has a number of resources on their website listing the offices to be elected in November's ballot, a list of candidates on the ballot, and information about the statewide transportation fund referendum. No voter ID is required for this election. 

For questions about voting, contact the toll-free voter helpline at 1-866-VOTE-WIS or contact your local clerk's office.

Image sources: American flag © Jared Preston CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

October 28, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Deposing and Examining Doctors

Deposing and Examining Doctors, by Kim Patrick Hart, is a 2 volume guide published by James Publishing. The set gives attorneys clear cut advice, techniques, and tools for effectively deposing even the toughest medical specialists.

The set is broken down into 8 medical specialties:
  • Chiropractors
  • Neurologists
  • Orthopedists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Physiatrists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Dentists and oral surgeons
  • Plastic surgeons 
Each chapter has pattern questions, outlines, and samples of redirect examinations. Especially helpful is a separate chapter of color illustrations of common injuries and conditions in each field of specialty. The illustrations are usable for exhibits and are included in a CD along with the forms for each chapter.

The next time you are preparing to take medical testimony consider checking this valuable guide for a quick refresher before starting your depositions.

October 19, 2014

New Look for wilawlibrary.gov

This week we updated our website with new colors, photos, and a new home page design. Read on for an overview of what's new - and what has stayed the same.

Our new home page features a search box that provides direct access to our index of over 400 legal topics. Simply start typing a few keywords and see a list of matching topics appear. Click on the topic to jump straight to that legal topic page or click the search button to search our entire website. Watch the video below for a demonstration.

New and returning visitors can also use the home page to access our most popular services. The research links you need most - like links to cases, statutes, and the administrative code - are also included for fast access. Check our home page regularly for our latest news stories and featured services.

All pages on our website are designed for use on a wide variety of devices and browsers. This means that you can use our website just as well on your phone as on your desktop computer. Even though we've made our website more flexible, returning visitors can rely on the same organization of our website's pages. In fact, the only change we've made to our website menus is the addition of a new page under the Search category: a research guide to Wisconsin Court Records.

Ask a librarian if you need help using the new website and send your feedback to the webmaster. Thank you for reading and enjoy the video tour included below.

October 17, 2014

EBSCO Databases Working Again

We are happy to announce that issues with accessing EBSCO databases such as Index to Legal Periodicals have been resolved. Please call us at 608-267-9696 or email us at wsll.ref@wicourts.gov if you experience problems using any of our databases.

October 15, 2014

Accessing EBSCOhost Databases

Access to EBSCO databases such as Index to Legal Periodicals and Academic Search Premier may be interrupted today. Some users may experience problems connecting to these databases. Check our website for further updates or call us for immediate assistance at 608-267-9696.

October 10, 2014

Voter ID Update for the November 2014 Election

On Thursday evening, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order in Frank v. Walker barring Wisconsin from implementing the voter ID law. The order is expected to block implementation of the law at least through the upcoming November 2014 election.

October 2, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: October 2014

With this issue we're welcoming new staff, celebrating our new MLRC location, and compiling a list of the best books on real estate law. You can also get a sneak preview of our website redesign debuting on October 20th.

Are you researching federal law? If so, don't miss this month's Tech Tip on discovering the popular names of U.S. acts. Read the entire newsletter here: October WSLL @ Your Service.

September 25, 2014

New Website Look Coming Soon

On October 20th a new look for the library website will debut. While the organization and content will remain the same, we've updated the website to be more mobile friendly and accessible. Watch for more information in our October newsletter and get a preview below. 

September 15, 2014

Voter ID Law to be Enforced in November 2014 Election

The US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order in Frank v. Walker on September 12, 2014 permitting Wisconsin to enforce voter identification laws from 2011 Act 23 for the November 2014 election.

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) has information on voter photo ID requirements and how to get a free state ID card for voting on their Voter Photo ID Law information page.

These guides give additional practical information to voters about the ID requirement and voting process:
If you need help, the GAB has a voter helpline available for those with questions: 1-866-VOTE-WIS (1-866-868-3947). You can also email your question to gab@wi.gov.

September 12, 2014

WSLL Recommends: League of Wisconsin Municipalities CD

Finding policy discussions on city and town issues can be difficult. When we get a question about local government law we like to turn to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities database on CD.

This database can assist in answering questions about liquor licenses, zoning powers, rights of way, municipal services, and more. Over three decades of legal analysis and several popular League of Wisconsin Municipalities manuals are included in this searchable database. Use this database to access:

  • Legal opinions with index, 1975-
    An index of legal captions back to 1997 can also be searched on the League's website. Full text of these captions may be available in this CD. 
  • Popular manuals, including the Handbook for Wisconsin Municipal Officials and Special Assessments in Wisconsin.

The database is available on computers at the Wisconsin State Law Library (main library). Ask a librarian if you would like help using this database, or if you would like to request copies through our Order a Document service.

The database includes:

September 10, 2014

Free Will & Power of Attorney Clinic for Low-Income Seniors, Veterans

Low-income seniors and veterans in Dane County can attend a free estate planning clinic on Saturday, September 20th. You must have an appointment to participate. Call 608-243-2881 to make an appointment.

The Dane County Basic Estate Planning Clinic is a program to help low-income seniors and veterans prepare estate planning documents like a basic will, power of attorney for finances, or power of attorney for health care.

The program is not designed for people with large or complicated estates, beneficiaries with special needs, beneficiaries who are unable to handle their own finances, people who want to set up or require sophisticated trusts, Medicaid, tax, or business succession planning.

Check their website for income eligibility information. Veterans of any age who meet the income limit are welcome to participate. Call 608-243-2881 to learn more and make an appointment.

September 8, 2014

Do You Have a Library Card?

It's Library Card Signup Month! Do you have a library card yet?

If you don't have a library card yet there's no reason to wait. A free library card at the State Law Library is one of the best deals around for anyone in the Wisconsin legal community.
Take a moment today to fill out our online form or mail us an application.


September 3, 2014

BadgerLink Scheduled Maintenance

BadgerLink databases, like Academic Search Premier and Newspaper Source Plus, may be unavailable for a limited time this evening beginning at 9 pm.

This maintenance will not affect access to the Hein Online Law Journal Library or LegalTrac. For a list of all databases available with your library card, see our Articles & Journals page.

September 2, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: September 2014

As we transition into fall our September newsletter invites you to register for several upcoming classes and check out the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center's new library space. 

Also in this issue:

August 28, 2014

Libraries Closed on Labor Day

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Monday, September 1st in observance of Labor Day.

To send a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online. We will respond to questions and requests on Tuesday, September 2nd.

August 22, 2014

Learn Online with WSLL Webinars

We are starting up our webinars for the fall and first up is a CLE class on a new database, Index to Legal Periodicals. Learn how to use this database and get tips to maximize your search efficiency. The class features research examples grounded in practical, real-world questions.

There's still space in our Tuesday, August 26th noon class, so register today and learn more on our Classes page!

August 20, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Medicare & Medicaid Guide

Wolter Kluwer's Medicare and Medicaid Guide is a six-volume, loose leaf set providing detailed coverage of Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act (Medicare and Medicaid).

The set includes a comprehensive table of contents, index, and "finding lists." Additional finding aids, such as chapter tabs delineating major topics, including Medicare Part A, Part B, Exclusions, Fee Schedules, Prescription Drug Plans (etc.) help the user quickly hone in on research areas.

The first two volumes are devoted to explanations of the law: billing, eligibility, instructions, and forms. Volumes three, four, and five include a reprint of the Social Security Act, as amended, along with federal regulations. This section-by-section view includes a detailed review of amendments to each section of the law. Volume six, entitled "Current Development" includes administrative decisions, CMS Letters, information bulletins, and cases.

A valuable component of the Medicare and Medicaid Guide is the archive of materials appearing in volume six. The library's collection of "transfer binders" housing this archive date back to 1974 and span 18 feet of shelf space. In many cases, this paper archive is the most cost-effective means of locating past decisions or guidance on Medicare or Medicaid law. To locate information within the transfer binders, consult the "finding lists" in volume one which will provide a paragraph number assigned to the document.

August 12, 2014

Research Federal Information Like a Pro

The Federal Depository Library Program hosts several free webinars throughout the year. Each webinar focuses on a different Federal database or resource. You can register online and attend for free.

Upcoming webinars include:

Beyond Google: Tips for Government Information Research (August 19)
Accessing Census Bureau Statistics Using the Data Tools (August 28)
Everything You Wanted to Know About PubMed (September 23)

If you missed a webinar or they already covered a topic, you can catch up with archived sessions in this federal agency webinar archive

August 1, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: August 2014

Milwaukee Legal Resource Center staff have been hard at work setting up in their new space. We post the first pictures of the move in our August newsletter.

Also in this issue, learn about major updates to the State Bar of Wisconsin's Law of Damages, new Wikipedia editing guidelines, and new book from the State Bar, Wisconsin Trust Code: with Legislative Reference Bureau Analysis. Don't miss our Odds 'n' Endings spotlight on BadgerLink, a large collection of databases made available to Wisconsin users for free.

As always, we write to remind you about our CLE classes - many offered for free. Get more information and sign up for late summer and early fall on our Classes page.

July 28, 2014

New Location for the MLRC

Congratulations to the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center (MLRC) for opening in their new location in the Milwaukee County Courthouse this morning! You can now find the MLRC in room G9 of the courthouse, which is across the hall from their old location.

Watch for photos of the new space and more information in our August newsletter.

July 24, 2014

Milwaukee Legal Resource Center Closed on Friday

This Friday, July 25th, the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center will be closed in order to move into their new space in the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

The Milwaukee Legal Resource Center (MLRC) is moving across the hall from their current location. Beginning on Monday, you can find the MLRC in room G9 of the courthouse. MLRC will be open during their regular hours, 8-4:30 beginning on Monday, July 28th.

July 12, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Wisconsin Trust Code

The new Wisconsin Trust Code took full effect on July 1st, 2014. If you're still wrapping your mind around the impact of 2013 Act 92, you'll want to use the State Bar of Wisconsin's 2014 Wisconsin Trust Code: with Legislative Reference Bureau Analysis. With the major overhaul to Wis. Stat. ch. 701, this slender code book brings together all the text of the relevant statutes, previous code, and legislative changes in one convenient reprinted reference. It also includes the Legislative Reference Bureau's analysis of 2013 SB 384 and the Legislative Council's Amendment Memo for 2013 SB 384.

For a discussion of the these new laws, we recommend the article Estate Planning Metamorphosis: Wisconsin's New Trust Code, 87 Wis. Lawyer 6 (2014).

July 3, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: July 2014

Don't miss our tips for using our new database, Index to Legal Periodicals, in our July newsletter. Learn how to log in to this database by using your library card, and get a quick overview of search and alert features you can use right away.

Space is available in six CLE classes through late summer and early fall, many of them free. We are also offering webinars again, so get your CLE credits from the comfort of your home or office. You can even attend from your mobile device, so you can earn those CLE credits from your favorite beach or poolside. Get more information on our Classes page.

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by President Lydon Johnson on July 2, 1964. The official, digital version of the law can be found on the U.S. Government Printing Office's website.

Our June new book list has a selection of new materials covering civil and political rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is also covered in West's Federal administrative practice and in various other standalone publications, like this 1964 BNA manual providing analysis and legislative history of the act.

Read more about this act at the Library of Congress' American Memory Federal law project and African American Odyssey.

June 29, 2014

Libraries Closed on Friday, July 4th

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Friday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online. We will respond to questions and requests on Monday, July 7th.

Happy Fourth of July!

June 24, 2014

Sherlock Holmes and Fandom

Sherlock Holmes burst like a whirlwind into John Watson's life in Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet. The detective, forensics enthusiast, and sometimes showman has since captivated readers and inspired countless recreations.

A Federal court just released an opinion in Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate declaring that aside from Doyle's final 10 stories, earlier Holmes works are now in the public domain. Pending a possible appeal, people wishing to write new material about the characters may not have to seek permission from or pay licensing fees to the Doyle estate.

Readers interested in this copyright case might also want to check out But I'm your biggest fan! Handling trademark problems posed by fan-created content. By Anne Gilson LaLonde and Jerome Gilson (Gilson on Trademarks), this book examines trademark and copyright issues stemming from fan activity. The book addresses fan websites, fan fiction, merchandise, art, and more. In addition to explaining the legal issues behind fandom, this guide also gives practical advice for dealing with fan-created content that goes beyond threatened or actual legal action.

As useful for an attorney as for the superfan in your life, this short, readable guide gives a quick overview of important legal issues surrounding unauthorized work by fans.

June 16, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Arkfeld on Electronic Discovery and Evidence

Arkfeld on Electronic Discovery and Evidence is a robust 1,400 page treatise that provides comprehensive coverage of the discovery and admission of electronic evidence within the context of federal and state statutes, regulations, and case law. It provides practice tips and pointers and plain-language explanations on the following topics:
  • Electronic information in litigation
  • Creation and storage of electronic information
  • Structure and type of electronic information
  • Computer forensics, experts, and service bureaus
  • Search, technology, and cost issues in managing ESI
  • Discovery and production process
  • Court procedural rules and case law & appendix: state cases and rules summary
  • Admissibility of electronic evidence 
In addition it provides checklists, sample discovery forms, letters, court orders, and cites to relevant case law. Finding aids include a Table of Cases, Glossary and Index. Cross-referenced with the treatise are four companion Best Practice Guides: Electronic discovery and evidence; ESI pretrial discovery : strategy and tactics; Legal hold; Information technology primer for legal professionals and a fully searchable CD-ROM.

June 5, 2014

Congratulations UW Law School Grads!

On June 3rd new law school graduates attended a swearing in ceremony welcoming them to the profession. We would like to extend our own welcome and congratulations. Now that you are members of the State Bar of Wisconsin, you are eligible for a free Wisconsin State Law Library card.

The Wisconsin State Law Library serves the courts, attorneys, and members of the public and works to meet your legal information needs. Did you know that you can use your free library card to:
  • Access subscription databases such as HeinOnline or law journal indexes from your office or home
  • Request items using interlibrary loan
  • Borrow library materials at one of the libraries or by mail. Our Start Here guides can give you a quick glance at some of our specialized topical titles
Whether you are starting your career in a large firm or hanging out your own shingle, the Wisconsin State Law Library can help you with your legal research. For those new attorneys still exploring job opportunities, the library also has a professional development section with titles focused on expanding your career.

Getting a library card is easy. Simply fill out our online form and your card will be mailed to you along with library information to get you started.

(Image credit: By Kyle James (Graduation Happiness) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

June 3, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: June 2014

Our latest newsletter is now online. This issue gives readers an overview of a new feature in our online catalog, an important update about a popular State Bar family practice book, and our monthly spotlight on a useful resource in our collection.

Also be sure to check out this month's Tech Tip on the new version of Firefox and get recommendations for fun fiction in our collection.

May 26, 2014

Where Am I? A New Map for the Library

We recently replaced our old floor plan with a new, simplified map. Download a printable map from our Publications page or jump directly to it using location links in our online catalog.

When browsing our online catalog, look for the links to the library locations next to each item.

Clicking on the link for the location name, such as "TREATISES" in the above example, will open up a page with a brief description of what the location means and where to find it - whether at the Wisconsin State Law Library, Dane County Legal Resource Center, or Milwaukee County Legal Resource Center.

Floor plans will be added for the Resource Centers at a later time. If you need help locating any item in any library, please Ask a Librarian for help.

May 23, 2014

Libraries Closed for Memorial Day

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Monday, May 26th in observance of Memorial Day.

To send a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

We will respond to questions and requests on Tuesday, May 27th.

May 16, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Millers Standard Insurance Policies

With over 187,000 annotations to state and federal cases decided since 1978, Miller's Standard Insurance Policies Annotated is a treasure trove of American standard property and liability insurance policy interpretations. This reference treatise also features over 1,000 endorsements, reported court decisions interpreting nonstandard policy language, and many forms reprinted with the permission of the Insurance Service Office, Inc. (ISO). Each annotation notes the prevailing party, jurisdiction, and decision date to help the reader quickly identify on point case law.

There are a few different ways to locate information using Volume 1 Locator of Forms and Annotations. For a specific form - whether it is a policy, endorsement, or specific coverage provision - the Locator index lists forms alphabetically by form abbreviation. Check the Supplement Annotations Locator for recent updates.

Without a specific provision in mind use Miller’s Index to find forms and sections related to a particular topic, word, phrase, or coverage provision. This index is particularly helpful for finding information that uses a similar but different term, such as "family member" versus "relative."

Topics include:
  • Policy forms
  • Personal auto
  • Personal auto endorsements
  • Homeowners, watercraft, flood and personal umbrella
  • Commercial auto
  • General liability
  • 1973 / 1981 General liability policies and general liability endorsements
  • Professional responsibility and management professional liability
  • Commercial property
  • Businessowners, equipment breakdown, inland marine and commercial umbrella

May 12, 2014

DataFerrett Webinar Offered

Big data is everywhere but not everybody has access to tools that can help make sense of it. The US Census Bureau hosts a wide variety of reports on their website but sometimes you need a custom data table. Rather than download one or more datasets from Data.gov or manually configure your own data table, you can use the US Census Bureau's online DataFerrett tool to parse the information you need.

DataFerrett can be used to search and retrieve data across several federal datasets. Use the data to create and download tables, graphs, and maps. We used it last year to put together a table on Internet use in Wisconsin, which leveraged data from the Current Population Survey. This data can be used for market and economic research, health and housing snapshots, and deep demographic surveys.

A webinar on DataFerrett will be offered by the US Census Bureau on Wednesday, May 14th (noon Central time). Anyone can attend this webinar, but pre-registration is required.

May 1, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: May 2014

The May issue of WSLL @ Your Service is now online!
In this issue:

April 28, 2014

Celebrate Law Day on Thursday, May 1st

Visit your libraries or find us online to celebrate Law Day on May 1st.

The Wisconsin State Law Library is presenting two short Google Hangouts on HeinOnline. At 10 a.m. get an overview of which Federal agency materials are available through this database. At noon learn quick tips to get the most out of the advanced search. Visit our Google+ page for the link to watch each Hangout live and catch up on the archived videos at our YouTube channel.

In Dane County, Law Day at the Courthouse features community mock trials and free pro se legal consultations from attorneys in the Dane County Legal Resource Center.

In Milwaukee County, the Milwaukee Bar Association will host free legal clinics around the city.

April 22, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Prosecution and Defense of Civil Forfeiture Cases

Prosecution and Defense of Civil Forfeiture Cases provides detailed coverage of the history and use of forfeiture as an economic crime-fighting tool by law enforcement. Author David B. Smith begins by examining the role of forfeiture in the United States, with an emphasis on legislation and case law since the 1970's.

Smith provides a hypothetical walk-through of a typical civil forfeiture case, including commencement of proceedings, pretrial proceedings, trial, and defenses. The nature and scope of criminal forfeiture is addressed in the second volume of this 2 volume looseleaf set. Some chapters include sample forms. While there is an emphasis on federal statutes and case law, state law is also included with special attention to New York, Florida and Texas statutes. A detailed index, table of cases, and table of statutes serve as finding tools.

April 18, 2014

Research Guides for Legal Problems

Without experience under your belt, it can be hard to know where to start on a new research endeavor. Library research guides can be a great place to start since they often tie together treatises, primary law sources, and internet resources in one place. We have created our own Start Here research guides to help you find books and other library materials on a given topic. Our Legal Topics area hosts guides to primarily free internet resources on around 400 topics. (We also include major books and articles). We link to several other library-created guides on our Legal Research Guides page.

Some popular guides from our Legal Research Guides page include:

LibGuides.com can be a great place to search for more library research guides. Over 4,000 libraries post their guides to this website. 

If you are having trouble getting started on your next research project, don't forget to Ask a Librarian for help!

April 16, 2014

Learn at Your Library

Did you know that we have a YouTube Channel? We post tutorials and tips there. Plus in May we'll be using our YouTube Channel and Google+ page to host two Google Hangouts on HeinOnline

On May 1st at 10 a.m. get an overview of which Federal agency materials are available through HeinOnline. At noon learn quick tips to get the most out of the advanced search. Visit our Google+ page for the link to watch each Hangout live and catch up on the archived videos at our YouTube channel.

All of our tutorials are linked off our Tutorials page on our website and include additional links and training materials. Contact the webmaster with suggestions for our next tutorial!

April 15, 2014

WestlawNext at the WI State Law Library

This morning as part of our National Library Week celebration we are hosting a class on using WestlawNext in the Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL). We added WestlawNext access to our public computers a year ago. At the same time we set up wireless access to it from your personal mobile computers when you connect to the WSLL wifi.

Read our WestlawNext FAQ to get started. WestlawNext searches can start out resembling a Google search, with one keyword-friendly search box promoted as the primary search portal for all of Westlaw's databases, books, and collections.

Once you've done your search, check our tips for narrowing search results in WestlawNext. Filtering results is an easy way to narrow your search results to only the types of materials you want. For example, you can filter your search results down to just articles and books on Wisconsin law.

While today's class is full, you can always request that we offer the class again. Contact Heidi Yelk, Director of Reference, to request that a class be added to our schedule

April 13, 2014

Happy National Library Week!

This week is National Library Week. To celebrate we're featuring free CLE classes, an open house event, and free flower printable crafts on our website that you can use to brighten up your research space. Go to our National Library Week page to learn more. And follow this blog. We'll be posting all week about ways the library can help you to grow your legal research skills.

April 1, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: April 2014

Our April newsletter is now online. Learn about upcoming events at your three libraries - including CLE classes, National Library Week events, and Law Day activities. If you are a PACER user be sure to check out our article about keeping tabs on Federal dockets with PACER website tools.

Just announced today, we also have a special update you won't want to miss about a new collection in the library.

March 25, 2014

Free CLE Classes for National Library Week

Space is still available in our two free CLE classes in April. We are offering these classes free as part of our National Library Week events. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about how WestlawNext and the Wisconsin State Law Library's website can help further your research goals.

Details and registration forms are available on our Classes page.

March 14, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Estate, Tax and Personal Financial Planning

A tax and financial planning treatise with broad scope, Estate, Tax and Personal Financial Planning (West) is a 5 volume set to help plan and understand the tax implications of estates during life and after death. This set by Attorney Edward Koren focuses on wills, trusts, and asset transfers. These areas are further enhanced with detailed information about business, property, family law, investments, and more.

Most chapters include sample forms and practice guides to help researchers apply the principles covered. Detailed contents and indices can be downloaded and searched from the ThomsonReuters product page. The books are divided into four main categories with chapters set apart in color-coded tabs:

1. Compensation and assets planning 

The basics: practice essentials, general planning for business owners, ranchers, farmers, and the highly compensated, plus an overview of insurance, retirement plans, and other investments.

2. Planning for the family unit 

Estate management and gift giving to family and charitable organizations. Discusses tax considerations when a separation or divorce may occur and estate planning for unmarried individuals. Includes model tax return filing agreements.

3. Estate planning during life 

In-depth analysis of gift giving, plus preparing wills, trusts, and insurance instruments. Covers transfer taxes and testamentary transfers to surviving spouses. A chapter on Planning when death is imminent is a summary toolkit for those with little time to make long-term asset plans that also achieve optimal tax results.

4. Planning after death 

Detailed guidance for filing taxes on an estate and dealing with distributions from estates and trusts. Tax forms with sample data, when and where to file, asset valuation, disclaimers, and liquidating an estate are all included here. A final chapter on audits and appeals rounds this out.

Estate, Tax and Personal Financial Planning includes detailed tables of Federal and state laws and cases with cross-references to sections from the books. These, paired with indices to the text and forms provide quick access into the set. The fifth volume holds 5 years of tax and estate planning articles and includes its own index.

March 10, 2014

Government Ebooks

We have talked on this blog about legal ebooks and Wisconsin law ebooks - all of them free. Adding to the array of free ebooks, the Government Printing Office (GPO) is now offering free ebooks through its online catalog of government publications. Currently 130 ebooks created by a variety of agencies are available to download.

To download an ebook, click on the "Internet Access" link associated with the title. This link will take you to the agency website which hosts the ebook - typically in multiple formats.

Here are some to get you started:

March 3, 2014

WSLL at Your Service: March 2014

Our latest newsletter is now online. In our March Tech Tip in Brief article learn about the new Fastcase and HeinOnline integrated case law access. Many of our library cardholders can use the library's subscription to HeinOnline from their home or office along with Fastcase through the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Also in this issue: 

February 17, 2014

WSLL Recommends: Thompson on Real Property

A comprehensive property law title that contains 100 chapters authored by over 30 legal scholars with subject expertise, Thompson on Real Property is a notable source to begin your property law research.

The work begins with the historical origins of property law in England and the development of American property law. It continues with the role of Restatements of Property and Trusts and Uniform and Model Laws relating to property. Numerous property law topics are addressed in the remainder of the work, for instance:
  • Types of tenancies
  • Marital property
  • Rights and duties of landlords and tenants
  • Public housing
  • Agricultural and farm land
  • Water and mineral mights
  • Petroleum and pipelines
  • Airspace
  • Easements
  • Adverse possession
  • Title
  • Conveyances
  • Foreign ownership of land
  • Property law in foreign countries
The publication is thoroughly annotated with citations to primary and secondary sources.

Individual topic sections are frequently followed by suggested Lexis "Computer Assisted Research" search strings that can help with your case law searching.

The Library has previous editions of Thompson on Real Property, the original 1924 edition and the 1939 edition are shelved in our Compact Storage collection. The current 15 volume set spans three editions: Thomas Edition, Second Thomas and Third Thomas Editions. A detailed table of contents and index is available in volume 15. Thompson on Real Property is supplemented annually with pocket parts.

We encourage you to check-out Thompson on Real Property.

February 16, 2014

Catalog and Databases Unavailable on Monday, Feb. 17

Access to the library catalog and databases may be unavailable on Monday, February 17th beginning at 8 am. These services will be down on Monday for scheduled system maintenance. We will post on this blog when these services are back up.

If you have any questions or experience issues accessing our catalog or databases, please contact us via our Ask a Librarian service or call us at 800-322-9755.

February 13, 2014

Madison Winter Festival and Street Closures

This weekend the Madison Winter Festival descends on downtown Madison - right outside our door! The 100 block of Martin Luther King Jr Blvd will be closed to traffic beginning at 12 pm on Friday. If you plan to visit the library on Friday afternoon please plan accordingly. Doty Street and other downtown streets aside from the Capitol Square area will be open to traffic as usual. If you have questions, please give us a call at 800-322-9755.

February 4, 2014

WSLL @ Your Service: February 2014

The February issue of WSLL @ Your Service is now online.

In this issue:
  • What's New: Secure sign-in to the catalog; Upcoming classes in Madison and Milwaukee
  • After Hours Service: Come in and use the library even when it is closed
  • Wisconsin State Law Library Year in Review
  • Milwaukee Legal Resource Center Year in Review
  • Dane County Legal Resource Center Year in Review
  • This Just In...: New & updated library materials; Monthly list of new titles
  • WSLL Recommends: Corporate Practice Series

As always, your comments are welcome. Please direct them to the editor, Carol.Hassler@wicourts.gov

January 27, 2014

MLRC Closed on Tuesday, January 28

The Milwaukee Legal Resource Center (MLRC) will be closed on Tuesday, January 28th due to severe weather. MLRC will reopen along with the Milwaukee Courthouse on Wednesday, January 29th.

If you need assistance while the MLRC is closed, please contact the Wisconsin State Law Library reference desk at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

WSLL Recommends: Corporate Practice Series

The library subscribes to BNA/Bloomberg's Corporate Practice Series portfolios which includes 65 individual titles. The compact design of these topical guides are perfect for the busy legal professional. Each portfolio breaks down a basic area of corporate law like securities, antitrust law, environmental law, trade regulation, intellectual property, financial reporting, and many more.

The portfolios include checklists, forms, regulatory filings, agreements, and relevant statutes to make the practitioner's job easier.

How do you find a portfolio on your topic?

You can keyword search the library's catalog.

Or if you're in the library, you can use the detailed index, the classification guide, or page through the newsletter BNA's corporate counsel weekly for current developments.

To highlight the range of topics, we've listed some the most heavily used titles below:
Check out these compact detailed guides for your practice needs.

January 20, 2014

Spring Classes at WSLL

Two new classes are now open for registration at the Wisconsin State Law Library. Sign up for these early spring classes and be on the lookout as we continue to add more classes for 2014.

WestlawNext at the Wisconsin State Law Library
Tuesday, February 11, 1 - 2 p.m.
Location: Wisconsin State Law Library training room
Come see the latest legal research offering at the Wisconsin State Law Library -- WestlawNext! WestlawNext is more than just a "new look" for Westlaw; it employes a new search method based on concepts and issues, not just keywords. The look and feel of the new interface makes it more user friendly and the WestlawNext global search helps uncover sources which are often overlooked or forgotten. This class will teach you how to use the multi-functional search box to find a document and to research an issue. You will learn how to use the new results display and how to sort and filter search results. This class will also show how to verify research using KeyCite, as well as expand research using the new document toolbar and other resources.
Fee $35.00. 1 CLE credit applied for. Registration is limited to 8. Register Online | Print Registration Form.
Free Case Law on the Internet
Wednesday, February 26, 10 - 11 a.m.
Location: Wisconsin State Law Library training room
Google Scholar, Hathi Trust, Findlaw, Justia - the list goes on and on. There are numerous sources of free case law on the Internet but no single source can meet all your needs. Knowing where to find what you're looking for can save hours of research time. This one-hour class will highlight several free online case law sites, focusing on content (scope) and searching techniques.
Fee $35.00. 1 CLE credit applied for. Registration is limited to 8. Register Online | Print Registration Form

January 17, 2014

Libraries Closed on Monday, January 20th

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Dane County Legal Resource Center will be closed on Monday, January 20th for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

To submit a question to the Wisconsin State Law Library while we are closed, you may call us at 608-267-9696 or Ask a Librarian online.

We will respond to questions and requests on Tuesday, January 21st.

January 16, 2014

What To Do When Your Identity Gets Stolen

During Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week the Federal Trade Commission wants you to know what to do if you suspect that you are a victim of tax identity theft or if you think your social security number has been stolen. Follow these steps if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft or you get a letter from the IRS denying your refund or suggesting that you failed to report income from an unknown employer.

Respond to all mail from the IRS immediately. Call the IRS Identity Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. Report the fraud and ask for the IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form 14039. If you are a tax identity theft victim, the IRS may give you a personal PIN number to verify your identity and protect your file going forward. 

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) has a page on identity theft to help you take steps towards reporting theft and preventing fraud. This year the DOR has implemented a new identity verification tool to check some taxpayers' identity before they can receive a state tax refund. Their identity verification program checks a taxpayer's identity by asking them to take an online quiz or send in documents to prove their identity.

Original photo by by Orion200 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

January 15, 2014

Forget the Phonies: Avoid Identity Theft

Be wary of emails you get asking for personal information. Tax identity thieves may send phony "phishing" emails that appear to be from the IRS. These emails will ask you to call a phone number or click a link to enter your personal information.

Don't do it! The IRS doesn't email or text people to get personal information - they send information by mail instead.

As when dealing with any suspect online or offline communication, contact the IRS directly to find out if the request is legitimate. The IRS offers live phone assistance as well as regional centers that provide face to face service.

Original photo by by pinguino k [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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