« September 2004 | Main | November 2004 »

October 28, 2004

Article: Defendants Accused of Sending Spam

Findlaw News has an article, Defendants Accused of Sending Spam, about the nation's first felony prosecution for illegally sending bulk e-mail, or spam.

Source: Findlaw's The Practice Paper

Westlaw Adds WI Legislative History & Dockets Databases

Westlaw has recently added two new databases of Wisconsin information: Wisconsin Legislative History and WestDockets for Wisconsin State Courts

Wisconsin Legislative History (WI-LH)

Contents: Bill histories, bill analyses, Assembly and Senate journals from the 94th Legislature (1999-2000) through the 96th Legislature (2003-2004). Assembly bill memos from the 96th Legislature (2003-2004). Senate bill memos, and Assembly and Senate amendment memos from the 95th Legislature (2001-2002) through the 96th Legislature (2003-2004). Governor's messages from 2001 through May 27, 2004.

Wisconsin was one of 12 new states to have legislative history databases added recently. For the complete list of all states with legislative history databases, see the West elert announcement.

WestDockets for Wisconsin State Courts (DOCK-WI-STCTS)

Contents: Docket information on active and inactive civil and criminal cases filed in the Circuit Courts of Wisconsin beginning in 2000. Civil and Criminal dockets from all counties except Portage County are included in this database. (Portage County has only Probate information available at this time.) New filings are added daily.

NOTE: Wisconsin Circuit Court (as well as Court of Appeals & Supreme Court) information and status reports are also available FREE from the Wisconsin Court System Web site.
See Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (CCAP) for Circuit Court civil and criminal reports and Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Case Access system for the Internet (WSCCA.i) for appeals filed with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.

Case information includes case summaries, parties, court recorded events, and docketed civil judgments. Coverage dates vary.

October 27, 2004

Free Webinar - Convincing Your Boss [or Client!] That It's Not All Free on the Web

Mary Ellen Bates, of Bates Information Services, a research and consulting business, is offering a free Factiva webinar on Tuesday, November 9, titled "Convincing Your Boss [or client!] That It's Not All Free on the Web". Registration required.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary

OneLook's Reverse Dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word.

Source: The Scout Report

Google Cheat Sheet

Google has put together a nice, one page cheat sheet of some of the more advanced search features. I plan to post it right next to my monitor.

WSLL @ Your Service November Issue Available

The November 2004 edition of WSLL @ Your Service is now available from the Wisconsin State Law Library. Improvements to the WSLL Web site and library catalog are highlighted this month.

Internet Tips Newsletter from DCLRC

Librarian Paula Seeger of the Dane County Legal Resource Center is offering a free monthly Internet Tips newsletter via email. If you would like to subscribe, contact Paula at paula.seeger@wicourts.gov

The following is a list of topics covered in recent issues:

Internet Tip 1: Your mouse and you; Internet-related File Types; Advanced Google Searching

Internet Tip 2: Printing Selected Text; Introduction to mailing lists; Wisconsin State Law Library

Internet Tip 3: Fixing Printed Pages that Get Cut Off; Retrieving Form Information; WI County Identifier

Internet Tip 4: Auto Completion; Where was I? Re-locating your stopping point in long Word documents; State of WI Dept. of Health & Family Services Consumer Guides

Internet Tip 5: Clicking To Select Words & Lines; Bookmarks v. Favorites; The National Archives

Internet Tip 6: Finding Quick Definitions; Anti-Virus Software; Consumer Rights Manual

Internet Tip 7: Desktop Icon; Answers that Work; Statistical Abstract

Internet Tip 8: Search Shortcuts; Incomplete URL's; How Stuff Works

October 26, 2004

Wikipedia, the Community Encyclopedia

Newsweek has a nice article about Wikipedia, "a free online encyclopedia that draws articles not from a sequestered brain trust of academics but from the great unwashed: thousands of Internet users around the world who freely add to and edit the site." See It's Like a Blog, But It's a Wiki

Wikipedia has created quite a stir among information professionals and other researchers. The concept of encyclopedia articles written - or rewritten - by the public has many concerned about the great potential for misinformation (intentional or not).

However, according to an article in the online journal, RedHerring, Wikipedia's founder has said that next year he will begin using editors to review the web site's content for accuracy and allow users to rate contributions to the encyclopedia for their quality.

With over 1 million total articles, Wikipedia is now the world's largest encyclopedia - three times the size of Encyclopedia Britannica.

Source: Library Link of the Day & ResourceShelf

October 25, 2004

Tips for Blawgers - Finding Your Voice in the Blawgosphere

Thinking of starting your own blawg? The blog, Notes from the (Legal) Underground, offers fourteen tips on Finding Your Voice in the Blawgosphere.

These tips are especially useful for potential blawgers because they focus on specifically on the legal market.

Source: Thanks to Paula Seeger at the DCLRC for the tip

DCLRC Docket - Voter Resources

The November 2004 edition of the DCLRC Docket (Dane County Legal Resource Center) is now available. Voter resources are highlighted.

October 21, 2004

Election 2004 Video Archive & Debate Transcripts

Two Election 2004 resources available:

- Debate Transcripts: Search and analyze the complete transcript from the presidential and vice presidential debates. Installation free askSam Viewer is required.

- Video Archive: Includes "everything from debate footage from C-SPAN to politically themed rap videos...and lots and lots of campaign advertising from the candidates themselves as well as various flavors of interest groups."

Sources: TVC Alert & ResourceShelf

Enhancements to Westlaw & LexisNexis

Learn about recent enhancements to Westlaw and LexisNexis in LLRX.com's article, Lexis and Westlaw Revisited. Featured are Westlaw Past Stats and Lexis Practitioner's Toolbox.

Research Performed for a Fee by LexisNexis Research On Call

I just heard about a fairly new service from LexisNexis called Research On Call. For a fee, LexisNexis research specialists will perform research tasks for you. Sounds interesting. I'm not endorsing the service - just passing on the information.

According to LexisNexis, examples of the types and areas of research available include case evaluation, discovery, due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, product liability, detailed overviews, press coverage, product development, client development and vendor/supplier information.

Research On Call staff also can prepare a report of research findings or a memorandum of law as well as check citations and retrieve documents. Sample reports are available on the Research on Call page.

To use Research On Call, LexisNexis subscribers can call 1-800-273-9295. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

See brochure for more information.

Criminal Case Documents to be Made Available via PACER

It appears that pending software modifications, U.S. criminal case documents filed on or after November 1, 2004 (unless they are sealed) will now be available via PACER. This is due to a change in the privacy policy restricting online access to criminal documents.

For those unfamiliar with PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), it is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts, and from the U.S. Party/Case Index.

Google Desktop Privacy Risk for Shared PCs

According to Findlaw's article, Google's New PC Search Tool Poses Risks, using a shared computer on which Google Desktop has been installed could be a privacy risk.
People who use public or workplace computers for e-mail, instant messaging and Web searching have a new privacy risk to worry about: Google's free new tool that indexes a PC's contents for quickly locating data. If it's installed on computers at libraries and Internet cafes, users could unwittingly allow people who follow them on the PCs, for example, to see sensitive information in e-mails they've exchanged. That could mean revealed passwords, conversations with doctors, or viewed Web pages detailing online purchases.
Source: Findlaw's The Practice Paper

Cases Linked from WI Statutes Starting in November

According to Deputy Revisor of Statutes, Bruce Hoesly, the next web update to the Wisconsin Statutes & Constitution due shortly after Nov. 1, will include links from annotations to cited 1995 and newer Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals opinions on the Wisconsin Court System website.

October 20, 2004

Report: Election Preview 2004: What’s Changed,What Hasn’t and Why?

Electiononline.org has created a report entitled, Election Preview 2004: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t and Why?
Abstract: Just two weeks before Election Day, this report details the "state of play" of election reform around the country. It describes how election reform, enacted by the federal government after the 2000 debacle in Florida, could help to avert some problems - but perhaps cause others - when Americans return to the polls for the most closely watched Presidential contest in history.
Who is electionline.org? From their site - "Electionline.org, produced by the Election Reform Information Project, is the nation’s only non-partisan, non-advocacy website providing up-to-the-minute news and analysis on election reform."

Source: ResourceShelf's DocuTicker

Feedme Legal - A Blog About Blogs & the Legal Profession

Feedme Legal is a new blog about webfeeds, weblogs and the legal profession. According to the author, it's main purpose is two-fold:
· to add another voice to those lauding the potential benefits of such technology, but purely in the context of the practice of law and the sharing of legal knowledge with clients, potential clients and, to some extent, the public generally; and

· to suggest how such technology can be put to advantageous, competitive and ethical use by, among others, lawyers and their clients.

The following two posts may be of particular interest:
· Weblogs: A primer for lawyers
· The significance of webfeeds for lawyers

Search Your Own Files with Google Desktop Search

Earlier this week, Google introduced a new service called Google Desktop Search capable of full text searching your email (Outlook), some computer files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, text files), AOL instant messages, and web pages you've viewed. Apparently, additional file types will also be added soon.

After a quick download and install, the Google Desktop icon loads in your system tray. Simply click on it to start your search. However, it takes time (several hours) for Google to index your content, so the search won't work right away.

According to Google, the privacy of your documents is protected as the program does not make your computer's content accessible to Google or anyone else.

Read more about it on the About Google Desktop Search page. SearchEngineWatch has also compiled a number of reviews.

October 19, 2004

Earn Automatic Amazon.com Discount by Using A9 Search Engine

A few weeks ago, Wisblawg reported on a new personalized search engine called A9 which is powered by Google.

Just in time for the holidays, I've just confirmed that A9 is offering select users an automatic 1.5% discount on purchases made at Amazon.com. When I clicked on the A9 Instant Reward Active link in the Ready to Buy button on Amazon, I was presented with the following details:

(User name), since you've been using A9.com recently, virtually everything at Amazon.com is automatically an additional π/2% (1.57%) off for you. Collecting this discount is zero effort on your part. It will be applied automatically at checkout (it will happen whether you use the shopping cart or our 1-Click Shopping®). You don't need to do anything to get this discount except keep using A9.com as your regular search engine.

We don't advertise this additional discount that we give in exchange for using A9.com, so if you want your friends to know about it, please tell them. It is probably the only way they'll find out. All they have to do is use A9.com as their regular search engine. They should make sure they are signed in to A9.com (it should be recognizing them by name) so that we can be certain they get credit for their visit.

While the π/2% discount is a good additional reason to use A9.com it isn't the best reason. A9.com licenses its web search results from the industry leader Google, and then supplements those results with Amazon's Search Inside the Book™ results. The coolest feature is that A9.com keeps track of your search history for you on the server side. To see how this works, do some A9 searches from your computer at work and then sign in to A9.com from your computer at home.

FTC Attempts to Stop Spyware Operation

From Findlaw's Tools of the Trade newsletter:
FTC Attempts to Stop Spyware Operation

In what regulators are calling a first, the government has asked for a court order to shut down a spyware operation. The Federal Trade Commission says computer users who went to certain Web sites unknowingly had the snooping software downloaded onto their computers. The agency says it secretly changed settings, caused computers' CD-ROM trays to fly open and triggered barrages of pop-up ads for anti-spyware programs called Spy Wiper and Spy Deleter.

FDA Approves ID Worn Under Skin

According to the New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for a Florida company to market implantable chips that would provide easy access to individual medical records. See the full article entitled, Identity Badge Worn Under Skin Approved for Use in Health Care at the NYT Web site.

Hoaxes & Other Bad Information in the News

Genie Tyburski of The Virtual Chase has put together a nice page of articles about Hoaxes and Other Bad Information in the News.

Tyburski offers "this listing as anecdotal evidence of what can happen when journalists, experts or other professionals fail to follow proper research procedures. Good research habits include identifying sources, assessing their expertise and verifying information found." Amen!

The hoaxes page is part of a guide to Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet.

October 18, 2004

Reaching Out to Juries Rocked by Evidence

From Stark County Law Library Blawg:
Reaching Out to Juries Rocked by Evidence In the news: “A growing number of judges are recognizing the need to provide mental health 'debriefing' to jurors who may be unwitting victims of the justice system. Psychological counseling for jurors haunted by images of gruesome evidence began in earnest after trials involving the Oklahoma City bombing and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Now, a number of states are considering adopting the practice.”

Intranet Trends to Watch For

Line56.com, the E-Business Executive Daily, offers eight Intranet Trends to Watch For. They are:
1. Intranets return to the domain of the departments 2. The records management and the legal departments get involved 3. All employees become intranet publishers 4. The corporate telephone directory loses its luster 5. The new killer app -- the knowledge management tool 6. Real time information delivery becomes a priority 7. Information retrieval remains unsolved but there's hope 8. Employees demand a more aesthetic user experience
Source: Stark County Law Library Blawg

Article: Fake Blogs, True Buzz

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting article about marketers creating fake blogs about their products to create buzz. According to the article, Fake Blogs, True Buzz, results have been mixed.

Ghosts of the White House

Here's a fun one just in time for Halloween - Ghosts of the White House - from the official White House Web site.

Watch videos featuring "stories of strange noises in the White House, sightings of President Abraham Lincoln's ghost and a Halloween prank by President Carter's daughter." Also features a transcript from a Halloween 2003 chat with White House Chief Usher, Gary Walters.

Source: Librarians Index to the Internet

Update: Thanks to Kimberly Edwards for letting me know that this link is broken. She suggested this site as an alternative.

October 13, 2004

15 Practical Tips for Managing Your E-mail

Law Practice Today has Fifteen Practical Tips for Managing Your E-mail. Tips are based on author, Reid Trautz's session at the ABA TECHSHOW, "The Top Ten Legal Technologies—Are You Using Them?"

The tips are:

1. Take time to explore the features and functions of your e-mail program.
2. Learn how to use your e-mail software program to organize your e-mails.
3. Create defaults to help filter your e-mail when it arrives in your inbox.
4. Learn how to send text documents as attachments to the message, rather than in the body of the message.
5. Save time by creating group mailing lists.
6. Draft a written e-mail policy for clients to clarify the use of e-mail in your attorney-client relationship.
7. Keep a record of all e-mail correspondence.
8. Check your e-mail for new messages several times per day.
9. Don't open every e-mail message the moment it arrives or you may never have time for anything else.
10. Explore e-mail discussion groups as a possible source of information.
11. Open unrecognized attachments with caution.
12. Don’t forget to bill for time reviewing and responding to e-mail messages.
13. E-mail is as important as a typed letter; treat it as such.
14. Always include a definitive subject line that easily identifies the content of the e-mail message.
15. Use the signature line to save time and provide useful information.

Source: Stark County Law Library Blawg

October 12, 2004

Westlaw Introduces De-Duplication

In a press release last week, Westlaw announced a new de-duplication feature that automatically identifies, tags and sorts duplicate copies of news articles and business records in search results.

This is particularly useful for removing identical news wire articles which are picked up by multiple publications.

Source: ResourceShelf

Article: In Google We Trust? Judges & the Internet

The October issue of the ABA Journal has a short article about judges practicing fact finding via the Internet. Entitled In Google We Trust?, the full text of the article is available in Wisconsin via Badgerlink.

The author notes that "an ABA committee reviewing the Model Code of Judicial Conduct has proposed a revision that would extend independent fact-finding prohibitions to electronic media, a proposal dubbed by some lawyers and judges as the 'don't Google the defendant' rule."

Source: E-LawLibrary Weblog

October 11, 2004

Law Office Computing's Best Law Office Web Sites

From the E-LawLibrary Weblog:
Law Office Computing's Best Law Office Web Sites

The October/November 2004 issue of Law Office Computing includes the results of the magazine's 6th Annual Best Law Office Web Site Contest.

The winner and finalists in the Small Firms category:

Gilbert Heintz & Randolph (Winner)
Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry (Finalist)
Schwegman, Lundberg, Woessner & Kluth (Finalist)
The Qui Tam Online Network (Finalist)

The winner and finalists in the Large Firms category:

Fulbright & Jaworski (Winner)
Miller Nash (Finalist)
Pierce Atwood (Finalist)
White and Williams (Finalist)

Presidential Debate History - Memories of Lincoln & Douglass

For those following the recent presidential debates, here's a bit of history from the folks at the Wisconsin Historical Society
Presidential Debates: Lincoln & Douglass Recalled

Dateline: Freeport, Ill., Aug. 26, 1858. Wisconsin editor Martin Rindlaub was on hand that day to hear the two famous candidates go at it. In this interview he compares the polished eloquence of Stephen Douglass with Honest Abe's humble but sincere approach. The Society owns several copies of the transcripts of these famous debates, including one inscribed by Lincoln to Wisconsin activist Carl Schurz.

Article: Congressional Attack on Axis of Internet Evil: Pop-Up Ad Spies & P2P Pirates

For a summary of legislative developments targeting pop-up ads and p2p, see Findlaw's Modern Practice article entitled Congressional Attack on Axis of Internet Evil: Pop-Up Ad Spies & P2P Pirates.

What You Learned From Serving on a Jury

There were some interesting and amusing answers when the ABA Journal e-report asked "What was the most surprising thing you learned from serving on a jury?"

October 7, 2004

Naivety About PC Risks

From TVC Alert:
Naivety About PC Risks A survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) finds that many computer users fail to understand security risks. Only sixty percent of those surveyed "recalled when they last updated anti-virus, firewall and operating system software on their PC." Thirty percent "believed they had more chance of getting struck by lightning, ... or winning the lottery than they did of falling victim to a computer security problem." Statistics actually show people have a "0.0000102% chance of being hit by lightning" while they have a 70% chance "of falling victim to a computer virus, phishing attack, malicious hack attempt" or other PC security problem.

A similar survey of IT professionals found almost opposite results. Confidence in network security slipped this year--from 90% to 83%, but respondents said "they're doing a better job of enforcing their security policies." Eighty-two percent "of CIOs say e-mail is a significant security threat." The complete survey is a fee-based download.

SEE, Security and Privacy: Do You Feel More Secure Than Last Year? CIO Insight, 1 September 2004

Google Adds Books to Search Results

Google has officially launched Google Print, a project to digitize print books and make the content available in Google's search results.

To see what it looks like, run the search "book about blogs" The first result should have a book icon next to it and a list of digitized books available. Click on a title to see the text.

Because Google Print is intended only to give users a glimpse of a book so that they can determine if they would like to purchase it, there is no way to copy or print text. Also, once you're on a book page, you can only 'flip' two pages forward and back.

To expand it's collection, Google has invited publishers to submit books to be digitized. For more information, see Google Print program for Publishers.

October 5, 2004

List of Wisconsin's Candidates for the November Election

Legislative Reference Bureau has published a new Wisconsin Briefs listing candidates for the November 2004 election. Includes district, party affiliation, candidate name, and address.

Guide: School Safety: Bullying, Hazing, & Other Violence

Marian G. Rogers of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau has compiled a guide to School Safety: Bullying, Hazing, & Other Violence. It is part of the LRB Library's Tap the Power series. Abstract:
As the 2004 school year begins, safety is a primary concern for children, as well as teachers. Some consider school violence to be one of today’s most pressing educational issues. This bibliography focuses on physical safety and victimization in schools.

October 4, 2004

Wisconsin Supreme Court Accepts 13 New Cases

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has voted to grant review in 13 new cases. More information is available from the Wisconsin Court System.

Article: 7th Circ Decision Reinforces the Noncopyrightability of Facts in a Database

Although it's a little older, the following article may be of interest:

Blanke, Jordan M. "Assessment Technologies of WI, LLC v. Wiredata, Inc.: Seventh Circuit Decision Reinforces the Noncopyrightability of Facts in a Database." Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal 20:755-764 (March 2004). Full text is available on LexisNexis & Westlaw.


The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently handed down a decision that squarely supports the Supreme Court holding in Feist that noncopyrightable facts contained in a database are not and cannot be protected by copyright. The decision, written by Judge Richard A. Posner, plainly states that such facts cannot be protected by copyright law no matter how far embedded or intertwined they may be with copyrightable portions of code or structure. While the facts in this case are almost as barren of originality as those in Feist, the strong opinion strikes a blow to those who would like to skirt the clear principles enunciated in Feist.

New Issues of WSLL @ Your Service and DCLRC Docket

The October 2004 issues are now available for:

WSLL @ Your Service from the Wisconsin State Law Library

Highlights include Sports Law, Google Web Search Features, upcoming workshops, etc.

DCLRC Docket from the Dane County Legal Resource Center

Highlights include Enhanced Clerk of Court Web Site Debuts, upcoming workshops, and more

Wisconsin Briefs Collection Updated on UW Law Library Web Site

In cooperation with the Wisconsin State Law Library, the University of Wisconsin Law Library has recently updated our collection of digitized Wisconsin Briefs. Coverage now spans 173 Wis. 2d (1992) to 269 Wis. 2d (2004).

Older briefs are available in print at both the UW Law Library and the Wisconsin State Law Library. For more recent briefs, contact the Wisconsin State Law Library.

More information about the collection is available at About Wisconsin Briefs.

Finding Good Blawgs

As a nice companion to my recent post, About Blawgs: Defining, Finding, Reading & Creating Law Related Blogs, Diane Murley at SIU's Law Dawg Blawg has compiled some recommendations for Finding Good Blawgs.