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November 30, 2004

New Blog for Law Library Bloggers

As co-chair of the Blawgs Committee of the American Association of Law Libraries Computing Services Special Interest Section (that's a mouthful!), I'm pleased to announce a new Web site for law librarians with an interest blogging, both professionally and personally.

The CS-SIS Blawgs Committee site, which features a blog, forums, and wikis, was developed using Bloki. Although some areas of the site are only available to Blawgs Committee members, anyone is welcome to visit the site or subscribe to our RSS feeds. RSS feeds are available for both our blog and forums .

Some topics we hope to explore include tips for starting a blog, blogging policies, marketing strategies, uses for wikis, and more.

New Blog - The Becker-Posner Blog

There's not much posted yet, but Judge Richard Posner and Professor Gary Becker have launched The Becker-Posner Blog.

Richard Posner is a Judge on the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

Gary Becker is a Professor at the Graduate School of Business, The University of Chicago.

Source: Blawg

December DCLRC Newsletter Available

The December issue of the Dane Co Legal Resource Center Newsletter is now available. It includes an overview of new outreach programming for 2005.

November 29, 2004

RSS Feeds for Business News

From The E-LawLibrary Weblog:
As ResearchBuzz reports, Business Wire is now offering an RSS feed in five categories. It is not available to the general public, but Ms. Calishain provides an alternative method to access Business Wire content via RSS.

Below are links to some news sites that provide an RSS feed for business news. Most of the sites provide free full-text access to current articles. For many of the sites, the pages below list other topics available through RSS.

Archived Web Page Held Admissible as Evidence

From the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society:

In a Northern District of Illinois case, a judge held that the archived copies of a web site (taken from the Wayback Machine) "were not themselves statements susceptible to hearsay exclusion, since they merely showed what [plaintiff] had previously posted on its site. [The judge] also noted that, since [plaintiff] was seeking to suppress evidence of its own previous statements, the snapshots would not be barred even if they were hearsay. "

Source: inter alia

THOMAS to Get a Face Lift

It looks like THOMAS, the Legislative Info System from the Library of Congress is being redesigned. According to a press release, the updated site will be released on January 4th.

Here are illustrations of the major changes: (Please note that the pages below are for information and illustration only. Searches and links on the pages do not work.)

  • The homepage, with better organized links and with the addition of two new features:
    • a link to the latest issue of the Daily Digest
    • a search for most recent legislative action ("Action Yesterday")
  • Combination of Bill Text and Bill Summary & Status links into a single Bills & Resolutions page for simple, basic searches
  • Combination of all Congressional Record and Congressional Record Index links into one page
  • Addition of the capability to search Bill Text across multiple Congresses
Source: beSpacific

WSLL @ Your Service December Issue Available

The December issue of WSLL @ Your Service is now available. Online shopping resources and safety tips are highlighted this month.

Re-Register for WI's No-Call List

If you were one of the early registrants for Wisconsin's no-call list, your information may be about to expire. To re-register, go to the Wisconsin Dept of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection web site or call 866-966-2255. To be placed on the list before January 1st, you must register before Wednesday, Dec. 1st.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal

Supreme Court Rules Hearings Audio on the Web

Starting in October, audio of Wisconsin Supreme Court rules hearings is now available on the Internet. The Wisconsin Court System site offers both live proceedings and an online audio archive. Rules petitions are also available in PDF format.

Source: The Third Branch

November 23, 2004

Learn to Reconstruct Broken URLs

It's no secret that URLs sometimes don't work. Maybe you wrote it down incorrectly or perhaps the URL has been changed since you received the link. Sometimes long URLs break when sent via email.

Never fear. With a little knowledge of how URLs work, you can often deconstruct the URL to find the page you need. To that end, the search experts at Eipert Information Services have prepared a two part guide to understanding URLs.

Part One: Deconstructing Web Addresses Part Two: Use your knowledge of URLs to find information
Source: inter alia

Westlaw Cancels Cost for Documents in Sequence

From the West elert press release:
Documents in Sequence price cancellation In September 2004 we announced that customers who have selected the transactional pricing method would be charged for every document retrieved via the Documents in Sequence feature. That price change has since been canceled. You and your patrons won't be charged for any documents retrieved with the feature between September and the present time.

For the price of retrieving a single Westlaw document, you and your patrons can retrieve an entire series of documents. Some databases are better candidates for Documents in Sequence cost savings than others. The feature is most effective in databases containing sequential documents, including statutes, regulations, practice guides, and treatises (e.g., the USCA, CFR, AMJUR-TRIALS, and REST-TORT databases).

To take advantage of the feature, you and your patrons must first select the transactional pricing method. Select Options from the More drop-down list and click Location & Pricing on the left side of the screen. Then click By the transaction on the Searching drop-down list and click Save.

November 22, 2004

Odd Wisconsin Tells of 1890's Legislative Prank

One of the most enjoyable blogs I read is Odd Wisconsin from the Wisconsin State Historical Society. This posting was too good not to share.
The Political Dustbin

Dateline: Madison, sometime in the early '90's (1890's, that is). This past week we've witnessed more than the usual amount of partisan nastiness here in Madison, as legislators, lobbyists, and editorial writers went after one another at the Capitol and in the press. A century ago things were just as bad, as this reminiscence reveals. In those days, when the opposition spoke too sharply - - or just too long -- a cascade of dust and debris could be released on a legislator's head from the ceiling of the chamber. This apparently helped to restrain the self-righteous pontificating that prevailed back then among politicians.

A 1924 Sheboygan Press Telegram article describes the practice in detail.

Seven Ways To Foil ID Thieves

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission estimates that 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years, including 9.9 million last year--and the number of new cases appears to be growing. Forbes.com presents Seven Ways To Foil ID Thieves

Source: TVC Alert

November 18, 2004

WisLaw CD-Roms Have Links to Cited Cases

As reported earlier, the Wisconsin Statutes and Annotations, Wisconsin Constitution and Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules on the Revisor of Statutes Bureau website now contain links from annotations to cited cases on the Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Court System website.

And, according to Bruce Hoesly, Deputy Revisor of Statutes, WisLaw CD-Roms also have the case links to the Wisconsin Court System website. If a user is accessing the statutes or Constitution or Statutes from the WisLaw CD-Rom without a web browser running, clicking on the link, will open the browser and the link will be followed.

The Wisconsin Lawyer - Legal News & Trends recently included information on ordering the WisLaw CD-Roms:

Up-to-date WisLaw® CD-ROMs, which are released quarterly, also are available. The CD-ROMs contain:

- Wisconsin Statutes and Annotations With Index;
- Table of Cross-References and Table of Sections Affected by Acts;
- Wisconsin Administrative Code with Index, Administrative Register, and Emergency Rules;
- Executive Orders;
- Wisconsin Acts With Index;
- Supreme Court Rules and Internal Operating Procedures;
- Recent Opinions of the Attorney General With Index;
- Wisconsin Constitution with Annotations and Index;
- U.S. Constitution;
- Wisconsin Town Law Forms; and
- Wisconsin Code of Military Justice.

All WisLaw® Infobases are substantially integrated with hypertext links. The statutes feature thousands of links between administrative rules and their authorizing statutes.

WisLaw® is available only by annual subscription. An annual subscription plus a license for one simultaneous user costs $99, up to four simultaneous users costs $149, and up to 10 simultaneous users costs $199. Shipping is included.

Unless exempt by law, all sales are subject to 5 percent state sales tax and, where applicable, 0.5 percent county sales tax and 0.1 percent stadium tax. Prepayment is required for all orders.

To order: call (800) 362-7253, (608) 264-9419, or TTY (608) 264-8499; visit www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb; or write to the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Document Sales & Distribution Section, 202 S. Thornton Ave., P.O. Box 7840, Madison, WI 53707-7840. Make check or money order payable to WI Department of Administration. VISA or MasterCard also accepted.

Phishing IQ Quiz

How likely are you to recognize a phishing scam when you see one? [What's phishing?]

Test your skills with MailFrontier's Phishing IQ Test. You'll be presented with ten email messages - all of which were actually received by real people - and you determine whether they are legitimate or a fraud.

Source: inter alia

Google Scholar Searches Academic Content

Big news from Google - they have just launched a search service called Google Scholar which searches the Web "specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports"

Where available, some sources are labeled by type, such as "book," "citation," "pdf," etc. Book results offer the option of a "Library Search," which helps you locate the book in a local library, or a "Web Search," which returns a list of Web sites mentioning the book.

According to SearchEngineWatch, Google has worked with some publishers to gain access for its spiders to search material that wouldn't ordinarily be accessible without a paid subscription. This reveals content that would normally be "invisible" to web searchers. [For more on the concept of the "invisible Web" see my article in The Wisconsin Lawyer]

Although abstracts should be available at no charge, be prepared to pay, however, when you click on the link to access the full text. BUT BEFORE YOU PAY, try locating the article in one of the subscription databases freely available to you from your library. And remember that Badgerlink, a great database of news & scholarly articles, is available free to all Wisconsinites from the DPI.

Another excellent feature in Google Scholar is citation analysis. On many search results, you will see "Cited by" followed by a number. This links you to other sources indexed by Google Scholar that cite that source. Try the search environmental justice to see an example.

For more on Google Scholar, check out the NY Times, SearchEngineWatch, & ResourceShelf

November 17, 2004

Wisconsin State Law Library After Hours Service

From The Wisconsin Lawyer - Legal News & Trends:

The State Law Library's After Hours Service, available by subscription to all Wisconsin-licensed lawyers, allows access to the library from 7 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. Regular library hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Subscribers can access the library's print resources as well as the catalog and Web site, the Internet, and a variety of electronic research tools.

After Hours Service is available by calendar-year subscription. Lawyers must subscribe individually. Current subscribers will automatically receive a renewal reminder for $72. The cost for a first-time subscription is $80, which includes a convenient access tag that fits on a keychain. State government lawyers with programmable ID or building access cards may be eligible for a slight discount.

To obtain a subscription form, contact Tammy Keller, State Law Library, at (608) 261-7553 or tammy.keller@wicourts.gov.

Article: Citing Unpublished Opinions in Wisconsin

The November 2004 issue of The Wisconsin Lawyer has an excellent guide on when it is appropriate to cite to an unpublished opinion. In their article, Citing Unpublished Opinions in Wisconsin State and Federal Tribunals, authors Mia Sefarbi & Kira Zaporski have compiled a list of relevant court rules and standards and a chart on the mechanics of citation.

Both Sefarbi and Zaporski are members of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW). This article is part of LLAW's continuing campaign to share the expertise of law librarians in publications for Wisconsin's legal practitioners.

Bloglines Tips Sheet

About.com has put together a Web page full of tips for Bloglines users.

If you haven't already discovered it, Bloglines is "a FREE online service that helps you subscribe to and manage lots of web information, such as news feeds, weblogs and audio. Bloglines tracks the information you're interested in, retrieves new stuff as it happens, and organizes everything for you on your own personal web news page."

Bloglines is one of several Webreader (a.k.a. RSS aggregator) services on the Web. I use it myself and have been very pleased with it. It gives me one-stop-shopping for monitoring updates to my favorite blogs, listservs, web sites, and more. And I can access it from anywhere.

Source: Library Stuff

November 16, 2004

Collaboration Tools to Be Added to Adobe Acrobat Reader

Look for a new version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to arrive before the new year. The new release will feature enhanced collaboration tools including a commenting feature.

Read more in the CNet article, Adobe to update PDF tools

Source: ResourceShelf

Yahoo Adds Library Searching to Toolbar

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that you can use Google and Yahoo to find out if a library in your area has a particular item. To do a search, remember that you go to either Google or Yahoo and enter the search find in a library: Da Vinci Code

Now, Yahoo has made it even easier by adding the "find in a library" feature to the Yahoo Toolbar.

To find library records, enter a search term in the toolbar's search box, and click either the WorldCat logo or select "Libraries" from the drop-down menu next to the "Search Web" button.

November 15, 2004

Article: Jurors Checked for Criminal Past

It seems that the practice of running criminal background checks on potential jurors by Hamilton County, Ohio prosecutors has prompted a request for a new trial. According to the article, Jurors Checked for Criminal Past:
Timothy Jordan, charged with aggravated murder, asked a judge this week for a new trial on grounds that Allen's office improperly used computer records at the federal National Crime Information Center to disqualify two black jurors.
Source: TVC Alert

UPDATE (11/30/04) From TVC Alert:

Judge Mark Schweikert denied the defendant's request for a mistrial in a case that is bringing the practice of performing criminal background checks on jurors to light. The request for a mistrial came after defense counsel learned the prosecutors had used NCIC, the federal criminal records database, to disqualify two African-American jurors. The jurors had lied about their criminal past.

Updated List of Wisconsin State Officers

From the LRB, comes a brief list of Wisconsin State Officers (Wisconsin Brief 04−18). The list contains constitutional officers, members of the U.S. Congress, supreme court justices, and members of the Wisconsin Legislature, as of January 3, 2005. An alphabetical listing of all state officers is included.

Source: Legislative Reference Bureau News Feed (If you haven't discovered these yet, take a look!)

November 11, 2004

U.S. Passports to be Embedded with Radio-Tag Chips

According to an article in BusinessWeek online:
The U.S. is moving closer to requiring citizens to have an identity card that could be scanned from a distance. By the end of 2005, U.S. passports will come with embedded radio-tag chips -- and Congress is considering mandating similar technology in driver's licenses. The government argues that the changes will make America safer from terrorists. But privacy advocates are appalled, fearing that the information could be stolen and misused.
Apparently, this would be done using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), an electronic identification system which transfers data between a movable item and a reader to identify, track or locate that item.

Source: Ernie the Attorney

Phishers Direct Real Bank URL to Their Site

Online bank users beware. From the Strategiy article, New technique for stealing financial information from computer users:
Researchers from SurfControl's Global Threat Command Centers this week identified a technique used to exploit flaws in the Web sites for SunTrust Bank and Citibank Australia. Phishers substituted the legitimate content of the Citibank and Sun Trust's Web sites with their own fraudulent content, while actually retaining the authentic URL address of the financial institutions. This technique makes it virtually impossible for even a sophisticated computer user to tell the difference between a fraudulent site and the real thing.
Source: TVC Alert

November 10, 2004

Wisconsin Suppliers of Legal Infomation by Fax, Mail, or Email

The following is a list of libraries in Wisconsin that offer fax, mail, or email delivery of legal infomation. It is excerpted from my longer work, Sources of Legal Information for the Wisconsin Attorney, compiled in June 2004.

Marquette University Law Library
Will deliver: Cases, legislation, regulations, journal articles, etc.
Cost: Articles, etc.: Prices range from $10/document + $.30-$1.00/page
Books, etc.: Not available for delivery

UW Law Library Outlaw Document Delivery Service
Will deliver: Cases, legislation, regulations, journal articles, books, etc.
Cost: Articles, etc.: Prices range from $8-$25/document + $.20-$.50/page
Books, etc.: Prices range from $8-$25/volume + return shipping
For more information see fee schedule

Theobald Legislative Library (LRB)
Will deliver: Wisconsin legislative & government documents
Cost: Fax/Mail: $10/hour + $.10/page
Duplicate Microfiche or Transfer Microfiche to CD (drafting records): $3 + $1/fiche or CD

Wisconsin State Law Library
1-800-322-9755 or wsll.ref@wicourts.gov
Will deliver: Cases, legislation, regulations, journal articles, books, etc.
Cost: Articles, etc. - Fax/Email: $.75/page ($3 minimum); Mail: $.60/page ($3 min.)
Shepardize - $5/citation (up to 6 pages)
Books, etc. (WI Licensed Attorneys only): $10/volume + return shipping
For more information see fee schedule for articles and for books

Your Local Public Library
Contact a public library to request materials from other libraries, including law libraries. This service is usually free, although delivery may take longer than requesting directly from one of the services listed above.

GAO Study on Use of SSNs in Public Records

The GAO recently conducted a study on the use of social security numbers in public records. According to the study highlights:
Social Security numbers appear in any number of records exposed to public view almost everywhere in the nation, primarily at the state and local levels of government. State agencies in 41 states and the District of Columbia reported visible SSNs in at least one type of record and a few states have them in as many as 10 or more different records.
An InformationWeek article, Many Counties Put Social Security Numbers Online, offers additional commentary on the study.

Source: The E-LawLibrary Weblog

November 9, 2004

Article Comparing Loislaw, VersusLaw & National Law Library

As a blogger, I've come to rely quite heavily on other blogs and RSS feeds for current awareness. Well, I finally got around to reading the stack of print journals on my desk and came across an article in the October/November 2004 issue of Law Office Computing comparing Loislaw, VersusLaw, and National Law Library, three online legal research databases. [Article available online only by subscription]

It offers a pretty good comparison of search features and ease of use. However, the author fails to include pricing information for Loislaw since Loislaw doesn't include this information on their Web site. But he does say that it's "probably very expensive" A simple phone call to Loislaw would have provided the information. As of June 2004, packages range from $90/month unlimited for one state to $250/month for all state and federal unlimited.

Also, very little mention is made of the content of the databases. In my opinion, this is a major factor to consider when choosing a online legal research system.

All in all, a useful, if incomplete, analysis.

Sample Corporate Blogging Policies

Charlene Li, a blogger from Forrester Research, has compiled some sample corporate blogging policies, "one for a company to provide guidelines to its employee bloggers, and the other for the blogger – a “code of ethics” to build trust with readers."

She has also created a Corporate Blogging Policies Wiki "so that others can 1) improve on my initial thoughts; and 2) add links to good examples of public company blogs."
[What is a Wiki?]

Source: Feedmelegal

Vehicle Crash Data Online

From TVC Alert:

The Department of Transportation recently launched a Web site for consumers, which provides detailed safety information about passenger vehicles. The site, Safercar.gov, offers crash test data and rollover ratings, links to information on defects and recalls, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Article: How To Be An (Info) Peeping Tom

How To Be An (Info) Peeping Tom from CNN Money offers a list of selected sources of public information.

Graphic from the article:

Source: The University of Baltimore Law Library Weblog

November 8, 2004

Watch What You Blog!

Watch Your Weblog, Legal Liabilities Lurk Amid Corporate Blogs from the online publication, Computerworld, has compiled a list of some of the dangers of corporate blogging and precautions companies should consider.

Source: The Blawg Channel

Ziggs, A Search Engine for Professional's Profiles

I just learned about Ziggs, a search engine of professional's Web profiles.

Search by first and last name, country, state/province, city, company, and keywords. Results list the individual's name, location and company. The name appears as a link which directs you to the person's profile available on the Web.

There are a little over a million profiles in Ziggs, but according to ResearchBuzz, the site is expected to double to two million profiles in the next 100 days.

Source: ResearchBuzz

November 4, 2004

Find Out Which Library Has It with Google & Yahoo

Yesterday, I mentioned a great resource called WISCAT for searching the holdings of Wisconsin's libraries. But you can also use Google and Yahoo to find out if a library in your area has a particular item.

In cooperation with WorldCat, a catalog of libraries worldwide, both Google and Yahoo have added the "find in a library" search syntax. Say, for example, that you would like to check out the book, The Da Vinci Code, from a local library. Simply go to either Google or Yahoo and enter the search find in a library: Da Vinci Code

The first item in your search results should be "Find in a Library: The Da Vinci code" Click on it to open the WorldCat record, then enter in your zip code. You should receive a list of libraries in your area that have the item. If the name of the library appears as a link, click on it to get the call number.

Article: Two Found Guilty in First Felony Spam Conviction

Law.com has an update to the Virginia spam case mentioned last week: Two Found Guilty in First Felony Spam Conviction.

From the article:

A brother and sister who sent unsolicited junk e-mail to millions of America Online customers were convicted Wednesday in the nation's first felony prosecution of distributors of spam.

Jurors who convicted Jeremy D. Jaynes, 30, and Jessica DeGroot, 28, later sentenced Jaynes to a nine-year prison term and fined DeGroot $7,500 for three convictions each of sending e-mails with fraudulent and untraceable routing information.

November 3, 2004

Divorce Court Assistance Project: A Joint Project of the UW Law School & Dane Co. Courts

In cooperation with the Dane County Courts, the UW Law School has organized the Divorce Court Assistance Project. DCAP is a hands-on experience for law students, designed to address the problem of unrepresented litigants by providing assistance to the judges who handle divorce cases with unrepresented parties in Dane County.

Under the supervision of Clinical Assistant Professor Marsha Mansfield, students work with the parties to prepare their cases for decision or stipulation. Law students will not serve as advocates for either party, but rather as facilitators designated by family court judges to guide individuals through the legal process.

For more information, contact DCAP at (608) 262-2301.

Need a Book? Find Out Which Library Has It With WISCAT

Looking for a particular book and need to know if it's available at a library in Wisconsin? Try searching WISCAT, a statewide union catalog of library holdings. It includes catalogs from the state's major public law libraries as well as a number of larger law firm libraries.

The current edition of WISCAT, one of the largest physical statewide union catalogs in the country, contains 7 million titles and more than 32 million holdings from over 1200 contributing libraries. The catalog contains material in all formats, including books, serials, videorecordings, sound recordings and other audiovisual formats.

Resources for Legal Periodical Authors

Thinking of submitting an article for publication in a law review? Check out the following resources:

The Directory of Law Reviews
Its features include:
- A general Title Index
- A guide explaining the criteria that publications must meet for inclusion
- General Student-Edited Law Reviews
- Special Focus Student-Edited Law Journals
- Non-Student Edited Peer Review and Trade Journals
- Selected University Presses

Joyner's Directory for Successful Publishing in Legal Periodicals(Available in print from the UW Law Library Reserve K36 J69 1997 and Marquette Law Library Z286.P4 J69 1997)
It's features include:
- Contact information
- Emphasis of journal
- Preferred manuscript style
- Acceptance rates

November 2, 2004

2003-04 Wisconsin Statutes in Print Available for Purchase

It appears that the 2003-2004 Wisconsin Statutes in print are available for purchase earlier than expected.

For purchasing information, see the Document Sales Catalog from the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Bureau of Document Services, Document Sales and Distribution.

Thanks to Mary Koshollek of Godfrey & Kahn, s.c. and Vicky Coulter at the UW Law Library for the information.

Legal Research Report: Jury Sequestration Practices in Wisconsin & Sequestration Alternatives

Dane County Legal Resource Center librarian, Paula Seeger, has introduced a new quarterly e-publication called Legal Research Reports.

The first issue is on the topic of Jury Sequestration Practices in Wisconsin and Sequestration Alternatives.


There is a variety of literature and practice regarding jury management in lengthy, and/or high profile cases. Most local practice is to sequester juries only in first-degree homicide or murder cases. Many local courts have not sequestered a jury in several years, nor have had a high profile case that would necessitate thought about jury management. The alternatives to sequestration cited most often are: using anonymous juries, using an out of county jury, change of venue, issuing gag orders, issuing thorough jury admonitions or instructions, or using limited sequestration (such as sequestering only during deliberation or not over weekends). The literature reinforces that sequestration should be left up to the discretion of the presiding judge, as is the law in Wisconsin and other states, and goes so far as to say that sequestered jurors could be considered prisoners without the benefit of due process. I will summarize the various methodology results and list the sources I consulted while summarizing their contribution to this topic. Finally, I will make recommendations for further study.

To received a copy of this quarter's report and/or to get on the Legal Research Reports mailing list, contact Paula at Paula.Seeger@wicourts.gov