« May 2005 | Main | July 2005 »

June 30, 2005

UW-Madison SLIS Book Cart Drill Team Puts on Heck of a Show

The ALA Champion UW-Madison SLIS Book Cart Drill Team put on a heck of a show this afternoon. With up-and-coming librarians like these, it won't be long before we finally shatter that shushing, bun-wearing, finger-pointing librarian stereotype! "It's Hip to Be Square"

Update 7/5/05: See the story on the "Dewey et al for My Baby" drill team in the Wisconsin State Journal and more photos from the SLIS web site.

Winning UW Book Cart Drill Team Puts on Show Today at College Library

If you are on campus at noon today, stop by H.C. White Hall (College Library) to watch a performance by library school students who have created a Book Cart Drill Team. The team recently won a national competition at the American Library Association Convention in Chicago this week. It will be filmed by WKOW-TV (ABC).

According to Don Johnson, Head of Library Communications at UW-Madison:

The nine library school students and a UW-Madison staff member acting as choreographer organized a Book Cart Drill Team in just six weeks this summer. They competed against more than a dozen other teams, some of which have been performing for years. The choreography and gymnastic moves include break dancing, an Irish dance, and back flips in a precision four-minute drill with spinning book carts. The team is performing in an exclusive show for WKOW, and all are welcome.

Milwaukee Falls from List of Twenty Largest U.S. Cities

The Milwaukee JS Online reports that for the first time since before the Civil War, Milwaukee is not among the 20 largest cities in the United States, according the U.S. Census Bureau.
With southern cities such as Charlotte, N.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, growing into the top 20, Milwaukee's population loss pushed it from the 19th largest U.S. city in 2003 to the 22nd in 2004, reflecting the oft-cited exodus of Northerners to the South.

According to the annual figures, which estimate population each July, Milwaukee's population in 2004 was 583,624, down nearly 3,600 residents from the same time in 2003.

Proposal Made to Seize Justice Souter's Property

Yahoo News reports that:
Following a Supreme Court ruling last week that gave local governments power to seize private property, someone has suggested taking over Justice David Souter's New Hampshire farmhouse and turning it into a hotel. . .

[A] letter dubbing the project the "Lost Liberty Hotel" was posted on conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh's Web site. Clements said it would include a dining room called the "Just Desserts Cafe" an a museum focused on the "loss of freedom in

Source: University of Baltimore Law Library Weblog

Introduction to Legal Materials: A Manual for Non-Law Librarians in Wisconsin

The Public Access to Legal Information Committee of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin has produced a wonderful guide entitled, Introduction to Legal Materials: A Manual for Non-Law Librarians in Wisconsin.

Although the primary intended audience is public librarians, the guide is useful for anyone wishing to learn more about basic materials used in federal and Wisconsin legal research.

The guide, which was published in 2003, is freely available in PDF on the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin Web site. Bound copies are available for $10 (see Web site for details.)

Conference: Upgrading to ePractice

On Thursday, July 14th, UW Milwaukee will be hosting a conference entitled Upgrading to ePractice.

Clueless about eDiscovery? This conference offers the most up-to-date, comprehensive technology resources. Document scanning, acquiring electronic data, testimony management and internet research are paired with common sense protocols for document productions and imaging. Federal Court representatives will provide vital information on successful electronic filings in the Eastern District. Hands on computer training will be focused using Summation and Microsoft products.

Source: LLAW Newsletter, Summer 2005

June 29, 2005

AALL Annual Meeting Blog

AALLamo Blog, the blog for the 2005 American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, is now up and running. The annual meeting will be held July 16-20 in San Antonio, TX. AALL members attending the meeting are invited to post to the blog - see Become a Member to Post on the right menu.

I'll be attending the meeting and plan to contribute to the blog between my presentations. I hope that we hear from many others as well. The more the merrier.

Wisconsin License Lookup for Professionals & Businesses

The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing offers a free license lookup database for Wisconsin health professionals, business professionals, business entities, and charitable organizations.

With the database, you can see the license number, location, profession, status of license, whether any disciplinary action has been taken, and more.

Additional information might also include officers & partners, employees/contractors, firearms permits, etc.

Government Report Says MSN Search Adult Filter Most Effective

From Search Engine Watch:
A new report from the Government Accountability Office says that the adult filter at MSN Search is more effective at blocking adult content than similar filters at Google and Yahoo.

Over 30,000 Books Missing from French National Library

The Independent (London) reports on the discovery of major thefts at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (French National Library) in Paris. It is believed that more than 30,000 books, including 1,000 rare and priceless items, have been taken.

A former senior curator of the library, Michel Garel, has been accused of stealing at least 100 rare old books and manuscripts. Garel denies involvement and says that he had warned his bosses over many years that rare items were going missing. Interestingly, he noted that the basement of the library's old building, was connected by a labyrinth of underground passageways to nearby antiquarian bookshops.

Source: Library Associates LibBlog

Are Law Firm Blogs Worth the Time & Effort?

TechnoLawyer Blog has posted Joe Hartley's controversial piece, A Contrarian View of Legal Blogs, in which he warns firms not to jump to quickly on the blog bandwagon.

Synopsis from TechnoLawyer:

Legal blogs have become the latest rage, but are they worth all the time and effort? In this article, Joe Hartley explores the role of blogs in a law firm's business plan -especially as compared to a traditional Web site. The results of his investigation, which consisted of a review of dozens of blogs and interviews with several legal bloggers, may surprise you.

June 28, 2005

Maximize Your Google Search with Advanced Operators

These days, everyone's favorite search engine seems to be Google - and for good reason. Hey, it's my favorite, too.

But I wonder if many people know how to maximize their search results. Do you? For example, the next time you want to search a for a phrase in Google, put it in quotes. This can dramatically alter your results.

For more tips, check out Nancy Blachman's great list of advanced operators for Google. I learned a thing or two myself.

Source: inter alia

June 27, 2005

TIME Lists Coolest Blogs

TIME magazine recently published their list of the 50 Coolest Web Sites for 2005 and this year the list includes blogs. It includes blogs on legal humor, technology, parenting, entrepreneurs, cars, sports, and more.

Other "cool" sites are divided into categories: Arts and Entertainment - Lifestyle, Health and Hobbies - News and Information - Shopping

Source: del.icio.us

Study of Law Students' Online Research Habits

The Stanford Law Library has recently published some very interesting results of their three year survey of law student's online research habits. The study is entitled, Book Lovers Beware: A Survey of Online Research Habits of Stanford Law Students (Robert Crown Law Library Legal Research Paper Series, Paper #2, June 2005).

The study found that "in 2002, 75% of the first year class stated that they performed at least 80% of their research online; in 2003, this percentage grew to 83%; and by 2004, the number had increased to 93%."

Wow - I knew the online preference was high, but I didn't realize that it was that high! I have to admit, I prefer online sources also - BUT - I know that sometimes the better source exists in print. It's unfortunate that this realization seems to be escaping students. Just wait until they see their first Lexis / Westlaw bill.

Source: The E-LawLibrary Weblog

June 23, 2005

Grokker - A Graphical Search Engine

If you've never tried a graphical search engine, give Grokker a try. It's a very different search experience.

Rather than the usual textual listing, search results are displayed in a map containing nested circles and squares. Circles represent categories into which results are grouped. Categories may contain many levels of subcategories. Larger circles contain more subcategories and links than smaller ones. Click on a circle to zoom in on a subcategory.

Squares are web links that result from your query. For a summary of the contents of a link, hover over that square. The link itself appears on the right, along with a thumbnail image of the page.

Very neat, especially for visual learners. But I wish that they'd lighten up the page a little. The black background makes it hard to see.

Thanks to my UW-Madison Libraries colleague, John Wanserski, for the tip.

Comments on the Court's Use of Google

Today I received an email from Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Anderson who commented on yesterday's post: Court Notes that Google Search Might Have Turned Up Missing Defendant. He reminded me of a CNET story on this issue (See WisBlawg post dated 5/24/04 for the link). The article raises concerns that judges are using search engines to do their own research.

As I replied to him, librarians are keenly aware of the shortcomings of a Google-only strategy in the search for authoritative information. That's not to say that search engines aren't valuable tools - but they are just one of the many tools that the legal researcher has in her workshop.

Sure I can pound a nail with a wrench, but it will take me twice as long and will probably look awful. Give me a hammer I can hit the mark more quickly and with more precision. There is something to be said about using the right tool for the job.

LA Times Suspends Wiki Editorials

MSNBC reports that the Los Angeles Times was forced to suspend their “Wikitorial” experiment after only three days. It seems that inviting users to edit the paper's editorials resulted in a flood of foul language and pornography.
The paper had posted on its Web site Friday an editorial urging a better-defined plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. Readers were invited to add their thoughts. Dozens did, with some adding hyperlinks and others adding opposing views.

But the number of “inappropriate” posts soon began to overwhelm the editors’ ability to monitor the site. On Sunday, editors decided to remove the feature.

Source: Library Link of the Day

June 22, 2005

Wisconsin Briefs Database Updated

The Wisconsin Briefs database from the UW Law Library has recently been updated. It now contains all Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals published cases and all unpublished Court of Appeals cases from 173 Wis.2d (1992) to 275 Wis.2d (2004).

The Wisconsin Briefs collection database is generated from scanned images created by the Wisconsin State Law Library. The UW Law Library has made these electronic documents freely available from our Web site.

For more information, see About Wisconsin Briefs.

Court Notes that Google Search Might Have Turned Up Missing Defendant

In Munster v. Groce, the Indiana Court of Appeals recently upheld a ruling that the plaintiff had not exercised due diligence in locating the missing defendant. The court noted that a simple Google search might have helped locate him.
We do note that there is no evidence in this case of a public records or internet search for Groce or the use of a skip-trace service to find him. In fact, we discovered, upon entering "Joe Groce Indiana" into the Google™ search engine, an address for Groce that differed from either address used in this case, as well as an apparent obituary for Groce's mother that listed numerous surviving relatives who might have known his whereabouts.

Munster v. Groce, --- N.E.2d ----, 2005 WL 1364662, at n. 3 (Ind.App., June 8, 2005).

Source: Search Engine Watch Blog

TechnoLawyer Announces Awards

The 2005 TechnoLawyer Awards have been announced. The awards are based on votes received by TechnoLawyer members for their favorite blogs, products, services, and Web sites in a variety of categories. Award winners and finalist are posted at TechnoLawyer.

June 21, 2005

Congressional Research Service Reports Archive

From the GovDoc-L listserv:

The University of North Texas Libraries recently announced the availability of a new online archive of Congressional Research Service Reports. The site provides integrated, searchable access to many of the full-text CRS reports that have been available on the Web since 1990. Thus far over 6500 reports have been captured, on topics ranging from Terrorism and Foreign Policy to Medicare and Social Security.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) serves as the public policy research arm of Congress, and works exclusively for Members, their committees and staff. CRS does not provide direct public access to the numerous reports it produces each year, although some Members, as well as several non-profit groups, post a select group of the reports on their Web sites. In the past, citizens who wished to view these reports had to request them from their Member of Congress.

Thanks to Bill Ebbott for pointing this out.

Is Your Firm Thinking of Starting a Blog? Read This First

Dale Tincher of Consultwebs.com has put together a useful list of considerations for law firms who are contemplating starting a blog. Blogging is not for everyone, he warns. In his article, Law Firm Blogs - Hip or Hype?, he notes:

Properly developed blogs can be very effective. Unfortunately, the majority of law firm blogs are not properly planned and the result is often a significant waste of time, money and credibility. How can you determine whether you should develop a blog for your firm? We recommend taking these three important steps:

  • Define your goals;
  • Assess your ability to invest the necessary time;
  • Consider other options.
------------ Update 7/6/05: Thanks to Dale for his nice words about WisBlawg in an update to the article.

June 20, 2005

"The CSI Effect" - Is TV Influencing Dane County Juries?

Today's Wisconsin State Journal has an interesting article about 'The CSI Effect' on Real Juries.

... Among some prospective jurors, the popularity of TV shows that make heroes out of forensic scientists has produced a spinoff of its own: Authorities have dubbed it "the CSI effect."

The script for this phenomenon, written by prosecutors across the country and repeated by news media in recent months, is simple and compelling: Having watched hour after hour of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and other legal dramas, jurors nationwide are demanding forensic evidence and acquitting defendants when prosecutors don't deliver.

The article also includes comments about TV has influenced Dane County juries.

Tax Wiki from Intuit

TaxAlmanac is a new tax-related wiki from Intuit. (What's a wiki?) Almost 8000 articles have been contributed by the public. As with any wiki, you are warned to use "this website at your own risk."

Source: Stark County Law Library Blawg

June 16, 2005

Astronaut Gives Testimony from Space

In a first for Congress, the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics heard testimony this week from Astronaut John Phillips, as he orbited the Earth. Read more in the NASA feature.

Source: Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites

Father Marquette Starts a Blog

Here's a fun one from the Wisconsin Historical Society:
Blogs seem to be popping up everywhere. Still, Father Jacques Marquette (1637-1675) is not someone you'd normally associate with the latest trends in technology. The venerated missionary seems an unlikely blogger. But then, he was an unlikely explorer. On May 17, 1673, two weeks shy of his 36th birthday, Marquette set out with Louis Joliet, a 27-year-old philosophy student turned fur trader, on the epoch-making voyage that would make them both famous. Together they were the first Europeans to travel down the Mississippi River. . .

This summer we're delighted to convert his journal entries to electronic form and stream them out twice a week as a blog from Wisconsin Historical Diaries. In addition to Marquette's own words, running commentary will try to pinpoint the explorers' location, link to other contemporary accounts, explain archaic words and phrases, and offer insights that make reading the journal more fun.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, June 12, 2005

Statute Index Available for Local Decision Access Project

In addition to the index by branch, a statute index has recently been created for the Local Decision Access Project (LDAP).

As reported earlier, LDAP makes selected decisions of the Dane Co Circuit Court judges available to the public. Eleven judges are participating in the project by contributing their decisions. The decisions are available in binders at the Dane County Legal Resource Center but may eventually be made available online.

The project is a collaborative venture between Dane County Legal Resource Center and the Dane Co Bar Association with assistance by the Dane County Circuit Court, UW-Law School students, and the WI State Law Library.

Source: DCLRC Blawg

June 15, 2005

What I Did on my Summer Vacation...

This afternoon, employees of the UW were treated to some delicious Babcock Hall ice cream in honor of State Employee Recognition Day. Cookies-n-Cream -- Yummy!

And what UW celebration would be complete without Bucky Badger and his ice cream cone manicure!

D&B Million Dollar Database Available from Milwaukee Public Library

In our continuing series profiling databases available from Wisconsin's public libraries, let me direct your attention to D&B Million Dollar Database Premier.

This Dun & Bradstreet database contains company profiles of over a million U.S. leading public and private businesses which have $1 million or more in sales, 20 or more employees, or branches with 50 or more employees. Company information includes industry information with up to 24 individual 8-digit SICs, size criteria (employees and annual sales), type of ownership, principal executives and biographies.

D&B Million Dollar Database Premier is available for use within City of Milwaukee libraries and by remote access to City of Milwaukee library cardholders. For other electronic resources available from the Milwaukee Public Library, see their list of Library Database for Remote Use.

Divorce Court Assistance Project Changes Name & Expands Assistance

From the Dane County Legal Resource Center Blawg:

The Divorce Court Assistance Project is now known as the Family Court Assistance Project. The change in name reflects an expansion in the assistance offered by the project. Staffed by UW-Law School students, under the supervision of clinical law faculty, FCAP will now offer assistance with a wider variety of family court forms and procedures, including help with temporary restraining orders and post-judgment motions (such as the Motion to Change Court-Ordered Child Support).

FCAP is offered Tuesday & Thursday 9-noon, Wednesday 11:30-3 in the Courthouse, as well as other hours at the Villager Mall (2300 Park St, Suite #3) or by appointment. Call 262-2301 for more information.

June 14, 2005

Receive Notification of Library Loans and Holds via RSS

If you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan of RSS. So I think it's pretty cool that library systems are starting to offer RSS notification of items checked-out, overdue, and on-hold. Wouldn't it be nice to get a reminder before the book you checked out is overdue?

A couple of library systems in Wisconsin (Eastern Shores Library System in Sheboygan & LaCrosse Public Library) are already using a service called ELF which helps you manage your library loans and holds. With this free service, you can receive:

  • Email and/or RSS alerts before items are due
  • Email and/or RSS alerts on overdues and holds
  • Consolidated list of yours or your family's library loans and holds
  • Cellphone text message alerts for holds
  • Real-time checking by browser

It seems that Innovative Interfaces, a very popular library automation, will also be integrating RSS delivery into their 2006 release.

Source: del.icio.us & LibrarianInBlack

Legal Guide for Bloggers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, "a nonprofit group of passionate people working to protect your digital rights," has compiled a very useful web site devoted to blogger's rights.

One of the highlights of the site is a Legal Guide for Bloggers containing a collection FAQs for bloggers which cover "everything from fair use to defamation law to workplace whistle-blowing."

The site also includes summaries of blogging related cases along with scanned court documents.

Source: del.icio.us

Grants for Organizations Seminar

On Tuesday, June 21st, UW Memorial Library's Grants Information Collection will host a presentation focused on grants for organizations.

Erika Wittlieb, coordinator of the nationwide network of Foundation Center Cooperating Collections in New York, will talk about the Foundation Center, its resources and services, and how to effectively use the foundation grantmaker database, FC Search.

She will also show various ways this resource can be used to research prospective funders, analyze their tax returns (990-PFs), and find information on hot topics such as proposal writing.
Her presentation, which is open to the public at no charge, will be from 1-3 p.m. in room 126 of Memorial Library (west corridor), 728 State St.

For more information, see the Grants Information Collection site or contact Reference Librarian Elizabeth Breed, 262-6431.

National Digital Newspaper Program to Create Database of Historical Newspapers

From a partnership between the National Endowment of the Humanities and the Library of Congress comes the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
Over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and be freely accessible via the Internet.
Phase one of the project is expected to be launched September 2006.

Thanks to my colleague, Mary Jo Koranda, for the tip.

June 13, 2005

View Old Web Pages with the Wayback Machine

Wish you could go back in time to view a Web page as it looked five years ago? You just might be able to with the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. This amazing resource has archived 40 billion web pages from 1996 to a few months ago. Of course, not every page is archived - but you might be surprised at what you will find.

Simply enter in the URL you wish to check, and you will be presented with a list of dates for which an archive of the page is available. Take a look at the results for the UW Law Library home page. It's amazing how far Web design has come!

List of Law Professor Blogs

PrawfsBlawg has compiled a list of law professor blogs - 103 in all. Although as Althouse points out, there are undoubtedly more. Only two out of five UW Law School professor blogs were counted.

Source: Law Librarian Blog

Charts for State Court Structure

Compared to states like New York, Wisconsin's state court structure is fairly straightforward. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has compiled state court structure charts for each state.

Select a state from the U.S. map to view the court structure in that state. From the chart, click on a blue court description to be directed to its web site or directory. Nifty!

Source: AbsTracked

June 9, 2005

Business & Company Resource Center Database from Milwaukee Public Library

The Business and Company Resource Center is a great database of detailed company and industry news and information available from the Milwaukee Public Library.

It contains company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies and periodicals from 1980 to the present.

Business and Company Resource Center is available for use within City of Milwaukee libraries and by remote access to City of Milwaukee library cardholders.

United to Offer In-flight Wireless Internet

Information Week reports that United Airlines has partnered with Verizon to install wireless Internet access to its fleet becoming the first domestic airline to receive FAA approval.

However, it must still get approval from the Federal Communications Commission, which it hopes to receive within a few months, before the new service can officially launch.

Source: Legal Technology Blog

UW's Giant "Corpse Flower" Has Live Webcam

Another Titan Arum, the giant flower nicknamed "corpse flower" for it's pungent aroma, is set to bloom soon at the UW Botany Garden and Greenhouses - right next door to the UW Law School. As of yesterday it measured an amazing 97 and 1/2 inches.

A live webcam is available and on site viewing is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and until midnight the day the plant blooms.

June 8, 2005

Anonymous Library Cards

Information Today has a very interesting article on anonymous library cards. Like a retail gift card, these cards are issued anonymously with a cash deposit and do not require any personal identification. Sounds like an intriguing concept for ensuring patron privacy and lending to out of town patrons.

From the article:

With an anonymous library card, the library is willing to loan materials to anyone because it knows it can't really lose anything. Since the library would never loan more than it could re-coup from a cash deposit, it would be able to loan controversial items without storing personally sen-sitive information. If the user doesn't return the material promptly, the fines would be deducted when it's finally checked in (or once the accrued fines reach the price of the material).

Source: Library Associates LibBlog

Survey of Blawg Readership

From Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites:
Anyone interested in blawgs as a phenomenon within the legal profession should read the results of the readership survey conducted by Bruce MacEwen for his blog, Adam Smith, Esq. The results are interesting for what they reveal about Bruce's readers, but even more so for the glimpse they offer into blawg readership in general. If a cardinal rule of writing is to know your audience, bloggers are often knocking about in the dark, uncertain who they face. Bruce's survey provides modest illumination.

Must Kentucky Blawggers Pay $50 "Filing Fee" per Post?

Legal Ethics Blogger, Ben Cowgill, reports on his recent communications with the Kentucky Attorneys' Advertising Commission about the treatment of law-related web logs under Kentucky's lawyer advertising regulations.

Apparently, "advertisement" is defined as any communication that contains a lawyer's name "or other identifying information". All such communications are to be submitted to the Attorneys' Advertising Commission, along with a filing fee of $50.00. Each time the content is modified, another $50.00 fee is required.

According to Cowgill:

Needless to say, it would be practically impossible for a Kentucky lawyer to publish a law-related web log if he or she were required to pay a $50.00 "filing fee" each and every time the content of the blog is modified. Every blog post would cost the lawyer $50.00!

For more , see Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites

June 7, 2005

Working Paper on the Law & Economics of Blogging

Larry E. Ribstein of University of Illinois College of Law has written a very interesting paper entitled, "Initial Reflections on the Law and Economics of Blogging" (April 2005, 19 pages) It is part of the University of Illinois Law and Economics Working Papers series.

If you are interested in the economic and legal implications of blogging, this is definitely worth a read.


Weblogs, or blogs, have proliferated and developed rapidly in recent years, and have attracted significant attention. Moreover, blogs have started to generate significant legal issues. Yet there is so far no coherent economic framework for addressing those issues. This article begins to develop such a framework. Building on blogs' technical features, it identifies the unique aspects of blogs that should have legal ramifications. It then briefly applies this framework to a variety of legal issues.

Table of Contents:


Thanks to UW Prof. Mark Suchman for the link

Marquette Law Library Blog & Law School RSS Feed

I recently learned that Marquette Law School has two new resources available via RSS.

Nightline, Good Morning America Podcasts from ABC

ABC has gotten into the podcasting game with feeds for Nightline, Good Morning America, The Afternote (politics), and several other programs. You can listen the programs via the Web and/or subscribe to their podcast feeds.

Source: AbsTracked

Privacy Implications of Instant & Text Messaging

NAISCO, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, has created a brief on the The Privacy Implications of Instant and Text Messaging Technologies in State Government.

There is some interesting content here - and not just for state agencies. If you use IM or text message to share personal data, you should be aware of the privacy implications - security, archiving of data, etc. Sample state IM policies are provided.

Source: LibrarianInBlack

June 6, 2005

List of Law Libraries Using RSS

As promised, I've compiled a list of law libraries using RSS feeds for projects other than blogs. Please let me know if I've missed any and I would be glad to add them.

This list is considerably shorter than my list of law library blogs - dubbed "The Shucha List" by Vancouver law Librarian Blogger Steve Matthews. Thanks to everyone that sent me updates, that list is now up to sixty-five! Go law library bloggers!

TIME on Wikipedia

TIME Magazine has a story on Wikipedia, the free open-source encyclopedia that anyone can edit. The world's largest online encyclopedia, controversial Wikipedia has 500,000+ entries in English alone.

The author also discusses wikis a business application:

A wiki is a deceptively simple piece of software (little more than five lines of computer code) that you can download for free and use to make a website that can be edited by anyone you like. Need to solve a thorny business problem overnight and all members of your team are in different time zones? Start a wiki.
Try it out at pbwiki, where you can make "a free, password protected wiki as easily as a peanut butter sandwich."

Source: Library Link of the Day and Library Stuff

WisconsinEye to Debut in January

According to NBC15, WisconsinEye is scheduled to begin broadcasting in January. A "state-wide version of C-SPAN," the public affairs television channel will broadcast state legislative activities.

Companies Hiring Corporate Bloggers

The Wisconsin State Journal has an interesting article on corporate blogging. A growing number of companies are encouraging employees to blog and some are even hiring full-time bloggers.

A quote from the article:

"The blogs give us what we call a handshake with consumers, a bond of loyalty and mutual trust that's different than the typical selling relationship, where it's all about price. . . With the blogs, we are giving a little bit more access to us as a people with a mission."

A USB Flash Drive by Any Other Name...

Whatever you call it - "nerd stick," "thumb drive," "USB flash drive" - the little thumb-sized drive that plugs into your USB port is a handy little gadget.

Check out the latest CS-SIS Connecting... (page 3) for a review of these devices.

June 2, 2005

List of Law Library & Law Librarian Blogs

In preparation for a session I'm presenting at the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting (K4 - Beyond the Blog: RSS, Wikis and Blikis) and for an article I'm writing for Law Library Journal, I've compiled a list of law library blogs.

Only professional blogs targeted toward the legal community appear on this list. This includes blogs affiliated with a law library, blogs written by individual law librarians, and blogs of law librarian associations. This list does not include personal blogs or blogs on librarianship.

Many thanks to those that responded to my request for this information on the Law-lib and Teknoids listservs. If you know of other law library blogs, please contact me.

I'm also working on compiling a list of law libraries using RSS feeds for things other than blogs.

Wisconsin Innocence Project Seeks Retrial

JS Online reports that the Wisconsin Innocence Project is seeking a retrial for Beth LaBatte, who is serving a life sentence for the 1991 murders of two elderly sisters, Ann and Ceil Cadigan.

Tests reveal that the DNA evidence used in the case does not match LaBatte's DNA.

Hear What People Are Saying About the Government with PubSub Government

Last week I mentioned Plogress as a tool for following the activities of our congresspersons. Now, with PubSub Government, you can also track what people are saying about them - as well as Supreme Court justices, cabinet members, & congressional committees.

For more information, see the press release.

Source: Library Stuff

"Lawyer" as a Top Career Choice for Teens

JS Online reports that a recent poll among teens shows "lawyer" to be among the top ten career choices for both males and females.

From the article:

Girls' favorites: Teacher, 11%, lawyer, 9%, doctor, 8%, nurse, 6%, fashion designer, 5%, science/biology, 5%, writer, 4%, veterinarian, 4%, artist, 4%, medical field, 4%.

Boys' choices: Sports field, 8%, doctor, 7%, architecture, 6%, engineer, 6%, teacher, 6%, business, 5%, lawyer, 5%, military, 5%, science/biology, 5%, and computers, 4%.

June 1, 2005

Shorten a Long URL

Ever come across a really great web site that you want to share with someone, only to find that it has an extremely long URL? You try copying and pasting it into an email, but it doesn't work because the link breaks when it wraps to the next line of your message.

Luckily, there are several free Web services that can shorten that URL for you. Just enter in your long URL, and you get back a much shorter one that will redirect you to the same place.

One of these, notlong.com has compiled a list of URL shortening services. The list includes a side by side feature comparison for each service. Some allow you to choose your new url and others provide statistics.

WSLL At Your Service June Issue

From Connie Von Der Heide of the Wisconsin State Law Library:
The June issue of WSLL At Your Service has been published. Features include:

* Tech Tip: Deciphering Text Messages
* Learn @ the Law Library: Upcoming Classes; Where to Find WI Jury Instructions
* This Just In... : New and Updated Library Materials
* Odds 'n' Endings: Grimm Bindery; Wis. Lawyer Index; June is Dairy Month; and more!

As always, your comments are welcome.

IL Public Library To Scan Fingerprints as Proof of Identity for Computer Use

A Chicago Tribune article reports that patrons of the Naperville Public Library System will soon be asked for a fingerprint scan before using a library computer. Users may, however, choose to have a library staff member log them on. Apparently, it is the second library system in the U.S. to employ such a system.

From the article:

Library officials say the added security is necessary to ensure people who are using the computers are who they say they are. Officials promise to protect the confidentiality of the fingerprint records.

But with Congress contemplating an expansion of the USA Patriot Act, which gives federal authorities access to confidential library records, and cameras watching the streets some Chicagoans drive or the sidewalks they stroll, privacy advocates are concerned about yet another erosion of personal liberty."We take people's fingerprints because we think they might be guilty of something, not because they want to use the library," said Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.