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July 31, 2006

Make Your Own Comic Strips

From LibrarianInBlack:

The Comic Strip Generator lets you choose from hundreds of different comic templates and create little strips panel by panel.

Guide to Dialing Internationally

For those that occasionally need to make international phone calls but aren't sure how to dial the number, see the International Dialing Codes guide from timeanddate.com

Enter in your location, the location of where you are calling, and the phone number, then click on "Show Dialing Codes". The next page shows you how to dial the number. There is also a link to a world clock so you know what time it is in the country that you are calling. Very handy.

Source: DALL Blog

July 28, 2006

Botany Garden in Bloom

I took a walk over to the UW-Madison Botany Garden this afternoon and captured this photo of the pond. I believe that the beautiful bloom is an American lotus. [thanks to MB for the correction]

The Botany Garden just just a short walk up the hill from the Law School.

Thanks to our Documents Assistant, Margaret Booth, for the tip.


The True Cost of Attorney Blogging? At Least $20,000 Per Year

From Larry Bodine's Professional Services Marketing Blog:

My esteemed colleague Ed Poll of Venice, CA, author of the LawBiz Blog, calculated what may be the true cost of a lawyer writing a blog: $20K a year in time.

[Ed warns that] "blogging is certainly not "easy" in the sense that it takes commitment to be consistent and meaningful in the posting. I suspect it's a commitment worth making for many lawyers, but a commitment nevertheless, as is any marketing effort. Measuring the return on investment - ROI - of blogging is difficult. But never forget that there should be a return in order to make your blog work for you, and not the other way around."

Thinking of Podcasting a Course? Find Out What Law Students Think

John Mayer of CALI has posted the end-of-semester survey results for the Legal Education Podcasting Project. The survey is on the perceptions of law students enrolled in courses in which the professor also podcast the lectures.

The results are quite interesting. Here are some of the findings:

  • 38.4% of students listened to most or all of the podcasts
  • The majority of students listened to the podcasts on their PCs or laptops - not on an iPod
  • The students were asked if they skipped any classes because they knew the podcast was available. Over 80% said no. Oddly, some students reported attending the podcasted classes more than other classes.
  • 73.8% rated the podcasts at excellent or above average value.

No Laws for Early WI Legislators

There is a fascinating bit in Odd Wisconsin today. It seems "that for the first few years of Wisconsin's existence, not even legislators could get their hands on a copy of the laws."

"They certainly tried. When Wisconsin was created as a territory on July 4, 1836, the laws of Michigan Territory as printed in the Revised Statues of Michigan remained in force, but few copies of this book had ever left Detroit."

After two attempts to have copies printed, "the frustrated legislators - who had started passing laws in 1836 and more than two years later still hadn't got a reliable printed version of them-- sent a messenger from Madison to Green Bay to search for copies of the Michigan statutes, and 'to procure for the use of the legislature such numbers as may be had of copies of these laws.' At least that way they'd have some part of the laws to refer to during their deliberations."

Eventually, "they formed a committee to put together from scratch a new and revised edition of the complete laws of Wisconsin Territory, to be published in 1839."

For more, see Cole, Theodore L. "A Rare Wisconsin Book." Wisconsin Historical Collections 12: 383-389

Incidentally, the UW Law Library has several copies of the delayed 1836 Clarke edition. Better late than never, I guess.

July 27, 2006

What's Hot on the Web? Amateur Films on YouTube.com

The Wisconsin State Journal has an interesting article on one of the biggest trends to hit the Web: YouTube.com, an amateur video Web site.

The paper reports that Madison film making duo Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan have had almost a million viewers download their YouTube short film "Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager, Episode 1" If you are a Star Wars fan and haven't seen this yet, I highly recommend it. Very funny.

Legal professionals may also be interested in another Yonda/Sloan short film series entitled "McCourt's in Session".

Law for the Layperson: An Annotated Bibliography of Self-help Law Books

Southern Illinois University Law Librarians Diane Murley and Amber Hewette have written a new book entitled, Law for the Layperson: An Annotated Bibliography of Self-help Law Books. It is available from Hein and Amazon.

Nearly 1,000 self-help books and other resources are reviewed and classified by topic and jurisdiction. The book is intended to help nonlawyers find the information they need and help librarians serve their pro se patrons.

Source: Law Dawg Blawg

Dane Co. Legal Assistance Programs

The August edition of the DCLRC Docket is now available from the Dane County Legal Resource Center. It features a directory of free legal assistance programs located in the Dane Co. courthouse (215 South Hamilton Street).

  • Restraining Order Clinic Mondays 9-Noon, Room 1001 (Next to Probate) The restraining order clinic is a University of Wisconsin Law School program that can help organize information and complete and review forms and procedures for restraining orders. Law School students provide help, supervised by a clinical law professor. The students will supply no legal advice or advocacy.
  • Family Law Assistance Center Wednesdays 11:30-1:30, Room L1000 (Assembly Room) Offers assistance with forms and procedures related to family court; referrals to community resources; no legal advice. Staffed by volunteer attorneys, paralegals and law students; Spanish-speaking volunteers are available the first and third Wednesdays. Schedule available on Dane County Bar Association Web site: http://www.dcba.net/programs/FamilyAssistSchedule.html.
  • Family Court Assistance Project Tuesdays, Thursdays 9-Noon; Wednesdays 11-2, Room L1000 FCAP is a University of Wisconsin Law School program that can help organize information, complete and review forms, and will offer numerous workshops on family court-related issues, including Temporary Restraining Orders. Staffed by Law School students, supervised by a clinical law professor. The students will supply no legal advice or advocacy. Contact FCAP at (608) 262-2301.
  • Small Claims Assistance Program Tuesdays 9-11 a.m., Room L1000 (Assembly Room) Program offers assistance with forms and procedures related to small claims court; referrals to community resources; no legal advice. Staffed by volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students.

July 26, 2006

The Onion Reports that Wikipedia Honors the 750th Anniversary of American Independence

From Today's Onion*:

Wikipedia, the online, reader-edited encyclopedia, honored the 750th anniversary of American independence on July 25 with a special featured section on its main page Tuesday.

*Don't you believe it. The Onion is fake - but darn funny.

Thanks to Bill Ebbott for the tip.


Article: Viewing Law Blogs as a Vast Amicus Brief

In his Law.com article entitled Viewing Law Blogs as a Vast Amicus Brief, Howard Bashman consideres "what should judges do if, while visiting the legal blogosphere, they encounter discussions about how pending cases ought to be decided?

He writes, "We expect appellate courts to conduct their own legal research, beyond that presented by the parties, with the goal of reaching the most lawful and just outcomes possible. When the legal blogosphere offers assistance in the form of insightful commentary about pending cases from law professors and lawyers with particular expertise in the subject matter under consideration, a judge's consultation of those blog posts is, in my view, just another form of permissible legal research."

Source: Inside Opinions: Legal Blogs

Status Report on RSS Use Among Legal Publishers

Cindy Chick of LawLibTech, reports on her conversations with legal publishers at AALL about content delivery via RSS. She writes, "I found some serious progress is being made on the RSS front." Here's more:

  • First, there's BNA. Their email newsletters are very popular among the attorney population. And yes, their information is soon to be offered via RSS. They can even create keyword specific feeds that searches across all the publications you subscribe to, and aggregate the result in a separate feed. Contact your rep for more information.

  • Lexis, in their Publisher product, and Westlaw, with Westlaw Watch, give you the option of RSS feeds. If you're using these tools, these can be a significant source for RSS data.

  • Westlaw is also incorporating RSS into their Docket Watch product. An RSS feed could be perfect for keeping up with developments in that area.

  • What about CCH? Not so much. Heck, they've only just started sending selected newsletters out by email. It may take them a while....

Free Directory Assistance

From Librarian in Black:

Free411 (1-800-Free 411 / 1-800-373-3411) is a completely automated free directory assistance service that works on cell and land lines. I know my cell phone carrier charges $1.50 for each directory assistance call. No longer will I fall for that!

Just call the number, give the city and state, choose whether it's a business, government, or residential listing, and say the listing's name. You'll then start to hear a 12-second advertisement, which you can bypass by pressing a certain key (*cough* 2) on your keypad. The number is given to you twice. I tried it four times with four different listings in four different cities, and the voice-recognition software got each listing correct--even the number for our local library, which is notoriously hard to find for directory assistance. My only criticism is that it doesn't auto-connect you like some of the directory services do. But hey, I'm thrifty enough to dial the numbers myself to save a few bucks.

July 25, 2006

Law Librarians Featured in Google's Tips of the Trade Campaign

The latest edition of the Google Librarian Newsletter is now available.

Featured is the "Tips of the Trade" campaign in which Google invited librarians to send them tips, ideas, and stories about innovative ways they've used Google tools to help patrons find information. Google produced a short movie which was featured at the ALA (American Library Assoc.) annual meeting.

One of the librarians in the movie is Joy Hanson of Duke University School of Law Library. She shares how she earned a "You rock!" from a cite checker for finding a document in five minutes using Google after the student had searched for hours to no avail. I love it when that happens!

LLAW's own Mary Koshollek (Godfrey & Kahn, Milw.) is also featured on the Tips of the Trade web site. Mary describes how Google Alerts can be a great tool for current awareness and competitive intelligence.

Silly Government Document Titles

Free Government Information (FGI) has compiled a list of silly titles of government documents. The list based on an exchange among GovDoc-L subscribers.

Some of my favorites are (title followed by SuDoc number and link to find in a local library):

  • Fertilizers in a national emergency A 1.6:966 Find in a library

  • The golden age of bathing
    I 29.2: B 32/4 Find in a library

  • State-of-the-art dummy selection. U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    TD 8.2:D 89/5/v.1 Find in a library

  • PMS Blue Book
    HE 20.4001/2: Find in a library

  • Step into action! A guidebook for the above-knee amputee
    FS 2.6/2:ST 4/964 Find in a library

  • Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation: are we doing enough?
    Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG.108-445 Find in a library

    Thanks to our Documents Assistant for the tip.

July 24, 2006

LawClinic.TV - A Video Blog About Legal Clinical Education

From BoleyBlogs:

Fordham University School of Law has recently created LawClinic.TV, a video blog whose purpose is "to showcase the clinical community and provide a place for one piece of our ongoing conversation about legal education, justice, community, equality, the rule of law and so much else." (via About LawClinic.TV)

Each blog entry contains brief, high-quality videos of clinical faculty and students speaking about their experiences with legal clinical education. Each of these videos is complimented with a text summary.

LawClinic.TV is an exciting and innovative experiment that takes advantage of the the newfound ease of providing video online. We (the oft-vacationing very many editors of BoleyBlogs!) expect to see many other new and unexpected uses of this technology from other law schools in in the near future.

Listening to Podcasts from Bloglines

Bloglines has recently announced that you can now listen to your podcast subscriptions directly in your list of feeds. This is pretty handy for the occasional podcast listener who either doesn't have an iPod or other MP3 player or prefers not to download them.

One thing to note, however: if you navigate your browser away from Bloglines, you'll lose the audio. Just make sure that you open a new window before you start multi-tasking somewhere else.

July 19, 2006

New Library Express Forms!

For UW Law School Students, Faculty & Staff Only:

Library Express users will notice that the LX form has been redesigned. (Library Express is the UW Madison Libraries system for Inter-Library Loan and campus document delivery requests).

The LX interface continues to be user friendly, with similar fields and formatting to expedite your requests. These forms were changed in conjunction with the revamped UW Madison Library web page (coming soon to a campus library near you). Please contact docdel@law.wisc.edu if you have any questions about the revisions. We hope you like what you'll see upon logging in.

Picture-Based Computer Manuals Free

Are you a visual learner? Does the thought of a text-heavy computer manual leave you wanting? Then check out In Pictures, a publisher of computer manuals which go heavy on the screen shots. And until August 1st, they are absolutely free to download.

Manuals are available in the following categories:

  • computer basics
  • microsoft office
  • openoffice.org
  • web layout
  • web graphics
  • web programming

Source: Research Buzz

The Changing Nature of Law Librarianship & What It Means for a Law Firm's Bottom Line

If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend that you take a look at Beyond the Books which appeared in the July issue of The American Lawyer.

Author Alan Cohen discusses the changing nature of law librarianship and what it can mean for a law firm's bottom line. Here are some of the highlights from the article:

  • "Historically, 90 percent of the information we dealt with was legal-related, now it's about 50 percent," says [Thomas] Fleming [director of information resources management at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro, Fleming]. "We're doing a lot more work in client development and marketing."
  • "Most of the attorneys are realizing that with the resources we can tap into, we can get company information and background information faster and less expensively than they can," says [Yvonne] Boyer [firmwide library manager for Cooley Godward].
  • [I]t's not only the work that's changing, but the business model as well. Once a cost center for law firms, libraries are billing more hours than ever to clients: a median of 393 hours per library staff member in 2005, compared to 292 in 2004.

July 18, 2006

Gen X Vs. Gen Y Jurors

The June issue of Law Practice has an interesting article about the difference between Gen X and Gen Y jurors. In The Newer Generations in the Jury Box: Who Will Favor Your Cause? the author contends that:

Generation X jurors tend to:

  • Want more data and the source behind it but presented in a concise, technological (screen-view) way
  • Focus on the pragmatic and how a case relates to their own lives
  • Be fairly entrepreneurial and impressed with parties who take ethical risks in business
  • Hearken back to many traditional values that we typically correlate with older jurors, in particular with a focus on "personal responsibility" and "self-reliance"
  • Want the "bottom line" on conclusions the experts draw

Generation Y jurors tend to:

  • Want even more presented technologically than do the technologically savvy Generation X jurors
  • Be the best-educated generation of all time, with an ability to think more analytically about case facts as a result
  • Be more interested in teamwork and "getting along" in the deliberation room
  • Be more interested in 9-to-5 jobs with a reliable employer, giving them respect for parties who follow through on their commitments
  • Feel less suspicious than other generations do toward the government, indicating an opportunity to impress them with a party's ability or inability to meet governmental or industry standards

As a Gen Xer, I can say that these observations are pretty much right on - except for being impressed with parties who take ethical risks in business. Maybe it would depend on the particulars, but in general, I don't think that messing around with ethics is a good thing.

I can absolutely identify with the "personal responsibility" and "self-reliance" values. Probably comes from being a latch-key kid. I would also want to see hard data along with the source behind it, particularly if it is presented in a concise, technological way. And as a Gen Xer, I can definitely appreciate getting the "bottom line."

LRB Guide to Researching Legislative History In WI

The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau has created an outstanding guide to Researching Legislative History In Wisconsin. Complete with illustrations, it offers step-by-step guidance on researching Wisconsin legislation. The steps include:

  1. Determine what session law created the language being researched;
  2. Examine the bill, its analysis, its amendments, and other associated documents;
  3. Review the drafting record for the bill;
  4. Check the procedural history of the bill;
  5. Locate and review any additional material; and
  6. Observe certain special steps in researching language originating in budget bills.

This guide is a must-read for anyone conducting legislative history in Wisconsin.

Barry Manilow & Doris Day Drive Out Hooligans

From BoingBoing: "To rid a park of hooligans in a Sydney suburb, the town council began playing Barry Manilow and Doris Day music at high volume from 9-midnight every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. The tactic worked, but now the people who live near the park can't sleep at night and are unhappy about it."

Other than the late hour, I wouldn't mind this a bit. I like Barry Manilow and Doris Day. My parents had an old 78 record of Doris Day's "Que Sera, Sera" and I wore that thing out. Now I sing it to my kids. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I've seen Barry live in concert.

July 17, 2006


My toddler loves to ask questions. "Papa, are you big?" "Mama, are you dressed?" "You like broccoli?"

The other night we were snuggling the in the rocker while settling down for bed. I was gently caressing her head and arms when she looked up and asked, "Mama, are you softing?" It's pretty awesome being a mom.

LawLibWik, A Wiki for Law Librarians

Debbie Ginsberg, Electronic Resources Librarian at Chicago-Kent College of Law has created a wiki for law librarians interested in researching with wikis and creating wikis for their own libraries. LawLibWik offers a nice collection of links to library wikis, legal wikis, and more. And, of course, since it's a wiki, law librarians are invited to contribute.

Not sure what a wiki is? Want to learn more about how you might use one for your organization? See Debbie's recent AALL Spectrum article, A Wiki Wiki (Quick) Introduction to the Wide World of Wikis.

Sing the Praises of an Unsung Support Staff Hero

"Lawyers in Wisconsin do terrific work. But where would they be without the members of their support staff who, behind the scenes, quietly make it all happen?" So asks the nomination form for Unsung Heroes of Wisconsin's Legal Community award. The program is sponsored by the Wisconsin Law Journal.

This is an outstanding idea. There are so many dedicated legal professionals in our libraries, firms, and courts. I urge you to nominate someone who you feel has gone above and beyond in service to Wisconsin's legal community. Categories include: Secretary, Paralegal, Librarian, Administrator, Human Resources, IT Specialists, Marketers, Court Reporters and Court Clerks.

Nominations are due by August 11th and winners will be announced in November. Nominees will be profiled in Wisconsin Law Journal's Unsung Heroes 2006 magazine.

Law Library Blogs List Tops 100

Thanks to some great new blogs I learned about at the AALL Annual Meeting, the list of Law Library Blogs and Blogs by Law Librarians or Law Library Associations now stands at 102!

July 14, 2006

Highlights from the AALL Annual Meeting

Once again, I've come back from the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting energized and full of ideas. As always, I'm amazed at the dedication and creativity of my colleagues. I also had a great time exploring St. Louis between sessions and meetings.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Attending the informal bloggers reception and finally putting some faces to many law library blogs I've enjoyed reading. And I also learned about a couple great news blogs which I'll be adding soon to "The Shucha List" (which Connie Crosby informs me that it's called - a.k.a. the law library blogs list)
  • Visiting the Gateway Arch which is just as impressive as it was at age 11. It is just me, but does the elevator pod remind you of something from Mork & Mindy?
  • Being inspired by my colleagues at some excellent sessions, including Podcasting (with Jim Milles and John Mayer) and the One Box Access to Electronic Resources (by the Franklin Pierce Law Center)
  • Dancing with my kids at the West Party. And who knew Mark Twain could do the Electric Slide?

  • Receiving an AALL Presidential Certificate of Merit as part of the Publishing Initiatives Caucus. And as next year's PIC Co-chair, I even got to keep the plaque - temporarily at least. It certainly will look nice on my wall.
  • pic.jpg

Trading a Paper Clip for a House

Kyle MacDonald has done it: traded a paper clip up to a house. Read more at Reuters Oddly Enough.

Kentucky Bans Blogs for State Employees

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Kentucky has blocked state employee's access to "blogs as well as humor, religion, and online auction websites after it was deemed that [they] were spending too much time on the Internet."

This is a bad idea. Granted, there are lots of blogs that do nothing to advance work flow and productivity - BUT there are plenty of others that do - including WisBlawg. Reminds me of the debates a few years back about blocking employee's access to the Internet as a whole.

Regardless of the lost potential for research value, blacklisting blogs is simply harmful to workplace morale according to those interviewed for the article.

  • "Whether in [private or public] workplaces, are you going to create a culture of mutual trust or a Big Brother 'we're watching your every move' environment?" says Zachary Hummel, a workplace attorney at Bryan Cave LLP in New York.

  • "It looks petty, and it's probably ineffective," says Glenn Reynolds, author of "An Army of Davids" about the rise of a tech-enabled entrepreneurial class.

  • "We try to treat people as adults," says Otto Doll, South Dakota's chief information officer.

Source: Law Librarian Blog

July 6, 2006

Off to St. Louis for the AALL Meeting

I'm off to St. Louis for the American Association of Law Libraries Annual meeting so posting on WisBlawg will probably be light next week. However, I may be posting about the meeting on AALL Gateway, the conference blog.

July 5, 2006

Delicious Monster Offers Painless Cataloging for Your Personal Library

Looking for an easy way to catalog your personal library of books, movies, music, comic books, etc.? If you are a Mac user, check out Delicious Monster. Strange name, I know, but this looks like a really neat tool. Makes me wish I had a Mac - and a personal library worth cataloging!

From The Life of Books

The beauty of this product, though, is that you can use your iSight camera to read bar codes! And it works. You simply hold up your CD's or book's barcode in front of the iSight camera and, in about 2 seconds, it's searched Amazon and added the title to your collection - complete with cover art.

You can set up borrowers for your library, search it with Spotlight - you've essentially got a personal library automation tool with a barcode scanner - for $30!

National Sex Offender Public Registry Now Covers All 50 States

"All 50 states are now participating in the National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) Web site," the Justice Department announced on Monday, according to Government Technology. "The Department of Justice-sponsored site allows parents and concerned citizens to search existing public state and territory sex offender registries beyond their own states."

Source: New York Supreme Court Criminal Term Library

New Edition of Dane County Family Court Resource Booklet

From the July DCRLC Newsletter:

Through a cooperative effort with the Family Court Counseling Service (FCCS) and other family court offices, a new edition of the Dane County Family Court Resource Booklet is now available. You may purchase hard copies of the booklet for $3.00 by contacting DCLRC or FCCS (266-4607) or view the booklet online.

July 3, 2006

Directory of Published Proceedings Now Available Free

InterDok has announced that it is offering the Directory of Published Proceedings (DoPP) freely available on the Internet. DoPP indexes published conference proceedings in science, engineering, medice, social science and humanities. There are over 280,000 records available.

InterDok does also offer an Acquisitions Service if you wish to purchase any of the indexed proceedings. But, before you do that, check out your local library. Even if they don't have them, they might be able to interlibrary loan them for you.

CCAP Can't Be Used as Proof of Habitual Criminal Status

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Friday that "prosecutors shouldn't use the state's online criminal record system to prove whether a defendant is a repeat offender."

According to an AP article (appearing in StarTribune.com), "the decision reversed a ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeals, which had rejected Jamale Bonds' argument the state's Consolidated Court Automation Programs, or CCAP, were too unreliable to prove he was a habitual criminal."

Source: Legal Dockets Online