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August 31, 2006

My Email Address Hits it Big; Has Plans to Retire

Today, my email address got some wonderful news. "Your Email Addres Has Won Award" said the message.

It was one of only "10 lucky winners in the Euro Millones Lottery International Email Address draw[ing]" Funny that the prize officials chose to notify her through the Law-Lib listserv then. I hope all those other email addresses don't feel jealous.

When I asked my email address what she plans to do with her winnings, she said that she planned to retire on a beach somewhere and drink Mai Tais. I'll miss her. I hope that she sends a postcard.

[I've seen some pretty dumb spam in my day, but this one made me laugh]

LexisNexis Picks up Blog Content

Looks like LexisNexis has tuned in to the blogosphere. They are now picking up blog content in their Newstex (file name = NEWSTX) database. Lori Blair, Marketing Manager with the LexisNexis - Librarian Relations Group just send me a link to the list of blogs they cover. According to Lexis, coverage is January 1, 2006 through current.

There are also a couple of other blog sub-databases, including:

  • Newstex Business Blogs
  • Newstex Computers & Technology Blogs
  • Newstex Financial Blogs
  • Newstex Government & Politics Blogs
  • Newstex Marketing Blogs
  • Newstex Medical & Health Blogs
  • Newstex Media Blogs

August 25, 2006

Article on the Law Library Blogosphere

At long last, my article on the Law Library Blogosphere has finally seen the light of day. A big thanks to Sabrina Pacifici for publishing it in LLRX. The article is based on a survey I did last fall of law library bloggers and those developing blogs.


Although the legal and library literature is filled with information about the theoretical pros and cons of blog publishing, little has been written about actual blogging experiences. Who is blogging? What are they blogging about? Who reads blogs? What technologies are being used? Have blogs been successful? What lessons can be shared? These are the questions explored in this article. Through this study, potential bloggers will better evaluate whether this technology is right for them and veterans will gain insight into their own blogging experience in comparison to their peers?

August 24, 2006

Monitoring What Students Are Saying About the Library in their Blogs - A How To Guide

Here's a tip for Academic Librarians:

Inspired by Rob Hudson's article, Law Students Write About Law Libraries (or, What Students Really Think: A Survey of Student Blawgs)*, I thought that someone should be monitoring what our law students bloggers are saying about the law library.

Since I don't want to read every post (especially those about trips to the local tavern, etc.), I figured out a simple way to just subscribe to those posts in which the library was mentioned. Here's what I did:

  • First, check the list of Law Student blogs by university compiled by Clever WoT. Make a note of the URL.
  • Then, go to the Google Blog Search advance search page. In the "with at least one of the words" box, enter the words "library" and "librarian" (or whatever terms you choose). In the "at the URL" box, enter in the URL of the law student blog. Run the search.
  • In the search results page, see the "subscribe" section on the left. Add the RSS or Atom feed to your aggregator and you are all set.
  • Repeat for each our your law students' blogs.

Of course this works for faculty blogs, too.

* To learn more about Rob Hudson's research, you can watch his presentation at CALI via Apreso.

Mike Schramm over at WisPolitics had a great follow up tip:

At www.feedjumbler.com, you can enter in multiple feeds and the site will publish them as one. So you could get the individual search feeds, enter them in at feedjumbler, then give that single feed to anyone else in the library system who might be interested.

Thanks, Mike!

Sample Corporate Contracts on Findlaw

Looking for samples of software license agreement or an employment contract? Check out Findlaw's Corporate Counsel Center's Business Contracts. This is a gold mine of contracts and sample contract language. And since it's on Findlaw, it's all free.

Hidden in the Research Tools section at the bottom is a link to Contracts. You can browse by industry or by type of contract. There is also a search box on the right that you can use to search by party name, etc. Just make sure that you select the "Corp Counsel" pull down above the search box.

I ran a sample search for "Amazon" and pulled up bylaws, an investor rights agreement, a credit agreement, bonus letters, an indenture, and much more - all on the first page of search results.

Wow - I had no idea this existed. Thanks to my colleague Bev Butula for enlightening me.

August 23, 2006

Seventh Circuit Offers RSS Feed of Opinions & PodCast of Oral Arguements

The Seventh Circuit is now offering opinions and audio oral arguments via RSS feed. It is the first federal court of appeals to do so.

The Seventh Circuit's Web site makes a combination of feeds available: one RSS feed of text opinions and two podcast RSS feeds of oral arguments. One podcast feed is a standard audio MP3 podcast the other is an i-Tunes optimized audio podcast. Although you can download a podcast to your MP3 player, you can listen to it right from your computer - most people do, in fact, as studies show.

Read more in The Third Branch, the Newsletter of the Federal Courts.

Source: Legal Dockets Online

Wisconsin Lawyer Article on RSS - Save Time & Money on your Internet Research

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've often heard me extol the virtues of RSS. But if you still aren't sure what RSS is or how it can save you time and money, take a look at my article in the August Wisconsin Lawyer entitled, RSS: Making the Internet Subscribeable.

In the article, I describe RSS and its connection with blogs, introduce the different types of RSS readers, describe potential drawbacks, and list some great RSS feeds for legal practitioners. A tech glossary and Bloglines (a RSS reader) quick guide are also included.

History Detectives Uncovers Origin of Old Harley Davidson Bearing the "Cross of Lorraine"

Earlier this week, PBS' History Detectives ran an episode on old 1914 Harley-Davidson motorcycle bearing the "Cross of Lorraine," a historic symbol of French nationalism.

According to Mary Koshollek, Director of Information and Records Services at Godfrey & Kahn, who told me about the broadcast, the owner thought it may have been involved in WWI, but it turned out to be one of the bikes that health officials used to travel around Wisconsin to teach about tuberculosis.

Apparently, the History Detectives conducted their investigation at the Wisconsin State Historical Society and the Harley-Davidson archives. Fascinating.

Looks like the episode will be shown again on:

  • Friday, August 25, 12:00 AM, WPT - Channel 28 (Madison)
  • Saturday, August 26, 3:00 PM, MPTV - Channel 10 (Milwaukee)

For other listings, including PBS digital channels, see the PBS guide. A transcript is also available.

August 22, 2006

Free Collaborative Office Tools - Word Processing & Diagrams

This morning I learned about two neat collaborative office tools:

  • Writely - Word Processor (from Boing Boing):
    Google has re-launched Writely, the online word-processor they recently bought, in public beta. Writely does everything most things Word does, for free -- and saves its output as PDFs and even RSS feeds (subscribe to a word-processor doc!). It features collaborative editing -- multiple editors on the same doc at once -- and can be used as the editor for writing your blog, saving out to a post instead of a file on your machine.

  • Gliffy - Diagramming Tool (from Slaw):
    Gliffy is a web-2.o cross between writely and MS Visio. Lots of drag-n-drop tools for work flows, wireframes, floor plans. Plus, it's a web application that requires no additional software. The other cool part is the ability to collaborate with others.

August 21, 2006

Uniform Laws & Model Acts - Which States Have Adopted Them

ALSO!, or American Law Sources Online, has long been one of my favorite Web sites. If you are looking for free sources of primary law in any federal or state jurisdiction, ALSO! is the place to go.

But I recently learned that ALSO! has a full list of Uniform Laws & Model Acts too, along with a listing of which states have adopted each. Links to the model language are included where available, as are links to the relevant state statutes. Very nice.

Workshop on Internet Searches: How to Get Accurate and Reliable Information

Studies show that most searchers locate only one in 3,000 of the Internet documents available to them. Want to increase your odds? Check out the NBI workshop, Internet Searches: How to Get Accurate and Reliable Information.

The workshop is taught by a team of expert legal researchers, a.k.a. law librarians. I'll be teaching a section on limiting irrelevant info. Other faculty include Anthony P. Chan, Amy J. Gannaway, and Heidi Acker Yelk.

Here's the outline:

Heidi Acker Yelk, 9:00 - 10:15
1. Identifying Your Objectives and Formulating Effective Research Questions
2. Listing Possible Sources of Information
3. Identifying Keywords - Search Queries That Produce Results
4. Using Government Resources as a Starting Point for Your Search
5. Refining (and Varying) Your Search as You Go
6. Search Strategies to Avoid

Bonnie Shucha, 10:30 - 12:00
1. Search Engines, Meta-Search Engines, and Directories
1. Differences & Similarities
2. Picking the Right Tool for Your Specific Search
3. Constructing Your Search
4. Evaluating Your Results
5. Search Engine Limitations
2. The "Invisible" Web - Searchable Databases and Excluded Pages
1. Difference Between Invisible Web & Visible Web?
2. Invisible Web Content
3. Finding Invisible Web Content
3. Blogs, RSS, Email Alerts & Podcasts

Amy J. Gannaway, 1:00 - 2:15
1. Guidelines for Assessing and Selecting Credible Sources
1. Accuracy
2. Authority
3. Objectivity
4. Currency
5. Coverage
2. Evaluating Information for Quality
1. Credibility
2. Accuracy
3. Reasonableness
4. Support
3. Why Verification is Essential
4. Is Your Source or Information Suspect? - Red Flags to Watch For

Anthony P. Chan, 2:30 - 3:30
1. People/Assets Finder Guide and Background Checks
2. Online Sources of Public Records and "Publicly Available Information" - SEC Filings
3. Federal, State and Local Government Resources - Statutes, Administrative Rules and Decisions
4. Finding Company and Industry Information - Predicting Industry Trends and Market Shares
5. Tracking Court Cases and Legislation
6. Court Documents - Dockets and Pleadings
7. Statistical Resources on the Web - Case Disposals and Court/Judicial Profiles
8. Know Your Opponent or Co-Counsel - Arbitrator/Attorney Bios and Trial Track Records
9. News Sources

Heidi Acker Yelk, 3:30 - 4:30
1. How to Cite Web Sources
2. Ethical Issues of Online Research - When Are You Crossing a Line?
3. Safe Internet Practices

August 18, 2006

Zillow - View Home Valuations in Your Neighborhood on a Satellite Map

Some of the scarier databases that my colleague, Bev Butula, covered in the Internet Research Workshop were those in the Investigating Individuals section. One of these is Zillow.com.

Zillow offers free, instant valuations and data for over 67 million homes nationwide. Not just that, but it shows them on a hybrid satellite image/street map. Take a look at the screen shot from the neighborhood around the Capitol.
Click on the blue diamond next to the valuations in Zillow and you'll get more info on the property including sales history and tax info. Some neighborhoods also have birds eye view images of individual homes. Take a look at Zillow's sample home, for example.

Like Google Maps, if you want to see something off of the current map area, just click and drag in any direction. The map will reposition itself to the new location.

Try putting in your own address - I put in mine. Scary, but cool. Interesting to learn the assessments for all of the neighbor's houses.

Learning How to Fish at the Internet Research Workshop

You may have noticed that I haven't posted anything for the last few days. I was out of the library teaching a workshop on Internet Research in Wisconsin. We had a very good group and most of them were excited to learn about new research resources and techniques. One gentleman even thanked us at the end for "teaching him how to fish" per the old "if you give a man a fish" wisdom. Several others commented that it was an eye-opening experience.

By co-teacher was Bev Butula, an amazing reference librarian from Davis & Kuelthau in Milwaukee. Let me tell you that the students weren't the only ones who learned a thing or two. Bev demonstrated a handful of resources that were new to me, too. Over the course of the next few days, I'll be sharing them with you.

August 15, 2006

Create Custom United States Maps Online

From ABA Site-tation:
Ever wanted a map of counties in the United States? How about Congressional Districts? Areas with Water Discharge Permits? Distribution of monarch butterflies? All this and more can be found at nationalatlas.gov.

Nationalatlas.gov has an interactive map making tool, which allows you to choose parameters by clicking checkboxes. Read more.

Dell Announces Recall of Laptop Batteries Due To Fire Hazard

Dell has announced a recall of certain Dell-branded laptop batteries with cells manufactured by Sony. Dell will offer free replacements for these batteries. Under rare conditions, it is possible for these batteries to overheat, which could pose a risk of fire.

From April 2004 through July 2006, the recalled batteries were sold with or sold separately to be used with the following Dell notebook computers:

* Latitude D410, D500, D505, D510, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810;
* Inspiron 6000, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, 9300, 500m, 510m, 600m, 6400, E1505, 700m, 710m, 9400, E1705;
* Dell Precision M20, M60, M70 and M90 mobile workstations; and
* XPS, XPS Gen2, XPS M170 and XPS M1710.

For more information, see the release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

August 14, 2006

Seminar This Week on Internet Research in Wisconsin

Repost / Reminder:

If you are looking to brush up your Web-based legal research skills this summer, you might want to consider attending a one day seminar entitled, Internet Research in Wisconsin. The seminar, put on by Lorman Education Services, will be held in Brookfield on August 16th & again in Madison on August 17th.

I'll be presenting at both seminars along with my colleague, Bev Butula of Davis & Kuelthau, S.C. in Milwaukee.

Here's the blurb about the course from Lorman:

This course will introduce attendees to online legal research, improve their searching efficiency by developing better strategies and create a list of reliable online resources. The sessions will promote cost-effective searching and offer a look at the most current approaches to capitalizing on information available via the Internet.

Seminar highlights:

* Searching smarter - source selection and search strategies
* Search engines and meta engines
* The invisible Web
* Legal search engines and portals
* Primary law sources on the internet
* Investigating individuals
* Company research
* The new kids on the Web - blogs, RSS, alerts and podcasts

August 10, 2006

Blogosphere Reaches 50 Million Blogs

According to Sifry's Alerts' August 2006 State of the Blogosphere, the blogosphere now measures over 50 million blogs (and counting!). Here are some other interesting findings:

  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 1/2 months
  • More than 2 blogs are created each second of each day
  • There are about 18.6 blog posts per second.

WI Legislature Infobases Moving from Folio SiteDirector to Nxt Software

If you have used any of the Wisconsin Legislature infobases lately, you've probably seen the following screen.


In essence, it explains that the legislature is moving to a new infobase software platform called "Nxt." Currently, when you link into one of the infobases, you get the intermediary screen above which gives you the option to use either the old version ("Folio SiteDirector") or the new one ("Nxt"). Starting in fall, links will go directly to the "Nxt" version.

See the guide to using the Wisconsin Legislature Nxt Site for more information.

Things that won't change:

  • The look and feel of the documents remains largely unchanged. Fonts, font size, text color, reference lines, general appearance and, the text itself, of course, are nearly unchanged.
  • All links within documents and to other documents will continue to work exactly the same.
  • Links to the infobases themselves should also stay the same, so you probably won't need to change your bookmarks. If you do notice a change, see the instructions for figuring out the new URLs.

What's different:

  • With Nxt, each document (whether it is a statute section, administrative code section, act section, a history of an individual bill, or index subject head) is displayed as a distinct unit. Documents will no longer be divided into separate screens as in Folio SiteDirector.
  • There are no "More" and "Back" buttons at the end of each screen. In Nxt, you will use the "Next Doc" and "Prev Doc" buttons in the tool bar a the top of the document window.
  • Nxt offers many search and retrieval options. For more information, see the guide to using the Wisconsin Legislature Nxt Site
  • In Nxt, links to data from previous sessions appears underneath the tool bar at the top right.

August 9, 2006

IM a Librarian - UW Law Library Introduces Instant Messaging Service

Do you IM? If so, add us to your buddy list. The UW Law Library is pleased to announce our new instant messaging service. Our reference librarians can offer you quick research assistance in real time.

We support IM via AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and ICQ.
Here is our list of buddy names:
  • AIM: AskUWLaw
  • Yahoo: AskUWLaw
  • MSN: AskUWLaw@law.wisc.edu
  • ICQ: 204333744

A couple of things to remember:
  • IM is best for questions that can be answered quickly. For more complex questions, contact us in person, by phone, or by email. See our Ask a Librarian page for more information.
  • Don't have IM software installed on your computer? Chat directly in your Web browser using Meebo.
  • Reference assistance is intended primarily for current students, faculty and staff of UW-Madison. Anyone may contact us, but we can only provide limited assistance to those outside of the campus community.
  • And, of course, our disclaimer: As with all of our reference services, we cannot interpret the law as it applies to specific facts or explain the substantive content of statutes and case law. Our assistance does not constitute legal advice.

If anyone would like to contact me personally, my buddy name is BonnieatUWLaw (AIM & Yahoo).

Create Your Own Vinyl Record Label

Here's a fun one from LibrarianInBlack: The Vinyl Record Generator. Create a record with any text you choose for the artist, song title, and producer. You even get to choose between a 78 and a 45 - for those that still know the difference.

You could have some fun with this. I'm filing it away in my National Library Week ideas folder.

August 8, 2006

Looking for Something? Find the Closest Library that Has It with WorldCat

Looking for a specific book or journal but don't know which library might have it? Now you can find out using WorldCat.

Just do a search for an item, for example " LLCs and LLPs: A Wisconsin handbook," and you see a list of libraries around the world that have this item. Enter your zip code, and learn which library is the closest to you. (See image below)

Although WorldCat has been available by subscription in libraries for a long time, this is the first time it has been freely available to the public. This is very cool.


No Cookies in the Library

From YouTube: No Cookies in the Library
Much to the chagrin of a temperamental librarian, Cookie Monster can't seem to comprehend that libraries don't have cookies.

This made me smile.

Source: Library Link of the Day

Legal History Databases

Attention legal historians:

WilsonWeb has added ten more years of coverage to Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective. You can now search for legal articles dating back to 1908. ILP Retro is available for public use at the UW Law Library. Although the full text of articles is not available in ILP Retro, the Law Library has many older periodicals which you can access in print.

Other legal history resources available at the UW Law Library include:

  • Hein Online which contains the full text of many legal periodicals from the first volume to most current volume allowed under contract
  • Nineteenth Century Masterfile includes Jones and Chipman's Index to Legal Periodical Literature covering 1786-1922
  • Nineteenth Century Legal Treatises Index and Twentieth Century Legal Treatises Index are two free Web resources that index works relevant to legal theory and history printed in the United States and the United Kingdom.

August 3, 2006

Technology Gender Gap Virtually Closed

A survey commissioned by the women's cable TV network, Oxygen, found the technology gender gap has virtually closed with the majority of women snapping up new technology and using it easily. Three of four women surveyed said that they would prefer a new plasma TV to a diamond necklace. Yeah, I'd agree with that.

Source: Reuters Oddly Enough

Justice Talking, A Law-Related NPR Program

Justice Talking is a NPR program which specifically covers law-related stories. Although the program is broadcast on a number of NPR stations around the country, it is not, unfortunately, available in Wisconsin.

But, you can still listen to it via the Justice Talking Web site. The show is available via a weekly podcast or you can listen right from your computer with Windows Media Player. Past shows are archived.

Source: CALIopolis

August 2, 2006

Principles of Persuasion

The Association of College and Research Libraries has prepared a useful toolkit entitled The Power of Personal Persuasion. Although it is targeted toward academic librarians, the content can be applied to anyone.

According to the toolkit, the six major principles of persuasion are (paraphrased):

  1. Principle of Reciprocation (If you gave me a favor, I owe you a favor.)
    In the context of obligation people say YES to those they owe. When people say thank you for what you've
    given them, don't say "don't think anything of it" or "no problem" Instead, you should just say "you're welcome." And rather than saying "YOU owe me one now!" say, "I know that if the situation were reversed, you'd do the same for me."

    This was me a few years ago. I always used to say "no problem" when someone thanked me until someone pointed out that I was devaluing my own work. Now I always just say "you're welcome."

  2. Principle of Scarcity (People want what they can't have)
    Data show that it is not enough to say what people will gain -- people are more motivated by what they will lose.

    I could see think in a library budget context - specifically state what resources patrons will no longer have access to the if its budget is cut. It might also be useful in convincing people to attend training sessions - if you don't attend, you won't learn a valuable skill to improve your efficiency & save your client's time.

  3. Principle of Authority (If an expert says it, it must be true)
    Before you present your strongest arguments, raise your weakness first. Then present your strongest
    points that are designed to outweigh/overwhelm the weaknesses.

  4. Principle of Consistency & Commitment
    We want to persuade people to say yes to our message AND to identify if they have said yes to us in the past AND
    we want them to continue to support us by telling us verbally and to put their commitment to us in writing.

    Rather than say "we hope you will," you should say:
    - "Would you please?" or
    - "When can you?" or
    - "Can we count on your to...?

  5. Principle of Consensus ("A lot of other people are doing this or saying yes; therefore, it must be the right thing to do.")

    Bringing in general names and general categories, such as "all faculty" or "deans agree," doesn't work as well as saying similar or specific people (like them) who are "signing on" to your idea/request/saying yes.

  6. Principle of Liking

    People like to say yes when:
    - They are aware that others who are involved are those whom they like and who are like them.
    - They are complimented and thanked for their support
    - They feel they are part of the whole that is working together for success.

Source: Library Marketing - Thinking Outside the Box

Westlaw at the WI State Law Library

From the Wisconsin State Law Library newsletter, WSLL @ Your Service :

New & Improved Westlaw Access @ WSLL and MLRC

WSLL and MLRC have offered in-library user access to Westlaw for a little over a year now. With this popular service, users at either library can search and browse AllFeds and AllStates caselaw, Wisconsin caselaw, statutes and regulations, use the KeyCite citator service, and much more, all at no charge. (Printing is 15 cents per page plus tax at WSLL, 20 cents per page including tax at MLRC.)

Until now, WSLL had been able to provide this service on only four of our seven public access PC's. We're pleased to announce that as of July 1, Westlaw is now available on all WSLL PCs. And, users at both WSLL and MLRC can now access Westlaw's new RegulationsPlus™ for federal regulatory research. RegulationsPlus provides streamlined access to full text current and prior versions of CFR; full text Federal Register summaries dating back to 1981; West's new CFR Index with over 1 million entries; KeyCite coverage with links to related full text court and agency decisions; and access to agency administrative materials. The next time you need to do federal regulatory research, stop in and give RegulationsPlus a try.

FYI: Westlaw is available on UW Law Library computers also. It's referred to as Westlaw Patron Access.

August 1, 2006

I Need to Get a Librarian Action Figure

I think it's about time that I order a Librarian Action Figure from Archie McPhee. I think I'll go for the deluxe figure complete with library diorama including a reference desk, computer, book cart, multiple book stacks and some loose books. And, of course, it features the infamous "amazing shushing action!"

For the story behind the action figure and its model, Nancy Pearl, see the Seattle Times article.


Wisconsin Codes & Ordinances Online

In addition to their many other excellent guides, the Wisconsin State Law Library has compiled a list of Wisconsin Codes & Ordinances online. This is a very comprehensive guide.