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May 31, 2007

Gap in WI Public Domain Citation Numbers

A few weeks ago, our Evening and Weekend Reference Librarian, Eric Taylor, noticed a large gap in the public domain citation numbers for the 2007 Wisconsin Court of Appeals opinions. Upon contacting the court, we received the following memorandum from Christopher Paulsen, Chief Deputy Clerk:

Please be advised that the Public Domain Citation (PDC) numbers 2007 WI App 51 though 109 were erroneously assigned to unpublished cases. Upon discovery of the error, numbers 51 though 109 were removed from the court's database system and PDC numbers for published cases were resumed sequentially beginning with 2007 WI App 110.

Bucky's Badger Den - Fun & Games for Badger Fans

Margaret Booth, our Documents Assistant, clued me into a fun site for Badger fans called Bucky's Badger Den. It's geared for kids, but I have to admit that some of the games looked pretty fun. Check out my paper doll Bucky. Can you tell I'm going on vacation in a few weeks?bucky.png

Update - turns out Margaret was the one who suggested the paper doll idea to the Athletics Dept. and was tickled when she heard about it on Channel 3 news the other day. Way to go, Margaret!

May 30, 2007

Dumb Criminals on MySpace

In the category of dumb criminals, JS Online has an article about people bragging about their crimes on MySpace - complete with photos. Of course, it doesn't take long before the police come knocking at their doors.

GPO Authenticating Laws for 110th Congress

GPO has announced that authenticated Public and Private Laws for the 110th Congress are now available on GPO Access as a searchable and browseable application in beta form.

GPO's Authentication initiative focuses on the primary objective of assuring users that the information made available by GPO is official and authentic...

The Public and Private Laws beta application provides authenticated Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files for the 110th Congress only. Public and private laws within this application contain digitally signed and certified PDF files that contain GPO's Seal of Authenticity. These files have been digitally signed and certified using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology.

May 29, 2007

Recently Digitized Wisconsin Magazine of History Contains My First Article on Prostitution in Eau Claire

The Wisconsin Historical Society has recently digitized the full text of The Wisconsin Magazine of History from volume 1 (1917) to volume 83 (1999). The journal is freely available on the Wisconsin Historical Society's Web site.

prostitutes.png Not only is this good news for historical researchers, it holds special significance to me personally. My very first article was published in The Wisconsin Magazine of History. It was my senior history thesis at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and is entitled, "'This Naughty, Naughty City': Prostitution in Eau Claire from the Frontier to the Progressive Era." The research was fascinating, as you can imagine. And seeing it in print gave me the confidence to continue writing articles.

Notice what the women in the photo are wearing. I've recently learned that stripped stockings were a dead giveaway as to a woman's profession. Of course, being photographed with the liquor bottle on the table next to them was also a tell-tale sign.

Thanks to Bill Ebbott for letting me know about this digitization effort.

Mr. Bean Visits the Library

Thanks to my colleague, Cindy May, for passing on this YouTube video of Mr Bean's visit to the library, posted on Law Librarian Blog. Hilarious.

Hein Online Reportedly Plans to Digitize Congressional Record, Etc.

It's been reported on the GOVDOC-L listserv that Hein Online is scheduled to release some significant collections soon, including the following:

  • Congressional Record
  • Annals of Congress
  • Register of Debates
  • Congressional Globe
  • Journals of the Continental Congress
  • American State Papers

According to the post, this collection will begin to appear in June 2007, with the remainder of Congressional Record volumes available sometime in the year 2008.

May 22, 2007

Seventh Circuit Starts a Wiki

Law.com reports that the 7th Circuit has recently created a wiki. According to Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, who spearheaded the project, "the goal is to concentrate on procedure (in both the court of appeals and the district courts) but not to cover substance."

To contribute to the wiki, see the Registration page.

Source: Slaw

Podcasts & Handouts from the Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium

I've just learned that the handouts, podcasts, and photos are now available for the Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium held last week at Chicago Kent.bflr.jpg

May 21, 2007

Looking for Certain Book or Movie? Try the Madison Public Library's Hold System

There is a good article in the Capital Times extolling the virtues of the Madison Public Library's (the South Central Library System's actually) hold system.

Maybe it's not as fast or convenient as Netflix, but the Madison Public Library allows its users to go online and put holds on movies, but also TV series, books, CDs and audio books. And those who take advantage of the system say you can't beat the price: It's free.

I've mentioned it before, but I use this all the time. I'm currently working my way through season two of Battlestar Galatica. It's great that you can have items from the whole library system delivered to your local library. And you can request it all online. When it comes in you just pick it up at the circulation desk - you're in and out in less than five minutes.

Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium - Web 2.0, Teaching Cost Effective Searching & Evaluating Subscription DBs

I'm back from Chicago Kent where I attended the Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium. I was unable to live blog the afternoon sessions, so I'll share a few thoughts now.

Right after lunch, I participated on a panel with Professors Doug Berman of the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University (Sentencing Law and Policy Blog & Law School Innovation) and Richard Friedman of University of Michigan Law School (The Confrontation Blog). The session, which was moderated by Debbie Ginsberg, was on Web 2.0: New Tools for Doing and Teaching Legal Research. The panel began with each of us discussing how we got into blogging and the place of blogs in legal scholarship. I then explored a number of Web 2.0 technologies and discussed their role in legal research. They included:

I created a handout which defines each of the above with links to examples. There is also a wiki for the panel to which you are invited to contribute

Later that afternoon I attended two more sessions. Alison Julien & Kira Zaporski from Marquette University Law School, Rosalie Sanderson of New York Law School and Sarah Valentine of CUNY Law School gave an interesting presentation on Being Research-Selective for Efficiency and Economy. They shared the strategies that they use for teaching law students cost-effective legal research strategies. I was particularly impressed with the time sheet exercise used at Marquette.

The last session I attended was on Evaluating Subscription Databases. Julie Jones from Cornell Law School began with an explanation of how the eye tracks a web site. Then she offered suggestions on how Westlaw and Lexis might improve their search interfaces so that law students could learn to use them more efficiently and cost effectively. I was glad to see that there were representatives from each vendor in attendance because she had some great suggestions.

May 18, 2007

Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium - Librarian and Practitioner Legal Research Survey Results

At the mid-morning session at the Back to the Future Symposium, we learned about the results from various practitioner and librarian surveys regarding legal research practices. Speakers were Sanford Greenberg and Tom Gaylord of Chicago-Kent College of Law and Patrick Meyer of Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

There was a lot of interesting data presented, including recommendations by Chicago law firm librarians on what skills they would like to see from new associates:

  • Electronic Searching Knowledge - 28.57%
  • Print Materials Knowledge - 37.14%
  • Subject Area Knowledge - 20%
  • Online Cost Efficiency - 14.29%
  • General Research Strategies - 22.86%
  • Google/Web - 2.86%

Also interesting were the recommendations by law firm librarians on which types of information are better accessed online and which are better in print. The majority of librarians surveyed felt that cases and digests were better used online while legislative and administrative codes were better used in print. And it's no surprise that the vast majority felt that Shepards/KeyCite was better online. Over three quarters of survey respondents felt that secondary sources were better used in print.

Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium - Access to Digital Legal Information

I'm down in Chicago today attending the Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium. The morning session has been very thought provoking. We heard from Mary Alice Baish of the American Association of Law Libraries who spoke about efforts (or lack thereof) of state and federal governments to provide official, authentic legal materials in the digital age. Although no states have any type of authentication program in place, she was encouraged that many have begun to consider the implications.

Ian Gallacher of Syracuse University College of Law outlined his proposal that a consortium of law schools make all common law freely available on the Internet. He lamented the fact that publishers seem to be moving away from print resources making access much more limited to those who cannot afford systems such as Westlaw and LexisNexis. This was one of the issues he raised in his presentation on why an open access legal research system is needed rather than how to go about implementing it.

May 16, 2007

LLJ Articles from the Berring Symposium on Legal Information & the Development of American Law

The latest edition of Law Library Journal is out and it contains articles from the symposium on Legal Information and the Development of American Law: Further Thinking about the Thoughts of Robert C. Berring. Included is Should Legal Research Be Included on the Bar Exam? An Exploration of the Question by the UW Law Library's own director, Steve Barkan.

Wisconsin Eye Legislative Broadcasts to Begin Today

Although the site still says it's under construction, WisconsinEye is scheduled to broadcast its first live gavel-to-gavel Internet coverage of the state Assembly and Senate at 11 a.m. today.

According to JSOnline PoliticsWatch:

WisconsinEye has also finalized agreements for digital channels to be available on the Charter and TimeWarner cable system in Wisconsin, said WisconsinEye president Chris Long. Some of the transmission equipment still needs to be installed, however, so it could be a few months before cable broadcasts will be available, he said.

"We're very excited to be at the beginning of a new chapter in Wisconsin's progressive history and to be available on the Web and soon on cable," Long said in a statement.


May 15, 2007

Thomson to Take Over Reuters

The New York Times reports that Reuters agreed today to a "$17.2 billion takeover by Thomson that would vault the combined entity ahead of Bloomberg to become the world's largest financial data and news provider."

''The companies will be separate legal entities but will be managed and operated as if they were a single economic enterprise,'' the announcement said. ''The boards of the two companies will be identical and the combined business will be managed by a single senior executive management team.''

The combined Thomson Financial unit and Reuters financial and media businesses will be called Reuters.

Thomson's professional businesses -- legal, tax and accounting, scientific and healthcare -- will be branded as Thomson-Reuters Professional.

Thanks to my colleague, Eric Taylor, for the tip.

May 14, 2007

Hollywood Librarian to Premier Next Month - Trailer on YouTube

The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians through Film, the first full-length documentary film to focus on the work and lives of librarians, is scheduled to premier at American Library Association (ALA) 2007 Annual Conference June 21-27 in Washington, D.C.

From the web site:

The Hollywood Librarian is a unique and charming blend of film clips, humor and critical analysis of the popular image of librarians. It will create a new-found empathy for the profession by revealing the diversity of individual librarians and the importance of what they do. This documentary will increase the public's awareness of the complex and democratic nature of librarianship in the age of technology, and be a step toward librarians redefining themselves as not only more than a stereotype, but also as a cultural imperative.

A trailer for the film is available on YouTube and there is also a Hollywood Librarian group on Facebook. I'm sorry that I won't be going to ALA this year to see it - I hope that the film will be widely available thereafter.

Univ of Washington Launches WorldCat Local

From OCLC:

The University of Washington Libraries is the first to pilot WorldCat Local, a new service that builds on WorldCat.org to allow Web access to the world's richest database for discovery of materials held in libraries. The goal of the pilot is to provide users with a single search and request service that covers the University of Washington Libraries, Summit libraries (most academic libraries in Washington and Oregon), WorldCat and a selection of article citations--all through one catalog.

USPS Rates Go Up Today

2007forever200ns.jpg Don't forget that the new United States Postal Service rates go into effect today. The price of a first class stamp is now 41 cents. Looks like I'll have to go get a bunch of make up stamps.

From now on, I think I'll buy the new Forever Stamps which are good for mailing one-ounce First-Class Mail letters anytime in the future -- regardless of price changes.

May 12, 2007

Law Library Podcasts - Experiences and Insights

ipod.jpg There is an interesting article entitled "Are You Podcasting: Current Uses of Podcasts in Law Libraries" in the May issue of AALL Spectrum. Although they haven't caught on as quickly as blogs have (there are currently 116 law library blogs), some law librarians are experiment with podcasting.

The article highlights the podcasting projects from numerous libraries, such as audio tours, recording courses, providing supplementation to regular coursework, special event recording, FAQ and research guides. Insights from the podcasters is also offered.

May 9, 2007

WI Revisor of Statutes Bureau May be Eliminated

In an amendment to the proposed 2007 state budget (Senate Bill 40), it appears that the Wisconsin Revisor of Statutes Bureau may be eliminated as an agency. The amendment (LRB b 0074/2) transfers most of the statutory functions to Legislative Reference Bureau except for the Administrative Register which will go to the Legislative Council. The bill makes no provision for RSB employees.

May 4, 2007

Article: The Fourth Amendment and Privacy Issues on the "New" Internet: Facebook.com and MySpace.com

There is an interesting article on The Fourth Amendment and Privacy Issues on the "New" Internet: Facebook.com and MySpace.com in the Fall issue of the Southern Illinois University Law Journal.


Facebook.com and MySpace.com are two of the most trafficked Web sites on the Internet. These Web sites form a "new" type of internet where users can create profiles and share information like never before. With the exploding popularity comes the usage by law enforcement of these Web sites to investigate criminal offenses and the corresponding privacy concerns of citizens.

The Comment explores Fourth Amendment jurisprudence beginning with landmark decisions, then discusses Fourth Amendment cases dealing specifically with cyberspace communications, and goes on to discuss how a court faced with a Fourth Amendment issue on Facebook.com or MySpace.com might apply the holdings from prior cases.

Thanks to my UW Madison Library colleague, Amanda Werhane, for the tip.

Google Web History Has Been Tracking Your Searches for Years

If you have a Google account (like Gmail, Google News, etc.), you might be surprised to learn that Google is keeping track of your Web activity. We're taking every day, every site, every search going back years (mine goes back to 2005). They call it your Web History.

Here's the explanation from Google:

You know that great web site you saw online and now can't find? With Web History, you can view and search across web pages you've visited in the past, including Google searches. Web History also provides interesting trends on your web activity, such as which sites you visit most frequently and what your top searches are. Finally, Web History helps deliver more personalized search results based on what you've searched for and which sites you've visited.

OK, now while I admit that could be useful in some situations, mostly I just find it creepy. Worse yet, if you happen to find out someone else's Google password, you can view their info, too. Or, if you share a computer with someone else (like a family member) and you don't log out, you can see their searches - or they can see yours if you use the computer when they are still logged in. Heck, you can even create a Web History RSS feed.

Fortunately, you can delete your search history, either specific searches or the entire search history.

Source: LawLibrary Blog

May 2, 2007

WI State Law Library Offering Remote Access to Hein Online

The Wisconsin State Law Library has recently begun offering remote access to Hein Online. This service is only available to firms or state agencies with less than 25 attorneys, however. If that's you and you have a WSLL library card, you can access the full text law reviews and journals in Hein Online from anywhere. Sweet.

Add this to WSLL's remote access to LegalTrac and you're pretty well set up for law journal searching. See their full list of electronic resources.

See this month's WSLL @ Your Service for instructions on how to access full text law journal articles via Hein Online by searching the library catalog.

May 1, 2007

LLRX Redesigned

Sabrina Pacifici with help from the team over at Justia has launched a redesigned LLRX. They've done a great job of spicing up the look and feel to highlight the first rate content for which LLRX is so well known. Kudos all around.

Library services for UW Alumni &WI Residents

Amanda Werhane over at Wendt Library Blog has compiled a useful list of library services available to UW alumni and Wisconsin residents. Check it out.

Law Day Events in Wisconsin

From today's Capital Times:

In celebration of Law Day, Dane County Bar Association members will be staffing an information table at the Dane County Legal Resource Center. Lawyers will answer questions about the law and provide information about legal forms from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and assistance will be available in Spanish from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m.

Mock trials, targeted at students, will also be held in the Dane County courthouse.

The first, for young children, is based on the story "The Emperor's New Clothes," and attorneys and judges will play various roles in the trial, which is designed to give youngsters an interesting way to observe how the legal system works.

A second mock trial, titled "A Day in the Life of a Criminal Case," is for older students. In that mock trial, the students will be the participants as well. The trial is based on a shoplifting case, and students will play the roles of thief, arresting officer, judge, prosecutor, defense lawyer and jurors as the case makes its way through the justice system.

Around the state, WisBar reports that seventy Wisconsin lawyers will celebrate Law Day by making one-hour classroom presentations in more than 100 schools in the state. The State Bar Young Lawyers Division has developed a 16-page newspaper insert that focuses public attention on the checks and balances that protect citizen rights by distributing key powers among three distinct branches of government.

Anyone know of any other Law Day events in Wisconsin?