From the website:
WARNING! Objects Are More Intriguing Than They First Appear!
How did a rock, a plastic pink flamingo, and a few strips of aluminum make history? Why did a family collect skunk oil in a jar? How did a Wisconsin Congressman come to possess a 7-foot-long bowie knife? From séances and college pranks to assassinations and the fight for civil rights, Odd Wisconsin features scores of curious and authentic artifacts, documents, and images which may surprise, perplex, and astonish you. Odd Wisconsin... satisfy your curiosity.
Channel 3000 also reports that the exhibit will feature the poster announcing the auction of serial killer Ed Gein's items, Orson Welles' 156-page typed script for "Citizen Kane" and an original speech Abraham Lincoln gave in Milwaukee.
I'm very honored to share that I've been nominated for a Wisconsin Law Journal's 2008 Unsung Heroes award. The program recognizes outstanding work by "behind the scenes" personnel in the Wisconsin legal community.
The other two nominees in the Law Library Staff category are Diane L. Duffey of Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C. and Jane B. Moberg of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. I'm definitely in good company. Other categories include Secretary, Paralegal, Administrator, Human Resources, IT Specialists, Marketers, and Court Staff. See the press release for the full list of nominees.
A celebration luncheon will be held November 14 at Milwaukee's Italian Community Center. For registration and directions to the luncheon site, see the WLJ website.
This year's honorees will be featured in the Unsung Heroes issue of the Wisconsin Law Journal, to be published November 17, 2008.
Thomson Reuters, the owner of the Endnote reference management software, has filed a $10 million lawsuit and a request for injunction against the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia's George Mason University develops Zotero, a free and open source plugin to Mozilla Firefox that researchers may use to manage citations. Thomson alleges that GMU's Center for History and New Media reverse engineered Endnote and that the beta version of Zotero can convert (in violation of the Endnote EULA) the proprietary style files that are used by Endnote to format citations into the open CSL file format.
The following post was written by my law librarian colleague, Bev Butula:
A couple of weeks ago, I discussed the hakia search engine on my blog for the Wisconsin Law Journal. If you are not familiar with this engine, it uses semantic search technology. They look for quality results, recognizing that the most credible sites might not be the most popular. Their website indicates that a quality result needs to satisfy "three criteria simultaneously: It (1) comes from credible sources (verticals) recommended by librarians, (2) is the most recent information available, and (3) is absolutely relevant to the query." For popular queries, the search results are categorized, and presented in an easy to read fashion.
Shortly after my post, I had the pleasure of speaking with Melek Pulatkonak, their CEO and Farrah Hamid, the Communications Coordinator. During this conversation, they discussed their goals for hakia. Currently, they have an established vertical for medical searches having included the Medical Library Association's top credible web sites into their database.
Their next goal is to move to a legal vertical. They want to use the collective knowledge of law librarians to enhance the users search experience. As a result, they have created a submission tool to assist in this process. They ask that suggested sites have some editorial review, there is no commercial bias, that the site remains current, and has source authenticity. A recent press release outlines the process and their expectations. As an added bonus, anyone submitting an eligible website will be entered into a drawing.
Thanks to Greg Lambert for passing on this CNet article about open-law activist, Carl Malamud.
He's devoted his life to liberating laws, regulations, court cases, and the other myriad detritus that governments produce daily, but often lock up in proprietary databases or allow for-profit companies to sell for princely sums....
Malamud's solution typically has been to create a proof-of-concept Web site, with the hopes of embarrassing government entities into building that infrastructure themselves. In the 1990s, his activism was responsible for persuading the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Patent and Trademark Office to make their data available for free on the Internet. Now, on his public.resource.org Web site, he's resumed posting hundreds of thousands of pages of government documents--all of which are, or at least should be, in the public domain....
"I believe access to knowledge is a human right," Malamud said. "When I see people putting barriers around useful information, I find that offensive."
Malamud even created a lego animation to make his point.
In a recent Wisconsin Technology News article, Paul Gibler has compiled some great presentation resources. There are tools for content creation, presentation delivery, presentation distribution, and presentation asset management. Lots of good stuff.
"A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction yesterday ordering Vice President Cheney and the National Archives to preserve all of his official records." Read more at the Washington Post.
Jane Pribek of the Wisconsin Law Journal has put together a nice article on the benefits of social networking for attorneys, including some success stories from local attorneys using LinkedIn.
From the article:
Just a few months ago, Michelle M. Friedman recommended all attorneys at her Milwaukee firm, Davis & Kuelthau s.c., join LinkedIn, a popular online social networking Web site for professionals from various disciplines. To date, about 70 percent of them have taken that advice, with positive results...
Among the D&K lawyers who took her advice was a partner who was skeptical at first. But, he later told her that, in response to two of his e-mails asking clients to connect, not only did they accept his invitation, but also, they contacted him, saying, "I've been meaning to get in touch with you about..."
Two new matters landed on his plate, with very little effort on his part..
"Louis Butler Jr., a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and the first African American to sit on the state's highest court, will teach at the University of Wisconsin Law School as Justice in Residence beginning this fall." Read more at the UW Law School News.
The UW Madison Daily Cardinal reports on a new website which pays students for note-taking.
Knetwit, the creation of former Babson College fraternity brothers Ben Wald and Tyler Jenks, encourages college students to upload and share study materials for money....
According to the website, Knetwit allows college students and teachers around the world to share notes, ideas, issues and other content from their education....
"It is similar to Facebook, only it has an academic twist to it. It has the whole networking aspect where people can contact one another."...
The website encourages students to participate in note-taking by offering to pay those who post their notes.
Knetwit pays students based on the number of file downloads they receive. Each student's profile contains a User Statistics section, allowing other members to view the downloaded file levels.
A new Federal Rule of Evidence 502 was enacted on September 19, focusing on inadvertent disclosure of attorney-client privileged material. The new law limits the consequences of inadvertent disclosure, potentially lowering discovery costs and limiting the need for exhaustive "privilege review." Text.
Kevin O'Keefe, Wisconsin native and president of LexBlog, has written an excellent article on blogging in this month's Wisconsin Lawyer. He discusses the benefits of blogging, offers advice for how to get started and what to write about, tips on designing a blog, and more. Definitely worth a read if you've been thinking about starting a blog.
Kevin will be the plenary speaker at the Solo & Small Firm Practice Convention, October 23rd in Wisconsin Dells.
The University of Michigan Shapiro Library is the first university library to install the Espresso Book Machine. The book print machine produces paperback books on demand. From the press release:
The book machine, located in the Shapiro Library lobby on U-M's Central Campus, prints out-of-copyright books from the University's digitized collections. At a cost of about $10 per book, the service is available to researchers, students and the public.
The printing process begins with a reader selecting a digitized book from U-M's pre-1923 collection or from another online source, such as the Open Content Alliance. Most books printed prior to the early 1920s can be reprinted without seeking the permission from whomever holds the copyright. Then the file is downloaded to the Espresso Book Machine, where it is formatted, printed and perfect bound with a four-color cover.
A finished printed book takes 5-7 minutes, depending on the number of pages.
Thanks to my colleague, Bill Ebbott, for the tip.
From the latest edition of the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series as published by SSRN.
I was curious about this so I created and subscribed to a feed based on my Delicious account. I was surprised by the volume and variety of the sites that it suggested. Nothing particularly noteworthy yet, but it definitely has the potential to uncover some interesting stuff.
"Countless federal records are being lost to posterity because federal employees, grappling with a staggering growth in electronic records, do not regularly preserve the documents they create on government computers, send by e-mail and post on the Web," writes Robert Pear of the New York Times.
This confusion is causing alarm among historians, archivists, librarians, Congressional investigators and watchdog groups that want to trace the decision-making process and hold federal officials accountable. With the imminent change in administrations, the concern about lost records has become more acute.
"We expect to see the wholesale disappearance of materials on federal agency Web sites," said Mary Alice Baish, the Washington representative of the American Association of Law Libraries, whose members are heavy users of government records. "When new officials take office, they have new programs and policies, and they want to make a fresh start."
AALL's Washington Blawg has more on the potential disappearance of these government records and the "short-sighted and disappointing decision of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) not to harvest agency Web sites at the end of this administration."
The Wisconsin court system has created a new, interactive small claims website for the public. This user-friendly program is intended to provide an inexpensive alternative for people in need of small claims assistance but who do not have an attorney.
The website guides users through a series of questions, and the Summons and Complaint form is automatically filled in based on the answers provided. The Web site operates much like the software used to complete a tax return. Blank versions of the statewide-standardized forms are also offered for people to fill in by hand. Additionally, the site offers many county-specific instructional guides to assist users.
Source: The Third Branch
Jureeka! is a new Firefox add-on that looks for legal citations in ordinary web pages and turns them into hyperlinks that lead to a free version of the cited source. Pretty nifty. You can download it at the Jureeka! blog, but you'll need to register first.
It apparently works for statutes, case law, regulations, federal court rules, international law sources, and more. See source coverage spreadsheet for a complete listing.
Jureeka! also has a toolbar which allows you to search for source material by legal citation and to find HTML versions of PDF pages.
Source: ALL-SIS listserv
"If you are not familiar with Legistar, it is a system to help manage the flow of documents through the municipal legislative process. Obviously, a great help to the Clerk's office. However, there is also a significant benefit to the legal community. This system contains detailed information, including documentation, pertaining to resolutions, ordinances, reports and other items."
The Milwaukee upgrade features a cleaner interface, video of Common Council meetings, RSS feeds, and more. Read Bev's post for full details.
Madison also uses the Legistar system. Its Legislative Information Center offers access to legislative documents such as legislative files, agendas, minutes, etc. for City Council and committees.
Earlier this month, Google announced that it is partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives.
From the announcement:
You'll be able to explore this historical treasure trove by searching the Google News Archive or by using the timeline feature after searching Google News... Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you'll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed -- photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all...
This effort expands on the contributions of others who've already begun digitizing historical newspapers. In 2006, we started working with publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post to index existing digital archives and make them searchable via the Google News Archive. Now, this effort will enable us to help you find an even greater range of material from newspapers large and small, in conjunction with partners such as ProQuest and Heritage, who've joined in this initiative.
WisBar reports that The State Board of Bar Governors has voted to support Wisconsin Judicial Council Petition 08-02 to amend Wis.Stat. 809.23(3) to allow the citation of unpublished appellate opinions for persuasive value.
Petition 08-02, asks the Supreme Court to expand the opportunities for citation by adopting the following:
(a) An unpublished opinion may not be cited in any court of this state as precedent or authority, except to support a claim of claim preclusion, issue preclusion, or the law of the case.
(b) In addition to the purposes specified in sub. (a), an unpublished opinion may be cited for its persuasive value. Because an unpublished opinion cited for its persuasive value is not precedent, it is not binding on any court of this state, and a court need not distinguish or otherwise discuss it.
U.S. Courts has announced that starting this fall they will be launching a system which automatically sends crime victims and their families information from federal courts, helping ensure that crime victims are afforded the right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any relevant public court proceeding.
Victim notification data will be sent from a court's CM/ECF replication servers to the Department of Justice's Victim Notification System.
The Wisconsin Law Review has recently announced its 2008 Symposium: The Continuing Evolution of Securities Class Actions. It will be held on Friday, October 17, 2008 at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. The symposium is co-sponsored by the Institute for Law and Economic Policy.
For more information, please contact the symposium editors.
Go to the Twitter search page and run your search. On the results page, you'll see a RSS Feed for this Query button.
The licensed child care search website contains information and regulatory history on nearly 6,000 child care centers licensed by the Department of Children and Families. Individuals can search for licensed child care by county, city, zip code or facility name. Once a child care center is located, individuals can review the center's licensing history for the past two years, including compliance history and enforcement actions.
Source: The Wheeler Report
The Fastcase database contains state and federal caselaw, statutes, administrative codes, and court rules. See this list of documents included in the State Bar of Wisconsin Fastcase subscription. Per the rep I spoke with on the phone, the subscription does not include the public records service available from Fastcase.
Check out the video demo for an overview of the Fastcase system.
Fastcase is the service behind the free Public Library of Law.
Fastcase has been much in the news lately. See this recent article on Forbes.com and this interview with Fastcase CEO, Ed Walters and president Phillip Rosenthal about the business of legal research and competing against the big vendors.
If you're a regular WisBlawg reader you know that I often sing the praises of Badgerlink. Badgerlink is a collection of databases containing over 11,000 periodical titles and over 700 newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many Wisconsin newspapers), children's and adult literature, business, medical, and education sources, and many other specialized resources not available through regular Internet search engines.
And the really cool thing is that Badgerlink is free to all state residents via Wisconsin's libraries through funding from the DPI. If your Web access is provided by a registered Internet Service Provider, you should automatically have access to Badgerlink from your home or office. Users whose ISP is not registered may be able to access one or both of the database resources using a WI library card as a log-in ID.
Yeah, I've said all this before - so why am I talking about Badgerlink again? Because now you can do a combined search ("federated" search in library lingo) of all the Badgerlink databases at once. Very nice!!
Source: WSLL @ Your Service
WSLL @ Your Service, the newsletter of the Wisconsin State Law Library, reports that "LexisOne recently doubled the number of years' worth of free case law on its website - from five years to ten. Users can search by keyword or citation, or browse by year. As before, U.S. Supreme Court cases are available for free back to 1781."
Tracking what people say on blogs can be important to legal professionals for a number of reasons:
Fortunately, there are some tools you can use to track this information.
Google Blogs is a search engine for blog content. Using the subscribe options on the left of the search results page, you can set up an email alert or RSS feed so that you'll be notified if your search terms appear in any new blog posts.
That works well for people who have their own blogs, but what about those who leave comments to other people's blogs? That is a bit trickier - or at least it used to be.
I just learned about a new comment search engine called BackType.
With BackType, you have two search options:
The ABA Journal reports some interesting findings from the latest annual Legal Technology Survey Report. In general, the survey indicates that lawyers are slow to adopt cutting-edge technology.
For all the hype--at conferences, on the Internet, and in this publication and others--about how Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way lawyers practice, the bulk of the profession is only now on the verge of beginning to use those tools in their daily professional lives...
If the history of technology in the legal profession is any guide, most lawyers will eventually understand the utility of today's latest technology as well as any of today's college students do. And they'll come to that understanding about the same time as those college students make partner.
The survey... shows that websites and e-mail newsletters are still the digital way that most attorneys stay current with the news. A small minority reports reading blogs; but actually creating a blog is something the geeky lawyer down the hall--or, more likely, across town--is into.