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February 25, 2011

Feedback Desired on New Changes to WI Legislature's Beta Search Site

Last week I posted on the Wisconsin Legislature's new beta site for searching documents.

Bruce Hoesly, at the Legislative Reference Bureau, informs me that they are very interested in getting feedback on the system, including some new changes that debuted yesterday. To facilitate this, notice that there is now a Feedback link in the top right corner of the site.

Specifically, they are interested on feedback on the following:

  • There are now two icons next to the statute number (reference line) on the left. The arrow shows you the bread crumb trail, although I prefer that it looked more like a traditional bread crumb trail (Statutes home > Chapter > Section > Subsection). What do you think?

    The magnifying glass gives you other options, including a link to the PDF and "References to this" which displays other WI statutes that cite to your statute. I thought that this was very useful. Which options do you find the most useful?

    I also suggested to Bruce that a link to older statutes be added. He thought it might be possible to link to all archived PDFs for that particular chapter, but it wouldn't necessarily show when changes had been made. Would you find this helpful?

  • They have changed the default so that a reference line appears next to each chapter/section/subsection to help users identify where they are in the text. Would you prefer that be the default, or would you rather they not be displayed.

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    Note that you can change the default using the preferences link at the top right. Or you can turn them on/off temporary by clicking on the magnifying glass next to the reference line.

  • Links to opinions have been added. When the opinion is available on the WI courts site, the link points there. Otherwise, the link directs the user to the opinion in Google Scholar. Do you agree that this is useful? Or are you troubled that Google Scholar isn't authoritative enough?

    Links to USC and CFR sections which go to the federal government website are also available. They looking into linking public laws also.

  • The search box at the top is now capable of searching by citation, however, it doesn't seem to be showing up on every page yet. I suggested that it would be better to have a separate "find by citation" box rather than having it together with the keyword search. Would you agree?

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    Currently the "go to cite" search requires a specific syntax-- Include the parentheses and periods and use no spaces. More forgiving syntax is in development.

  • I've been told they are working on a top to the Statutes Table of Contents that will show the updated though information, along with more explanatory material. That just hasn't caught up to the rest of the production update.

February 22, 2011

UW Law School to Host Forum on Legal & Political Issues Raised by Governor's Budget Repair Bill

University of Wisconsin Law School has organized a forum on the legal and political issues raised by the Governor's Budget Repair Bill. All are welcome.

The forum seeks to provide insights into the dramatic developments that have followed the introduction of the Governor's Budget Repair Bill from an historical, legal and political perspective

The forum will be held Wednesday, February 23, 2011 from 6-8 pm in Room 2260 of the UW Law School

Speakers include:

  • Professor Carin Clauss, Law School
  • Professor Donald Downs, Political Science
  • Professor Will Jones, History
  • Professor Andrew Coan, Law School
  • Professor David Cannon, Political Science
  • Professor Neill DeClercq, School for Workers, UW Extension
  • Chair: Professor Heinz Klug, UW Law School

Update: A video of the forum will be available Thursday, 2/24 on the UW Law School Website

February 17, 2011

New WI Legislative Docs Beta Search Offers Big Improvements

The Wisconsin Legislature has recently released a new beta site for searching documents. Currently available are statutes, administrative code, and new proposal info pages with enhanced bill history.

I'm very impressed with the new site and agree with Bev Butula's assessment that it is much more sleek and user friendly than the current one.

In addition to a much simpler search interface, note that your chosen section is highlighted for quick reference. Also when you click on any section, the statute number appears in red on the left. If you click this number, you get additional options, such as viewing the section in PDF, a link to other sections referencing your section, the structural tree with which users of the current version are familiar, and more.

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The new proposal info pages are also a nice improvement. The site not only provides the bill history, but it also includes links to related materials, such as referenced documents and Ethics Board information which indicates which groups are lobbying for or against the legislation.

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RSS feeds are also integrated throughout the new site. These will allow you to monitor updates to a particular statute or admin code section, as well as follow new proposals.

I chatted with LRB Chief, Steve Miller about it and he noted that several additional features are likely to be added before the final release.

He also indicated that they are very interested in hearing feedback about the new system. Currently, the feedback link available under Help/About this site, but it will soon be moved next to the Home button at the top right.

February 16, 2011

LexisNexis Library Express Available to Madison Public Library Patrons

The Madison Public Library has recently subscribed to LexisNexis Library Express.

Although this is not the full version of LexisNexis with which many legal practitioners are familiar, LexisNexis Library Express does provide access to thousands of full-text news, business, and legal publications. See the specific coverage information.

LexisNexis Library Express is accessible at any Madison Public Library location on their computers and through the wireless networks.

The news and company module are also accessible at home to anyone with a Madison Public Library location listed as their "home library" (the default library you use to pick up holds).

Note that the legal portion is only accessible inside one of Madison Public Library's locations.

Source: Check It Out from the Madison Public Library

February 15, 2011

What's on the Ballot?

Today primary election day and I must admit, I wasn't sure what all the races on the ballot were. Fortunately, with the State of Wisconsin Voter Public Access system I was able to view a sample ballot for my community.

You can also look up your voter record to check your voter status and to check the polling place location, voting history, absentee ballot status, and more.

February 14, 2011

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals

If you're considering submitting a law related article for publication, see Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals, recently available via SSRN. It was prepared by Allen Rostron and Nancy Levit, both from University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law.

The guide contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers 202 law reviews and was fully updated in February 2011.

The first chart contains information about each journal's preferences about methods for submitting articles (e.g., e-mail, ExpressO or regular mail), as well as special formatting requirements and how to request an expedited review.

The second chart contains rankings information from U.S. News and World Report as well as data from Washington & Lee's law review website.

February 8, 2011

Does Your Company Dress Code include Workplace Avatars?

There are so many legal and policy issues surrounding technology - many of which are completely unanticipated. Check out the latest issue of the ABA Journal for an interesting article on dress codes for workplace avatars.

Hat tip to Mary Koshollek, Director of Information and Records Services at Godfrey & Kahn in Milwaukee.

Find Mobile Apps for Law

From Information Today:

Mobile Apps for Law is a just-released database on the web that covers all legal research and utility apps for all types of mobile devices. Whether you use an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, BlackBerry, Android device, or a Palm PC, this is the place to find out which law apps are available for your device...

Subscriptions are $49.99 for 1 year of access. For a limited time, subscriptions are being offered at a 50% discount.

February 7, 2011

Law Library Staff Member CJ Ullrich's Stort Story Published

Congratulations to CJ Ullrich, our Law Library Stack Manager, who has just had a short story published. The story is entitled "The Collector" and was co-authored by Paul McComas. The publisher is http://walkaboutpublishing.blogspot.com/

CJ's work has earned high praised from acclaimed co-author McComas who writes:

C.J. has studied fiction writing with me for four weeks through Lawrence University's Bjorklunden adult-ed program in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, and for one term (Summer 2010) through UW-Madison's Minicourse Program. It was in the latter venue that this talented young writer (whose gorgeous, elegiac story "The Call of the Mourning Dove" I'd included in my 2007 anthology Further Persons Imperfect) began developing the story you're about to read . . .

. . . That is, if you dare. Fair warning: "The Collector" is, appropriately, the single most disturbing piece in "the collection." It was a hard piece to co-author, simply because it took me to such a dark place--a place where I wasn't sure it was safe to be.

February 4, 2011

Wisconsin Public Notices Searchable via New Website

Wisconsin Public Notices is a new site containing full text public notices as originally published in Wisconsin newspapers. The site was created by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

The site features a robust search engine allowing users to search by keyword, date, location and/or newspaper title. The search results (see image below) show the full page of the newspaper on which the notice appears in PDF. Note that the results aren't perfect, though - it will return a hit if the keyword appeared anywhere on a full newspaper page, not just in the notice section. But that seems to be a relatively minor glitch.

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The site also has a subscription alert service whereby newly uploaded public notices matching your search criteria will be emailed to you. The cost is $75 a month or $600 per year.

If you wish to extend your search to the full newspapers, instead of just the notice sections, use the Wisconsin Newspapers Digital Research Site available through Badgerlink. It provides access to the daily and weekly newspapers in Wisconsin, starting in 2005 to the present, with an embargo delay of 60 days.

This service is available onsite in libraries of all types (except for corporate libraries) and through entry of a public library card number. It is not available statewide through IP address authentication as are other BadgerLink resources.

Instant Messaging Reference Services

The Milwaukee Public Library has recently introduced a new Instant Messaging (IM) service.

Hours for the IM service are Monday-Tuesday: 10 a.m. -8 p.m. and Wednesday-Saturday: 9 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

And don't forgot that our reference librarians here at the UW Law Library also have an IM service. Just click on the Chat Now button on our homepage to chat with a librarian during normal reference hours.

Our hours are Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am- 9:00 pm, Friday: 8:00 am- 5:00 pm and Saturday & Sunday: 1:00 pm- 5:00 pm.

February 1, 2011

Law Library Closed Tuesday eve and Wednesday

In response to blizzard warnings for Madison and Dane County, Chancellor Biddy Martin has canceled classes and events for Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Law Library is closing at 9 pm tonight (Tuesday) and will not be open tomorrow (Wednesday).