Category Archives: Uncategorized

Welcome to Emma Babler, UW Law Library’s newest librarian!

The UW Law Library is pleased to announce our newest law librarian: Emma Babler. Emma will be our new Reference and Technology Librarian, where she will be tasked with assisting students, staff, and anyone who asks a question! Emma comes to us from the UNLV Law Library but received both her MLS and JD from the University of Wisconsin.

Welcome, Emma! We’re excited to be working with you!

2016 WI State Capitol Ornament Features Supreme Court Hearing Room

Looking for a holiday gift for the attorney on your list?  This year’s Wisconsin State Capitol Ornament features the beautiful State Supreme Court Hearing Room.


According to The Third Branch, newsletter of the Wisconsin Judiciary,  the ornament “is a replica design of the most prominent
features of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Hearing Room,
including The Signing of the Constitution, the carved
mahogany judicial bench, and pilasters of Italian Breche
Coraline marble.”

Since 2004, the proceeds from ornament sales have
supported over $70,000 in restoration projects around the
Capitol building. Previous ornament sales have helped to
fund the visitor’s bird’s-eye view from the glass perch inside
the dome of the State Capitol.

The State Capitol Ornament is presented by the Wisconsin Historical Foundation and is available for purchase from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Recent UW Law School Faculty Scholarship

Here is the latest faculty scholarship appearing in the University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies Research Papers series found on SSRN.

The University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies journal contains abstracts and papers from this institution focused on this area of scholarly research. To access all the papers in this series, please use the following URL:

Dane County Court Converts to E-records

Beginning in January, the Dane County Clerk of Court’s office will convert to electronic record-keeping.  All records must be filed electronically or scanned in on receipt.  However, print copies may be obtained at the usual statutory rate of $1.25 per page using the office’s public terminals.

According to the Isthmus, Dane County had already been keeping probate court records electronically as a test and the new system has worked well.  Other counties are also gradually phasing in the use of electronic records.

“I think Carlo [Esqueda, Dane Co. clerk of circuit court] sees the writing on the wall,” says John Barrett, clerk of circuit court for Milwaukee County. “E-filing is going to be mandatory.” Milwaukee is currently scanning in whole categories of filed documents, including criminal complaints and judgments, and receiving other filings in electronic form, as will Dane County.

Barrett notes that going electronic is “a culture shock” for some judges and others who still crave records in paper form. “I don’t think you will ever have a paperless court system,” he says. “I prefer to refer to it as paper on demand.” He believes electronic records are better for everyone involved. “You don’t have lost documents. The file itself will be chronologically in order every time you look at it.”

James Madison Likely Revised His Notes from Constitutional Convention to Distance Himself from Controversial Statements

According to research conducted by Boston College Law professor Mary Sarah Bilder,* “James Madison likely replaced several sheets of his notes chronicling the constitutional convention to distance himself from his own statements that later became controversial,” notes the ABA Journal.

In her book, Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention, Bilder compares Madison original 1787 handwritten notes with the later revised notes published after his death in 1840.

“Along the way,” Bilder writes for the History News network, “he converted himself into a different Madison. In the original Notes, Madison was annoyed and frustrated. Slowly by altering a word here, a phrase there, he became a moderate, dispassionate observer and intellectual founder of the Constitution.”

He also likely replaced several sheets containing his own speeches in the years immediately after the convention to distance himself from statements that became controversial, Bilder writes.

One revision concerned slavery, Bilder told the Washington Post in an interview. As the slave trade fell into disfavor after the convention, Madison added language that suggested he had condemned it during the convention as “dishonorable to the national character.”

Madison had never spoken against slavery or used the words, while others at the conviction did, Bilder said. The words Madison claims to have spoken bore “an uncomfortable resemblance to the same comment” made by a delegate from Maryland as recorded in Madison’s original notes, she said.

Although the revisions differ, at times strongly, with Madison’s original notes, Bilder contends these differences enhance rather than detract from Madison’s later manuscript which reflects a more evolved “understanding about the convention, the Constitution, and his own role.”

*Mary Sarah Bilder is the daughter of UW Law School professor, Richard Bilder.

Availability of Westlaw at UW Law Library

Please be advised that public access to Westlaw will no longer be available at the UW Law Library after August 30th.  We have cancelled our subscription to Westlaw Patron Access.  Access to Westlaw is now limited to UW Law School students, faculty, and staff.

However, LexisNexis Academic is still available at the UW Law Library as well as all of the other UW Madison campus libraries.

We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.

New features on Congress.Gov

As continues to evolve into Congress.Gov, more features are being added. Recently, In Custodia Legis, the Law Library of Congress Blog, announced some of most recent bells and whistles that were added:
*You can now search for presidential nominations back to 1981.
*Congress.Gov also allows you to create an account so you can save customized searches and other bookmarks on the site.
*Possibly most importantly, the About Section has been expanded to be more user-friendly and transparent.
Check out Congress.Gov here and read the original In Custodia Legis post on the updates here. Happy Searching!

Free Copyright Course for Educators & Librarians

Want to brush up on your copyright? Coursera is offering a free web course on Copyright for Educators & Librarians. The course is taught by faculty members from Duke University, Emory University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Here’s the course description:

Fear and uncertainty about copyright law often plagues educators and sometimes prevents creative teaching. This course is a professional development opportunity designed to provide a basic introduction to US copyright law and to empower teachers and librarians at all grade levels. Course participants will discover that the law is designed to help educators and librarians.

Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.
Thanks to my colleague, Mary Jo Koranda, for the tip.

The Degradation of CDs and DVDs

There is an interesting post in The Atlantic on the degradation of CDs and DVDs.
“My once-treasured CD collection–so carefully assembled over the course of about a decade beginning in 1994–isn’t just aging; it’s dying,” laments the author. “And so is yours.”
According to preservation experts at the Library of Congress, “all of the modern formats weren’t really made to last a long period of time…. We’re trying to predict, in terms of collections, which of the types of CDs are the discs most at risk. The problem is, different manufacturers have different formulations so it’s quite complex in trying to figure out what exactly is happening.”
Testing has revealed that “even CDs made by the same company in the same year and wrapped in identical packaging might have totally different lifespans.”
According to the author, “recordable CDs–the kind you can burn or rewrite–tend to have more complicated degradation issues than their professionally-recorded counterparts…. And as far as different kinds of discs go, CDs tend to be more stable than DVDs, mostly just because DVDs hold more data, so there’s more to lose.”
Here are a few recommendations to slow the deterioration of your CDs and DVDs:

  • The best way to hold a CD is to pinch the hole in the middle
  • The top surface of the CD–the side that faces up when it’s playing–is more delicate than the bottom so avoid touching that surface
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. “If you want to really kill your discs, just leave them in your car over the summer. That’s a really great way to destroy them.”
  • It’s also better not to muck up the top of your CDs with labels–the adhesive creates chemical reactions that quickly eat up data–or even permanent markers.