New 20th Edition of the Bluebook is Now Available

The other day I walked into my office after lunch and was excited to find that someone had placed a brand new 20th edition of the Bluebook guide to legal citation on my desk.  I realize that I may be revealing some major nerdiness admitting to that.

I’ve always had a love – hate relationship with the Bluebook.  It can be so darn cryptic sometimes that you just feel great when you figure out how exactly to cite some obscure legal document.  Or, more likely, you make a solid educated guess.  There is a certain logic to the madness that, as I tell students, does come easier with time.

To find out what’s new with the 20th edition, check out the guide complied by Pace Law Library.  Hat tip to Hofstra Law Library.


Interview question – If you were an ice cream cone, what flavor would you be?

Some colleagues and I were discussing some of the more interesting interview questions that we’ve heard along the “if you were a …, what … would you be?” vein.  Here’s one that came up:  If you were an ice cream cone, what flavor would you be?

The question immediately brought to mind one of my very favorite travel memories.  Shortly before I started at the UW Law School, my husband and I took a trip to Italy.  Each night we’d hear people in our tour group raving about the Italian ice cream – aka gelato.  Being from Wisconsin, however, we were skeptical – we knew good ice cream.  But, when in Rome (literally)…  So, a day or two later, we gave in and finally tried it.  Not to sound too much like my pre-teen daughter, but OMG!  We were hooked from then on.

Being in our twenties with not a lot of money, our tour was most definitely of the economical variety.  Yet, occasionally they would show us how the other half lives and take us somewhere special.  One of these places was in Venice – my favorite of all the cities that we visited.  There we were, a beautiful day at the Piazza San Marco sitting on the patio of one of the nicest restaurants there.  Out comes the waiter with some gelato – peach gelato – along with a glass of champagne.  We thought the gelato from the street vendors was amazing, but, boy, it had nothing on this.  Light, refreshing and intense – wow!  Fifteen years later and I still remember that gelato as one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

So, after that long story, I’d have to say that if I were an ice cream flavor, I’d want to be that peach gelato:  unexpected and refreshing – wiling to try new things and entertain new ideas; light and approachable; yet with enough intensity to get the job done.  Not sure exactly what that reveals about me, but there it is.

Oh, and if you’ve tried the gelato here in the States and can’t figure out what the big deal is…  Well, I’ll tell you that it just doesn’t compare – at least not the stuff I’ve tried.  Alas, it’s just a pale imitation.

Dane & Milwaukee County Law Libraries Renamed

Two Wisconsin county law libraries have been renamed. The Dane Legal Resource Center will now be known as the Dane County Law Library and the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center is now the Milwaukee County Law Library.

From WSLL @ Your Service:

These new names give our users a better understanding of the legal information services we offer. Both county law libraries work extensively with legal service providers. Complimentary to that one-on-one assistance, the library provides convenient access to legal information and space to work right in each Courthouse.

Search for Fair Use Cases using the US Copyright office’s new index

Copyright and it’s component Fair Use, are two of the stickiest and (at least for me!) most headache-inducing areas of law. There are so many shades of gray and changes that it can be difficult to follow whether the use of an image or video is allowed or not and under what circumstances something can be used.

Hopefully the US Copyright’s office new Fair Use Index will help make the issue a little bit clearer. Users can search cases that deal exclusively with Fair Use and quickly see how the decision has been rendered (if Fair Use was found or not). You can narrow your search by jurisdiction and, importantly, by format (text, audio, computer, etc).

You can check out the Fair Use Indexes searching capabilities here on their website and read the US Copyright Office’s press release here.

Remember that the use of the index does not constitute legal advice, but does give users a better idea of the recent developments in Fair Use. Thanks to the UW Law Library’s Government Documents librarian, Margaret Booth for alerting us to this new resource!

Track Citations to an Author’s Works in HeinOnline

Earlier this year, HeinOnline added a new author profile feature to their Law Journal Library that allows readers to view more information about authors and allows authors to showcase their work.  See WisBlawg post.

Hein has recently enhanced the service by adding a new e-mail alert option for authors.  In addition to setting up a notification for when new material by a certain author is added to HeinOnline, users can now be advised when that author’s existing works are cited by new articles.


This is a great tool for authors wishing to track the impact of their scholarship or for those wanting to follow the work of a favorite author.

Instructions for setting up the alert are available on the HeinOnline blog.

HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library is available to anyone at the UW Law Library, as well as at the State Law Library, the Dane County Legal Resource Center, the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Marquette Law School.  It is also available remotely to Wisconsin State Law Library cardholders who work at a firm or organization with fewer than 25 attorneys (for more information, see WSLL website).

Nimbus – Free, Versatile Screen Capture Tool

Sometimes I find it useful to take screenshots to capture various things for instructional or documentation purposes.  I’ve used several different tools over the years but came across one today that I really liked.  It’s called Nimbus Screen Capture and it’s a free Firefox add on.

Nimbus has a lot of nice editing tools, but the thing that I really like about it is that it can capture an entire webpage, not just the portion that you see on your screen (although it can also do that and much more).  Being able to capture more than just what appears on a single screen is something that I’ve struggled with in the past.

With Nimbus, you can copy the screen capture as an image to your clipboard, download it, send to Google, or upload it to Nimbus. The latter will give you a URL that you can then share with others.  See the quick guide for more detailed instructions.

For more on Nimbus and other screen capture tools, see

ABA Offers Free Membership for Law Students

The American Bar Association has announced that it will offer free membership to all students enrolled at ABA-approved law schools. The membership grants law students access to resources tailored to their interests and needs, opportunities to build their professional skills plus access to the ABA’s job listings, clerkships, internships and career events.

Law students can enroll online at or by calling the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221.

Hat tip to Ross-Blakley Law Library Blog

Free Ebook for Law Students on Law Practice Technology

David Whelan, the former director of the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center, has published a free e-book called Law Practice Technology: An Introduction for Law Students.  Hat tip to Law Sites by Robert Ambrogi.

From the preface:

This book is for law students. It is one person’s view of technology and law practice. It includes an introduction to some of the history and an overview of current state of technology. Mostly, the goal is to try to match up what happens in a law practice with the technology that can enable or interfere with those activities.

The books is available  online or downloadable in EPUB or MOBI (Kindle) and is licensed under a Creative Commons license .

Someone Keeps Photocopying Their Cat at the UW Library

Ok – this has nothing to do with law, but it was too good not to share.  Headline from TIME:  Someone Keeps Photocopying Their Cat at the University of Wisconsin Library.

From the post:

A staffer at the university’s Badger Herald newspaper stumbled upon the following photo while studying at the Steenbock Library Tuesday:


I had not heard about this until I saw the post in TIME.  How funny.  We’ll see if the cat-culprit makes his or her way to the Law Library.