Lavinia, Play about First Female Lawyer in Wisconsin, Debuts this Month

This  month, the Bartell Theatre is featuring a  new play about the first female lawyer in Wisconsin.  “Lavinia” debuts March 19-21 in Madison before moving on to Janesville, Wausau, and Superior.

From the State Bar of Wisconsin announcement:

In 1879, Lavinia Goodell made history by becoming the first female lawyer admitted to the bar in Wisconsin. To celebrate her accomplishments and the impact on the legal profession and gender equality movement, four cities will host the production or reading of Lavinia, written by Madison playwright Betty Diamond.

The play explores the challenges Goodell faced including a Wisconsin Supreme Court convinced that women belonged in their traditional roles. It also honors the support she received from the Rock County bar, which had admitted her in 1874, and John Cassoday who introduced the legislation that prohibited gender-based discrimination in bar admissions.

Madison performances include a talk-back after the show with UW Law School Professor Linda Greene.

Article: Why digital natives prefer reading in print

There is a very interesting article in the Washington Post on Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right.

According to the article:

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally.

What’s behind this preference?  According to the author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, readers tend to skim on screens so distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers.

I thought this article was quite interesting and very much concur with the findings.  As a law student, I much preferred print texts to electronic texts.  It encourages the reader to slow down and think more critically and makes it easy to add notes and highlights for later review.

When I’m doing research, I tend to prefer the electronic for quickly locating small bits of information.  However, if I find a book or journal that I want to read more critically or in its entirety, I’d rather have it in print.

I wasn’t sure if my preference was due to my own experience as a print native or if it was something more universal.  I’m glad to know that it was the latter.

I’m also pleased that these findings support our collection policy at the UW Law Library.  While we’ve moved electronically with many reference titles and other materials in which one may one want quick access to a section or two, we still purchase a lot of monographs in print.  Journals remain somewhat of a hybrid – many of our subscriptions are electronic, but patrons can easily print out articles if they prefer.

The ABA launches the collateral consequences of criminal conviction database

A great new addition the world of legal research is the recently launched Collateral Consequences database from the ABA. With it, legal researchers can search across all 50 states and federal jurisdictions to discover and analyze how collateral consequences impact individuals with criminal convictions. These consequences can be hard to nail down and were certainly not available all in one place, so this database is welcome to fill that gap.


Check out the free database at: and read more about the development of the database here.

Track Federal Legislation with

Recently, launched several email alert services that allow you to track federal legislative information.

First, the legislation alert allows you to track action on a particular bill.  When viewing a bill in, click on the “Get alerts” link under the title to set up your alert.

Next, you can get an alert when a specific Member of Congress (from the current Congress) has either sponsored or cosponsored legislation.  To set up this alert, go to the member’s page and select “Get alerts” from the menu at the far right.


Finally, you can also receive an alert when a new issue of the Congressional Record is available on  To set this up, click on “Get alerts” at the far right on the CR page.


For more information on setting up these alerts, see In Custodia Legis from the Law Librarians of Congress.

ACI Scholarly Blog Index

Scholarly blogs can be a very good source for legal and other research but identifying them from among the multitude of web content can be difficult.  A new search engine called the ACI Scholarly Blog Index now makes that task a little easier.

The site indexes scholarly and authoritative blogs from experts in all fields of science, social sciences, and the humanities, including law.   WisBlawg is among those indexed.  From the FAQ:

All blogs are individually curated by researchers with expertise in that blog’s topic or field of study.  Care is taken in determining subject coverage, Library of Congress Classifications for accuracy, and enforcing editorial and product policies and guidelines to ensure high standards in data quality and blog content.

Some advanced search and filtering tools are available to help you refine your search also as explained in the FAQ.

While keyword searches to explore blog content are probably the most common type of search, web researchers can also find blogs using the blog title, blog author, and other variables. Search results can then be further refined with the facets located on the left; for example, to filter results by Library of Congress Classification, publication, author degree, and many others.

For more on the advanced search features, check out this tutorial.

HeinOnline’s top 250 authors (according to ScholarRank)

Coming on the heels of Hein’s new Author Profile pages that Bonnie detailed last week comes Hein’s ScholarRank. This interesting tool gives users a glimpse at which Hein authors are not only cited the most by other articles and cases, but also have the most views of their own articles. Basically, ScholarRank is trying to determine the 250 most influential legal scholars by analyzing and crunching these important numbers.

UW’s faculty is represented at number 90 by Professor Emeritus Marc Galanter, who has written numerous influential articles throughout his career.  The list is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of legal scholars, including such well-known names as Scalia, Renquist, Bader-Ginsburg, Brandeis and many others. University of Chicago Senior Lecturer Richard Posner is number 1.

You can review the list (and review each author’s enhanced profile page) by visiting the Hein ScholarRank page.

As Bonnie mentioned last week, 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).

Author Profile Pages Now Available In HeinOnline

HeinOnline has added a new author profile feature in their Law Journal Library that allows readers to to view more information about authors and allows authors to showcase their work.

To access the profile page for a particular author, open the Law Journal Library and search for an author.  From the search results, click the author’s name to view their profile which contains information about the author, a list of their articles available on HeinOnline, and data on how many times their articles have been cited and accessed in the last year.

Authors may further enhance their profiles by adding a photo, biography, university/affiliation, and links to profile and social media accounts.  Simply click the “submit author profile” link at the top of your author profile and complete the form.

Below is an example of my enhanced author profile:

author profile

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).


Info on the New Session of the Wisconsin Legislature

Eileen Snyder of the Wisconsin Historical Society has put together a useful post on the new session of the Wisconsin Legislature.

It includes information such as a list of state officers, salaries of state elected officials, a guide to the legislative process, and budget and informational papers.  It also includes a link to the 2015-16 Wisconsin Legislator Briefing Book which provides background on policy areas, the budget process, legislative service agencies, and other information on Wisconsin government.

UW Law Library Website and WisBlawg Redesign

Within the next week, the UW Law Library will be introducing a new website redesign. The new site features a slimmed-down look and a more user friendly design – we hope! Here’s a sneak preview.


In conjunction with the new library website, WisBlawg will also be getting a facelift along with a new URL. The new URL will be although using the older one, will redirect you to the new one. Email and RSS subscriptions should migrate automatically. If you experience any problems, please contact me at

We hope that you enjoy the new design of both our website and blog. Comments are welcome.

Mobile Legal Dictionaries

Looking for a legal dictionary for your mobile device? Law Technology News has a good review of apps for both the legal professional and the non-lawyer. Apps are available in both iOS and Android and range from free to $55.
Here’s a sneak preview of the review

First, some words of advice on downloading law dictionary apps: don’t get snookered. Many law apps come from developers with no expertise in law or legalese, just a clever idea for exploiting free online archives of public domain law dictionaries…
Judge a dictionary app by its publisher. Some app developers appear better suited for cool action games, fashion runways and wildlife refuges… Stick with dictionary apps from reputable legal information publishers with names we know and trust like Barron, Black, Merriam-Webster and Wolters Kluwer.

Hat tip to Virtual Library Cat’s Eye View.