Reintroduction of elk to Wisconsin

In 1989, the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) was directed by the state legislature to explore the feasibility of successfully reintroducing elk, moose and caribou. It was determined that an elk reintroduction could succeed in Wisconsin, while reintroductions of moose or caribou likely would not. The reintroduction of elk began in 1995 with 25 elk from Michigan to the Clam Lake area of southern Ashland County. The herd has grown since 1995 to about 200 animals in 2018.  After extensive monitoring that helped guide elk herd management decisions, it was determined by the DNR that there could be a limited harvest. The first elk hunting season will be introduced fall 2018.

If you’re interest in learning more about the reintroduction of elk and elk management in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin Digital Archives. There you will find state documents specifically about the elk herds in Wisconsin and updates about the herds’ growth

For more information about the elk season dates, how to obtain a harvest tag and regulations about the elk hunting season can be found on the DNR website.

Post written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning


Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions Now Online

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced on Twitter today that every Wisconsin Attorney General opionion is now available on the DOJ website (

When you need to know more than the news tells you

News coverage of topics lawmakers in Wisconsin are debating and proposing in the current legislative session only provides basic information.  If you’re like me, the news often leaves me wanting to know more background information about topics of proposed legislation. Where can you turn to get that information? The Wisconsin Digital Archives is your source for background information about legislative topics!

For instance, lawmakers in Wisconsin are considering an open-road tollway as a way to possibly fix the funding issue for the state’s roads. A quick search of the Wisconsin Digital Archives using the term ‘tolling’ returns 6 results for state documents about the policy and legal framework for tolling in Wisconsin. These state documents provide in depth information to better understand the feasibility of implementing open-road tollways in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Digital Archives provides in depth background information in the form of reports, studies, statistics, and economic, policy and legal analysis published by state agencies. These publications provide important background information about topics reported by news outlets so that you can be an informed resident of Wisconsin and can understand how legislation will impact your life.

When you need to know more than the news tells you, search the Wisconsin Digital Archives!

Post written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Researching Taxation in Wisconsin

It’s tax season and Wisconsin residents can stay informed and do research about taxation in Wisconsin by searching the Wisconsin Digital Archives.  As tax laws continue to change, access to information about how taxation impacts Wisconsin residents is important. The Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue does extensive reporting about how taxes in Wisconsin impact the economy. There are reports and statistics about topics such as sales tax, property tax, tax assessment, income tax, and the taxation of goods such as alcohol and beer, automobiles, and fuel just to name a few.

Click on this quick search link to access all publications in the Wisconsin Digital Archives published by the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue. To learn more about searching by publisher and format, access the Search Tips guides online.

Post written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Accessing Agricultural Impact Statements

As our state continues to grow and change, it’s important to have access to information that allows us to be informed residents of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Digital Archives provides access to agricultural impact statements from 2012 to current that provide information about how development projects around the state impact farmland.

According to the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection(DATCP), agricultural impact statements (AIS) are prepared for public projects that involve acquiring farmland through outright purchase or easements. AIS analyze the economic impact on individual farms, identify the acreage potentially lost or affected, and convey land owner concerns.

Project initiators include local governments, state agencies, and private companies building utilities. Public projects include roads, airports, electric transmission lines, pipelines, parks and wastewater treatment plants.

AIS are required when the project initiators have condemnation authority and the project will take more than 5 acres from any one farm, regardless of land ownership. An AIS may be prepared when a project would significantly affect a farm, even if it take five acres or less from any one farm, or the project is located within the boundaries of a city of village, but would still significantly affect a farm.

As AIS become available, they will be added to the Wisconsin Digital Archives. Search by format using the term ‘Agricultural Impact Statements’ to see all AIS available in the collection. For more information on searching the Wisconsin Digital Archives use the Search Tips Guides online.

Post written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Finding Wisconsin Health Statistics

Are you doing research on health related topics and looking for authoritative statistics about Wisconsin? The Wisconsin Digital Archives is your source for statistics related to the health of Wisconsin residents! State agencies collect data and produce reports on a wide variety of health related topics including child and elder abuse, alcoholism and drug use, death and infant mortality, oral health, lead poisoning, Lyme disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, population growth and life expectancy, mental health, environmental health, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, breastfeeding, obesity, chronic disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Wisconsin Digital Archives provides convenient access to health statistics with a quick link on the homepage. If you want to do a more advanced search in the Wisconsin Digital Archives, there is a guide available to help users search for ‘Statistics’ as a format and then narrow the results down by state agency, topic and date.

If you cannot find the statistics you’re looking for, feel free to email for assistance.

Post written by: Abby  Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Searching for Biennial Reports in the Wisconsin Digital Archives

2015-17 biennial reports are due in October 2017, and as they become available, these reports will be added for long-term access through the Wisconsin Digital Archives. State agencies are required under s. 15.04(1)(d) to submit to the governor and the chief clerk of each house of the legislature a biennial report on or before October 15 of each odd-numbered year. Biennial reports provide information on the performance and operations of the department or independent agency for the preceding biennium and projects goals and objectives for the upcoming biennium.

Easy access to biennial reports is available through the Wisconsin Digital Archives going back to 2001/2003 biennium. Biennial reports can be used as a way to narrow results by format. Use this Searching by Format training guide to search for ‘biennial reports’ and other format types. A complete list of format types is included in the training guide.

Post written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Direct Link to the Wisconsin Digital Archives


Make it easier for your users to get to the Wisconsin Digital Archives by placing a direct link to the collection on your library’s webpage. If you already have a link to the Wisconsin Digital Archives from your webpage, please update the link to . The old URL will automatically redirect to the new site, however the site was recently redesigned to a responsive site that is more accessible and allows for better functionality on mobile devices and tablets.

If you would like to hyperlink to the Wisconsin Digital Archives using a logo, both small and large logos are available online. The code allows libraries to embed the logo into their websites.

Looking for bookmarks or promotional materials to highlight the Wisconsin Digital Archives? Outreach materials are available for libraries to download online.

Contact if you have any questions.

Written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning

New Interface for Wisconsin Digital Archives

The Wisconsin Digital Archives has a newly redesigned end-user interface! The new interface includes responsive features that allow for the collection to adapt to any screen size making the Wisconsin Digital Archives easy to use on mobile devices. The new interface also includes features to enhance the usability, performance and accessibility of the Wisconsin Digital Archives in compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.  Features include text alternatives for non-text content and configurations that allow for assistive technology to better navigate the collection.

The Wisconsin Digital Archives contains more than 15,000 state government documents published starting in 2001-current from the executive and judicial branches and various boards, councils, task forces and commissions. As part of the statutorily mandated Wisconsin Document Depository Program, this collection is in active development, with new content added each month.

The Wisconsin Digital Archives has Quick Links on the homepage to most frequently used state documents including a variety of statistics, master plans from the Dept. of Natural Resources, and resources designed for teachers to use in the classroom. Looking for something more specific? We have you covered with all new search guides.  These guides are designed to make you an expert searcher in no time! Need help finding something? We’re here to help! Email .

Post written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

Podcast episode on race, ethnicity and the U.S. Census

I learned (or was reminded) that I am a Census geek when I got excited that one of my favorite podcasts,  Code Switch, recently did an episode on the Census called “Here’s Why The Census Started Counting Latinos, And How That Could Change In 2020.”  CodeSwitch is a blog and podcast from National Public Radio.  Here’s a good description of CodeSwitch, from their About the Code Switch Team page:  “We’re a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.”

The August 3, 2017, podcast on the Census not only covers the history of how the Census has (or has not) counted Latinos over the decades.  It also features an interview with John Thompson, former director of the Census (the Code Switch blog features a longer version of the interview here) and a discussion of the possibilities and implications of adding “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) as a category for race and ethnicity.

I learned a lot from Kat Chow’s story “For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated,” which appeared on Code Switch’s blog on March 11, 2017.  I’ve wondered in the past how people of Middle Eastern or North African descent have identified themselves in the Census…this story describes how some people of MENA descent have grappled with that issue.

I also learned about the (well-founded) fears of people of color regarding how Census data might be used.   Chow points out “…the U.S. government used census data to locate and deliver more than 100,000 Japanese Americans to incarceration camps,” not by using individual Census data, but by identifying areas where lots of Japanese Americans lived in 1940.

Code Switch has also published stories on whether the Census Bureau will collect LGBT data.  

Shereen Marisol Meraji, one of the hosts of theCode Switch podcast, and host of the August 3 episode, promises more coverage of the upcoming 2020 Census.  I look forward to it–Code Switch provides valuable perspective and context.  Plus, I like knowing there are other Census geeks out there!

–Beth Harper, Government information and reference librarian, Memorial Library, UW-Madison