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 (https://www.doj.state.wi.us/dls/ag-opinion-archive).

Web archiving – a follow up

In Beth’s last post, she brought up some great questions about preserving government information on the web. I’m happy to say that the Wisconsin Historical Society has made some progress in addressing these questions. Archivists and Librarians at WHS started working together to capture and preserve state agency web sites in 2010, and since then, we have expanded our collections to include Wisconsin county government web sites and some municipal government web sites. We have also created collections related to topics like mining in Wisconsin and organic agriculture, and we have a large collection of online newsletters. You can find links to all of these collections here: Wisconsin Historical Society Web Archives

The tool we use to collect web sites is called Archive-It, a subscription web archiving service from the Internet Archive. The primary difference between the web sites that we capture and the web sites captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is that our captures are curated, so that we know we are getting everything we need from the sites we crawl. The captures can also be set to happen on a regular schedule. All major Wisconsin state agency web sites are captured at least annually, or more frequently depending on how much information the agencies post on their web sites and how often the sites are updated.

I hope you’ll take some time to explore our web archives, and please contact me if you want more information about our web archiving efforts: Eileen dot Snyder at Wisconsinhistory dot org.

-Eileen Snyder, Wisconsin Government Publications Librarian, Wisconsin Historical Society

Hunting in Wisconsin

With the first weeks of school behind us, many in Wisconsin are looking forward to the fall hunting season. Hunting is part of the fabric of Wisconsin culture, going back generations. Since 2003, the right to hunt has even been enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution (Article I, Section 26).

For a timeline on hunting in Wisconsin, see “A chronology of Wisconsin deer hunting from closed seasons to record harvests” on the Wisconsin DNR web page. The DNR has a great deal of information about hunting, from regulations to hunter safety training, to statistics on harvests of various animals.

Deertagmuseum.com provides a unique perspective on the history of hunting in Wisconsin. While this web site wouldn’t pass muster as an authoritative source (there is almost no information about the person running the site), the images of old deer and other hunting tags and the anecdotes that go with some of them are interesting and fun to look at. I never knew that deer tags were collectible!

On top of all that, the Wisconsin Historical Society Press has published a number of books and articles about hunting, most recently Hunting Camp 52: Tales from a Northwoods Deer Camp. You can find them for purchase on the WHS web site, or in your local library!

Women’s World Cup Champions!!

2015 U.S. Women's team receiving the World Cup

The 2015 Women’s World Cup Champions!

Perhaps this is just an excuse to cheer for the U.S. Women’s soccer team who brought home their third World Cup victory on July 5, 2015. (WOOOOOOOO!) But when I got to thinking about it, there are actually some government document connections with international soccer, as well as with soccer (and sports generally) in the U.S.

Let’s start with Title IX, signed into law by President Nixon on June 23, 1972. Without Title IX, there may not have ever been a national women’s soccer team, or at any rate, it may not have been the powerhouse team it has become. Title IX “prohibits discrimination based on sex in any federally funded education program or activity.”

Of course, Title IX affected much more than just girls and women’s sports. For more information about Title IX, see the following government web pages:

The Woman’s Sports Foundation is a non-government web page that uses government resources in part to build a legislative chronology for Title IX.

On the less happy side of things, International Soccer’s governing body, FIFA, has been under investigation in numerous countries, including the U.S. You can find information on the U.S. investigation from the DOJ website.

Did I miss anything? If you can think of any other websites, either government sites, or non-government sites using government information that talk about Title IX, FIFA, or women’s sports generally, post them in the comments. And in the meantime, enjoy the ticker tape parade for the U.S. Women’s soccer team in New York City at 11:00 am eastern time today (10:00 am central –  so very shortly).

Government Information Day 2015 Round Up, Part II

Below is a summary by Keely Merchant, Wisconsin Government Documents Librarian at the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, of her presentation on the new Legislative Reference Bureau Digital Collections:

In early 2015, The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau Library launched a digital repository for legislative publications and reports. We have created collections for each of the Wisconsin legislative agencies as well as a collection for press releases and one for legislatively mandated reports. You are likely familiar with the publications from legislative agencies that are in their respective collections, so I would like to draw your attention to the latter two collections.

The Press Releases and Public Relations collection is for capturing legislative press releases before they disappear off the internet. We are currently adding the press releases that are already in our print collection, of which we have the years 1999-2003. We are also going through our News Clippings collection (available on the legislative network only) to find press releases and move them to the new collection. Going forward we would like to capture press releases from legislators’ websites as they come out. This collection has been getting a lot of interest from patrons researching political history.

The Legislatively Mandated Reports collection contains reports mandated by the Wisconsin Statutes and are submitted to the legislature by state agencies. We are especially excited about this collection because many of these reports have not been readily available outside of our library before. We are adding metadata to each record for the Wisconsin Statute and the law that created the statute, as well as which legislative biennium the report covers. For example, this issue of the Concealed carry annual report is for 2013, so 2013-2014 is in the “Biennium” field. You will also see that the statute and the act that created the statute are entered into the “Law & Legislation” field. Another metadata field to note is “URL”, clicking on the link there will open another window or tab that lists all the issues of this report.

The browse all mandated reports page allows for sorting by agency, biennium, law & legislation, subject, and date. Some statutes require more than one agency to submit reports so when you expand the “Law & Legislation” facet you will see that it is organized by quantity (and that there are always two that have the same number because they are in the same records). If you select “1991 Wisconsin Act 273” or “Wis. Stats. s. 1.11(2)(j)” you will get a list of reports submitted under that law/statute. If you then expand the “Agency” facet you will see that we have reports under that statute from five agencies. [screencast]

Many of the newer items in our digital collections will be on the Wisconsin Document Depository Program Digital Shipping List, all items have OCLC records that can be added to your library’s catalog. If your library has a page for government information, please add a link to the entire digital collections and/or to individual collections themselves:

Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau Digital Collections

Legislatively Mandated Reports

Press Releases and Public Relations

Please contact the LRB library if you have any questions about the digital collections!


Government Information Day 2015 Round Up, Part I

Government Information Day was held on Friday, May 29, 2015, in Madison. The conference was well-attended, with approximately 30 participants. For the afternoon program, we asked fellow GIRT members to submit ideas for short (20 min.) talks, sharing interesting resources or practices that they use in their daily work, that they think others might find useful. This “best practices exchange” format allowed for discussion between the audience and the presenters, and we hope it helped broaden everyone’s knowledge of what’s happening around the state, as well as presenting useful ideas. Presentation summaries and/or links to PowerPoint slides for the afternoon sessions can be found below.

Wisconsin Document Depository Program (WDDP) Update, Abby Swanton, WDDP Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: PowerPoint slides

County Legal Resources Database, Carol Hassler, Web Services Librarian at the Wisconsin State Law Library: PDF of PowerPoint slides, handout.

Knowledge sharing at the reference desk with wikis, Lisa Winkler, Outreach Services Librarian at the Wisconsin State Law Library: PDF of PowerPoint slides.

County and municipal Archive-It collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Eileen Snyder, Wisconsin Government Publications Librarian, Wisconsin Historical Society: PowerPoint slides.

Part II of the Government Information Day summary will include a description of the program given by Keely Merchant of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau.


Agenda for Government Information Day

We have finalized the agenda for Government Information Day 2015. We hope you’ll all join us for a terrific day of learning and discussion! Date: May 29, 2015. Location: Room 126 Memorial Library, UW-Madison Campus, Madison, WI. Click here to register.


9:00-9:30 am Registration
9:30-9:35 am Welcome and introduction (Eileen Snyder).
9:35-9:50 am WDDP Update (Abby Swanton)
9:50-10:00 am FDLP Update (Connie Behrens-Huffstetter)
10:00-10:50 am Time for Change? UW-Madison Re-evaluation of Regional Federal Depository Status Discussion (Doug Way)
10:50-11:00 am Break
11:00 am-12:00 pm Business meeting with GIRT board, including a discussion of the future of GIRT
12:00-1:30 pm Lunch on your own
1:30-1:50 pm LRB Digital Collections (Keely Merchant)
1:50-2:10 pm Knowledge sharing at the reference desk with wikis (Lisa Winkler)
2:10-2:35 pm Wisconsin Marine Historical Society and Government Documents (Connie Behrens-Huffstetter)
2:35-2:45 pm Break
2:45-3:10 pm County/municipal Archive-It collections at WHS (Eileen Snyder)
3:10-3:30 pm County Legal Resources database (Carol Hassler)
3:30-3:50 pm Guide to International Government Organizations and Guide to non-governmental groups using government info (Beth Harper)

Registration for Government Information Day 2015 is now open!

Registration for Government Information Day 2015 is now open! Use the link below to sign up online, or to print a registration form to send in. Remember, we’re also looking for people who want to give a brief (20 min. or so) presentation about their own work. If you would like to participate in that way, please email Eileen by May 1 with your topic. If you don’t want to present, we hope you’ll come and participate in the discussion!

Registration link: http://wla.wisconsinlibraries.org/girt/government-information-day

For more information, see my previous post.

Government Information Day 2015

Government Information Day 2015 will take place on May 29, in room 126, Memorial Library on the UW-Madison Campus, and we want to hear from you! For the program this year, we are trying something a little different. We would like to do a “Best Practices Exchange” in which we invite conference attendees to share what they are doing in their libraries. Some suggested topics:

  • Has your library created any libguides or databases on local government, or any other government information topic?
  • Has your library done any digitizing of government information (local or otherwise)?
  • What practices, reference or technical services, do you use in your library to help make your job more efficient?
  • Do you have any news to share with the group regarding government information in your library?
  • Other topic that you would like to share.

We are interested in whatever you want to share – it doesn’t have to be related to technology. We hope that the presentations will foster discussion, and that people will go home with some new ideas to try in their home libraries, as well as a better understanding of what’s going on in other libraries around the state. To submit a presentation idea, simply email Eileen.snyder@wisconsinhistory.org.

In addition to these presentations, we will have the usual State and Federal Depository updates, an update on the regional depository status reevaluation at UW-Madison, a discussion of future directions for GIRT, and, of course, snacks!

We hope to see you there!

The 2015/2017 Wisconsin Legislature

January 5, 2015, marked the beginning of a new session of the Wisconsin Legislature. Each session of the legislature lasts 2 years, from January-January of each odd-numbered year (for example, the 2013/2015 session lasted from January 7, 2013, to January 4, 2015).

At the beginning of each session, the legislature passes a joint resolution laying out the schedule for the new session. 2015 Senate Joint Resolution 1 was adopted on January 5, 2015, and is available from the Wisconsin Legislature’s Legislative Document site.

The service agencies of the Wisconsin Legislature publish a multitude of documents each new legislative session, covering topics from membership of the new legislature to how the budget process works. Below are links to some of those publications specifically dealing with the new session and the budget process.

Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB)

Wisconsin State Officers, November 2014 (Wisconsin Brief 14-15): “This brief lists constitutional officers, members of the U.S. Congress, supreme court justices, and members of the Wisconsin Legislature, as of January 5, 2015. An alphabetical listing of all state officers is included.”

Salaries of State Elected Officials, Effective January 2015, November 2014 (Wisconsin Brief 14-14)

The Legislative Process in Wisconsin, December 2014 (Research Bulletin 14-2): Provides an in-depth look at the legislative process in Wisconsin.

The Legislative Spotlight is updated weekly and provides an overview of the legislature’s activities. An archive of posts is available back to 1997.

The LRB also maintains a presence on Facebook (you may need to login to read all the posts) and Twitter, or you can check their website for more publications.

Legislative Council

2015-16 Wisconsin Legislator Briefing Book: Provides background on policy areas, the budget process, legislative service agencies, and other information on Wisconsin government.

A Citizen’s Guide to the Wisconsin Legislature: Provides information to Wisconsin citizens about how to participate in government, including how to contact your legislator and how to testify at a hearing.

These are only a small sample of the publications put out by the Legislative Council. In addition, the council publishes informational memorandums on topics before the legislature, as well as reports from study committees and other special publications. See the Legislative Council website for more publications.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB)

Budget Papers: Throughout the budget process, the LFB publishes papers with information ranging from the fiscal impact of specific provisions of the budget to comparisons of various versions of the budget bill. Check back frequently for new publications.

Informational Papers: In January of each odd-numbered year, the LFB publishes a set of about 100 informational papers on a range of topics having to do with state finance. Past titles include The State Budget Process and the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Program. Many of the papers are updates from previous sessions, allowing a comparison of programs over time. The 2015 Informational Papers should be available within the next few weeks.

Check the LFB’s website for other publications and memos.

Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB)

While the audit bureau does not publish information dealing specifically with the new legislative session or the budget, they do publish audit reports on various programs and agencies, as required by statute or requested by the legislature. Their audits are available in full text on their website back to 1998, with summaries available online for 1997 reports.