May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The State of Wisconsin is working to promote awareness of the importance of mental health through programs designed to provide information and support to those in need.

The Dept. of Health Services has resources available online to assist Wisconsin residents understand the importance of mental health, how to talk about mental health, and where to seek help.

In 2019, the Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention began to convene to study and work to address the impact of suicide in Wisconsin. According to the webpage, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Wisconsin. This bipartisan task force will travel around the state to hear from survivors, experts, advocates and families who have been impacted in order to better support those struggling and to improve resources for suicide prevention. Policy recommendations are expected to be released fall 2019.

For reports and information about the programs state agencies are implementing to support mental health, visit the Wisconsin Digital Archives. Here are just a few reports available:

For more information about mental health and access to immediate help go to


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

Resources to Help People with Dementia, Their Families, and Their Communities

According to the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services (DHS), Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are already straining Wisconsin’s long-term care system, and the number of people affected is expected to increase dramatically as the baby boom generation ages. DHS estimates that in 2015 there were 115,000 Wisconsin residents with dementia. By 2040, the percentage of individuals with dementia in Wisconsin is expected to increase to 242,000.

In 2014, DHS created the Wisconsin Dementia Care System Redesign Plan. The plan made improving care for people with dementia and their families one of DHS’ top priorities. The Wisconsin Digital Archives provides access to the redesign plan and other documents and resources to support the implementation of the plan.

In 2018, DHS and partner organizations will be working on a new state plan to help people with dementia, their families, and their communities. Stay on top of the development of the new plan by visiting the DHS website. As new documents are published they will also be made available through the Wisconsin Digital Archives.

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 (

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

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. 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!

Flags at half-staff

There have been too many occasions recently that the U.S. has been flying its flags at half-staff.  According to’s page on the American flag, the U.S. flag flies at half-staff when the nation is in mourning. These periods of mourning occur by Presidential proclamation.

The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs has a page on Flag-Lowering Orders in Wisconsin. Not only does it give the current flag status and explain under what situations the flag is lowered, it also lists US and state flag lowering proclamations going back to 2009.

What an actuary has to do with baby names

Have you ever used, or pointed users to, the Baby Name section of the Social Security web site?  Do you know the section’s history?  I learned about it this weekend from the What’s in a Name episode of the radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge.  The segment “What Not to Name Your Baby” features an interview with Michael Shackleford, an actuary working at the SSA’s Office of the Chief Actuary, talking about what motivated him to write the program tabulating which were most popular at a given time.  Shackleford’s efforts were first publicly documented in the government publication  Actuarial Note #139, Name Distributions in the Social Security Area, August 1997.  This publication was distributed to Federal Depository Libraries under item number 0516-F (online), with the SuDoc number SSA 1.25:139 .

On the current Baby Name site, you can look up

Not sure what an actuary does?  According to the entry in the Department of Labor’s 2016-2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook,

“Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk that an event will occur, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk.”

You may want to investigate this profession further, because, according to the OOH, “Employment of actuaries is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

(Both quotations from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Actuaries,
on the Internet at (visited June 21, 2016).)
Beth Harper, Government information/reference librarian, Memorial Library, UW-Madison

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

We’ve still got a few more days of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.  Why was May chosen for this commemorative month?  According to, 

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

From About Asian/Pacific Heritage Month, , accessed May 24, 2016.

The Asian/Pacific Heritage Month site , sponsored by a number of federal cultural agencies and hosted by the Library of Congress, has links to images, audio and video, exhibits and collections, and resources for teachers.  The About section links to a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

One of the partner agencies in the Asian/Pacific Heritage Month site is the National Park Service, which has its own Asian-Pacific American Heritage site.   One of the (physical) sites related to Asian-Americans the NPS maintains is the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II, which is in Washington DC.  You can learn more about this memorial at the (non-governmental, non-profit) National Japanese American Memorial Foundation.

The Census Bureau has put together a fact sheet on Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2016, with demographic and business statistics.

One of the lesser-known Smithsonian museums, the National Postal Museum, has a page, Asian and Pacific Americans in the Postal Service and Philately, which links to exhibits on this topic.

What government resources would you recommend for this commemoration?

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