March 7, 2018 – Do you have a library card for a public library in Wisconsin? If so, get acquainted with Badgerlink.
Badgerlink is “Wisconsin’s online library.” It is funded by state and federal funds, and managed by Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction. It is mainly intended for schools and teachers, so it has a definite focus on learning and instruction. However, it has a good deal of material to offer to legal professionals as well.
Badgerlink is a very diverse collection of resources. Functionality, coverage, and scope vary widely across the different databases. The offerings and content may change, based on contracts and relationships among vendors, publishers, and the State of Wisconsin.
Diane Duffey is the Director of Research Services at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., Milwaukee. She frequently presents on topics related to internet research for legal professionals, and has written articles for The Verdict, Wisconsin Law Journal, and Wisconsin Lawyer. She is a member of the board and a past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin.
A few of the publications indexed in Badgerlink of interest to the legal world include – but are definitely not limited to – the American Bar Association Journal, the Wisconsin Law Journal, Milwaukee’s Daily Reporter, and many law reviews and accounts of laws.
Badgerlink’s databases cover news, health, and business. There are also encyclopedias, medication information, genealogical resources, science resources, and much, much more.
Badgerlink can be found at badgerlink.dpi.wi.gov and www.badgerlink.net. Select your library from the list of Wisconsin libraries and schools, and then enter your library card barcode for access to all of the resources.
Finding Content via EBSCO
EBSCO is the main provider of content in Badgerlink. The EBSCO service offers access to articles and reports of all kinds, including technical, medical, business, and news. EBSCO resources include:
Academic Search Premier – includes the ABA Journal and many law reviews and scholarly publications.
MasterFILE Premier has a large number of general interest publications such as Consumer Reports, Men’s Health, Time, and Newsweek.
The Military & Government Collection includes Congressional Digest and Congress Daily, Army Times, Navy Times, U.S. News and World Report, and several historical acts and cases.1
Business Source Premier is a source of articles from a number of business journals and trade publications. This database additionally offers company profiles on many public and private companies in what is called a Marketline Report, available as a PDF file. Marketline Reports provide the names and biographies of company principals, headquarters and subsidiary locations, products and brands, company history, and competitors. There are also various industry profiles; these are primarily available by country, and give limited market data and forecast information as well as key players in the industry.
EBSCO has some useful medical resources:
HealthSource is divided into two editions: the Consumer Edition is geared toward lay people interested in learning about health issues. The Nursing/Academic Edition features a wealth of peer reviewed fulltext medical articles, as well as bibliographic information to assist with tracking down helpful literature.
Consumer Health Complete has a user-friendly interface, and features resources on evidence-based reports, medical encyclopedias, drug information and even many medical images and illustrations.
Other EBSCO databases of interest include but are not limited to Educational Administration Abstracts, ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Newspaper Source Plus, and Regional Business News.
In each EBSCO resource, there is a “Publications” link that you can click on to check which journals, magazines, and newspapers are in the database.
Searching in EBSCO
The EBSCO service has a fairly robust search functionality with many similarities to Westlaw or Lexis.
Use the Advanced Search option to enter search terms into specific fields, such as article title, author, company, subject, and source (publication title).
Other search features include truncation, wild card, and proximity searching, using a variety of operators.
For example, a search of “arbitration n5 enforc*” will produce results where arbitration occurs within five words of the different forms of the word enforce: The search phrase uses the “near” operator (n), which can be used to search for a term within so many words of another other term, regardless of the order in which they appear. Using the asterisk enables a truncation search: in the search string above, the words enforce, enforced, enforcing, enforcement, and so on, will be retrieved. Results can be limited be date, language, full text documents only, and more.
Users are even able to track their search history. If a free registration is established directly with EBSCO, results may be organized into folders and retained for the future. Users can also create alerts, with updated search results sent via email.
Other Interesting Badgerlink Resources
On occasions when more historical research is called for, Access NewspaperARCHIVE can be useful. This resource features U.S. and international news stories dating back as far as the 1700s. Wisconsin newspapers are generally covered from 1813 to 2016. In addition to finding articles from past events, this source can help with trying to uncover legislative intent.
Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers, from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, covers 239 papers from 2005 to 90 days before the present. The articles are accessible as PDF images of the paper. Although PDF retrieval is slower than text, this comes in handy when you want to retrieve graphic images such as photographs, illustrations, charts, or even advertisements.
In the Auto Repair Reference Center, you can browse by vehicle make, model, and year to find recalls, technical bulletins, and basic vehicle information, such as engine size. Additionally, you can retrieve PDFs of specifications, diagnostic codes and other information.
The LearningExpress Library School Center has made available resources for assistance with developing computer skills, such as Microsoft Office applications, and job training and information. This service also offers review material for several job certifications, and study guides and sample examinations for the Law School Admission Test and other education entrance exams.
SuperSearch: Searching Across Several Resources in Badgerlink
With so many individual resources within Badgerlink, you can use SuperSearch to perform a basic search across almost all of the Badgerlink resources.
Certain resources are not included, such as Access Newspaper Archive. A link to SuperSearch can be found in the top bar of almost all pages in Badgerlink. Using “Advanced SuperSearch” helps you refine your SuperSearch even further.
A drawback to using the SuperSearch is that it does not remove duplicates among the databases. For example, a search on the exact phrase “Great Lakes Compact” can yield about 1,000 hits.
An alternative to the SuperSearch is to search EBSCO – All Resources, which can be found on the main Badgerlink resources page under the resources beginning with an “E.” Searching this way will eliminate the non-EBSCO resources from your search results. However, it restores EBSCO search functionality, so you can craft your search more precisely. Plus, duplicates in results are eliminated, and it still covers the lion’s share of Badgerlink resources.
For assistance using the resources, the Badgerlink staff have produced helpful tutorials called “Badger Bites.” You can subscribe to Badger Bulletins via email to keep updated on the changing resources. Badgerlink also is on Facebook and Twitter.
Enjoy exploring it!
1 The names of certain periodicals are provided as examples of what these services have to offer; however, due to continually changing contracts among the services, publishers, etc., not all publications listed may be available.