Monday, March 9, 2015

The Legislative Reference Bureau Launches Digital Collections

Picture of the header for the LRB Digital Collections
Picture of header for the LRB Digital Collections

Guest Post contributed by Julie Pohlman, Legislative Research & Library Manager, Legislative Reference Bureau

The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) has launched Digital Collections, an online resource of legislative agency publications and materials unique to the Wisconsin Legislature and the LRB. The database uses the software CONTENTdm from OCLC, the same software platform utilized by the Wisconsin Digital Archives. Currently the Digital Collections has over 123,000 documents available for search and access in six collections. LRB librarians add metadata unique to the material such as biennium, law & legislation, biography, or specially created subjects.  Launched in December of 2014, we are continuing to add content and functionality.

News Clippings Collection

The LRB has been clipping newspaper and magazine articles about Wisconsin government and the legislature in particular since 1901. This database contains digitized copies of most of the clippings since 1980 as well as a selection of prior clippings on select subjects. There are currently over 122,000 clippings accessible and searchable by keyword, subject, and date range. The database is available for use in the LRB as well as on the legislative network.

This collection will contain the entire LRB publications catalog since 1901.  There are currently over 700 titles available and searchable by series, title, data, and subject, for example “Basic Data on the Office of the Coroner in Wisconsin (Dec. 1955)”. The collection is accessible to anyone with internet access.

Electronic versions of new agency publications are being added to their appropriate collection as we receive them. We hope to provide access to their entire catalog in the future. These collections are accessible to anyone with internet access.

Throughout the statutes, the legislature has directed state agencies to provide them with a report on the progress, status, or results of a specific program, office or initiative. In this collection, we seek to gather copies of those reports into a single collection for easy access by the legislature and citizens of Wisconsin.  Reports are currently being added as we receive copies of them, such as “Report to the Joint Committee on Finance on management and Staff Positions (2014)”. This collection is accessible to anyone with internet access and can be searched by a variety of means, including statute number.

Written by:
Julie Pohlman, Legislative Research & Library Manager at the Legislative Reference Bureau