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January 29, 2001
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LOIS Professional Library - Wisconsin, 7th Circuit, & Supreme Court

Looking for primary legal materials affecting Wisconsin? The LOIS Professional Library contains Wisconsin case law, regulations, legislation, and other primary legal materials, as well as case law from the Seventh Circuit and U.S. Supreme Courts.

LOIS is a licensed electronic resource available through UW Law School and Law Library connections. Although it is freely available to all library patrons, users must be physically located within the Law School or Library to use LOIS.

LOIS vs Westlaw and Lexis

Why should you use LOIS? Like many of the library's other databases, an important reason to use LOIS is cost effectiveness. Remember that while Lexis and Westlaw may be "free" while you are in law school, the cost of searching these databases is quite high for practicing attorneys (and summer clerks!). Resources such as LOIS, while paid for by the library, are freely available to patrons who wish to use them at the library.

LOIS vs Free Internet Sites

If cost were the only factor involved, why not get these primary documents on the Internet? The answer lies in coverage, searching capabilities, and authority.

While you may find some primary legal documents on the Internet, there are notable limitations. Unlike subscription based databases such as LOIS, Internet sites usually contain only very recent materials. In addition, the searching capabilities of Internet sites are often limited to keyword searching or date browsing. LOIS, on the other hand, offers a number of more advanced search features.

Finally, as with any Internet site, you must always evaluate the quality of the information presented. When a web site provides information at no cost, you should always ask why. While many sites provide quality information to forward scholarly research or by government mandate, others may be presenting biased, inaccurate information.

The LOIS Libraries

There are three libraries which use the LOIS Professional Library search interface: Wisconsin Series, U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court Reports. All three libraries are updated weekly.

To open a LOIS Library, go to Scroll to LOIS Professional Library and choose a library.

  • Wisconsin Series - Contains the full text of the 1997-98 Statutes, 1997 and 1999 Acts, the current Administrative Code, and court decisions from the Supreme Court since 1939 and Court of Appeals since its inception in 1978. Also included are Attorney General Opinions since 1971, current Civil, Criminal, and Children's Jury Instructions, and current local court rules.
  • U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals - Contains U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Reports since 1971.
  • U.S. Supreme Court - Contains U.S. Supreme Court Reports since 1899 and current Supreme Court Rules.

For more information on using the LOIS Libraries, see the LOIS Professional Library Quick Guide at

Watch next week's newsletter for a discussion of LOIS's password protected product for law students: (See Law Library News and Views dated 2/5/01.)

Written by: Bonnie Shucha
Reference & Electronic Services Librarian

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