Category Archives: Mobile Computing

ScienceDirect Mobile App Supports Interdisciplinary Research

In a recent discussion with Georgetown law graduates working in a D.C. law firm, many commented that they wish they had become more familiar with databases other than Westlaw and Lexis. A bulk of their research has turned out to be interdisciplinary in nature. ScienceDirect is one of those databases provided by the library, which supports interdisciplinary research in both the physical sciences and the social sciences.

Now, there is even a mobile app available for researchers using ScienceDirect. Once members of the Georgetown Law community connect to ScienceDirect,  look in the QuickLinks box for a link to the ScienceDirect Info Site.

ScienceDirect

 

On this site, there is a direct link to Go Mobile!

ScienceDirect1

You will then be able to select the appropriate mobile app for your device.

ScienceDirect2

 

Use ScienceDirect to access journal articles on psychology, decision making, business management, as well as pharmacology and environmental science.

Looking to read the U.S. Budget on your mobile device?

The complete version of President Obama's FY 2013 Budget of the United States Government is available on FDsys.gov.  New this year, is the mobile app featuring the budget message of the President, departmental funding highlights and summary tables.

A previous Due Process post describes how the federal budget process works. Feel free to consult a reference librarian if you have any additional questions.

 

Federal Rules available as Free eBooks

Thanks to CALI and the Legal Information Institute, you can now get free eBook versions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence. These rules books are released as part of CALI's eLangdell project, which is an innovative project seeking to change the way law school casebooks are published.  Texts are published in conjunction with Cornell's Legal Information Institute.

These books are available as ePub documents, which can be easily read on an iPad, iPhone, Nook, or any device that reads the ePub format.  See below for a view of all three texts on an iBooks shelf, as well as the table of contents view of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on an iPad.

Federal Rules as viewed on an iPad iBook shelf

Federal Rules Table of Contents

All three Federal Rules books include:

  • Complete rules as of December 1, 2010.
  • All notes of the Advisory Committee immediately following each rule.
  • Table of Contents for easy navigation.
  • Internal links cross-referenced rules.
  • External links to the LII website's version of the US Code.

While these books are free to download, they were not free to produce.  If you like them, consider making a donation to the Legal Information Institute to show your support.

New Oyez Project iPhone App

The Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology has developed a new iPhone app designed to, "appeal to all Supreme Court junkies." The OyezToday app allows iPhone users to access the content of the Oyez Project, an extensive collection of material from the Supreme Court of the United States. New opinions, as well as audio and transcripts from oral arguments, are available on OyezToday the same day they are released by the Court.

OyezToday is free and available in the iTunes App Store. Apps for the iPad and Android phones are forthcoming. For more information, see the press release from Chicago-Kent or the preview of OyezToday from Apple.

Mobile Apps for Legal Research

The Georgetown Law Librarians regularly evaluate mobile applications related to legal research activities. To date, only a few native mobile applications exist specifically to perform legal research. However, enough good apps exist to give us an insight into the types of applications and services we might expect in the coming years. Here, we present a few insights into mobile applications for legal research.

Narrowly-Focused Tasks Make an App Easy to Use

The hallmark of most native mobile apps is quick information access. Apps can best answer simple research questions or verify laws quickly. Also, if these needs are recurring, an app can be very helpful.

FastCase

Fastcase screen shotFastCase provides a legal research application that lets you search federal and state case law from their servers without charge. They provide an iPhone and iPad version of the application, and both are free after creating an account. FastCase makes their money by selling access to their databases through individual subscriptions as well as bulk deals with bar associations. The mobile app describes the FastCase website and its additional features, but there is no upgrade path from one to the other.

LexisNexis Get Cases and Shepardize

Lexis Get a Case AppThe name no longer does justice to this app that allows researchers to find and update all U.S. statutes and cases available through Lexis.

Statutes include all of the annotations found through the Lexis website. For example the USC code sections includes case annotations and citations to related administrative law.

A further advantage of this app is that it contains Lexis annotations to all federal and state cases. Covering all cases available in the Lexis database, the app provides relevant value-added Lexis features such as case briefs, headnotes, and summaries of the case written by legal experts.

With a found case or statute this app provides an overview of the item’s subsequent legal treatment through Shepard’s. A researcher may also use Shepard’s to discover newer cases which distinguish the known case based upon the facts of the case.

A Great App Might Not be An App at All

Westlaw

Westlaw mobileSo far, the ThomsonReuters strategy seems to be to develop Westlaw products so content is web-friendly instead of creating apps for specific devices. The main focus is on optimizing the WestlawNext platform, and the mobile applications page about WestlawNext touts flexible display for multiple mobile device types, including the iPhone. The result is app-like in features and usability, but it is accessed through a browser, such as Safari. The WestlawNext mobile site is fully-featured and simplifies finding Westlaw content. Because you must use your Westlaw password to access the site, it lets you access folders saved on WestlawNext, your favorites and any recent research activity.

There is one device-specific app for WestlawNext, created for the iPad, described on this page from ThomsonReuters.

Downloading Westlaw Document to a Kindle

Westlaw Next to KindleAs we noted back in December, WestlawNext allows users to download individual documents or groups of documents to a Kindle device. Before doing so, however, you need to add WestlawNext to your Kindle’s Approved E-mail List. Simply access the "Your Account" section of Amazon.com and select "Manage Your Kindle"; from the Digital Content options. From that page, add "westlawnext@westlawnext" (no quotes) to your "Approved E-Mail List." Also, be sure to note your "Kindle E-mail Address" located near the top of the page, as you will need to enter it on WestlawNext in order to download to your Kindle.

Note that there is no fee for documents received wirelessly on a Kindle. If received via 3G, however, a nominal fee will apply (15 cents per megabyte for users living in the U.S.).

Iinformation on transferring, downloading & sending files to a Kindle is available on the Amazon website.

Government Apps May Provide More than Legal Research

IRS2Go from the Internal Revenue Service

IRS app - IRS2GoAs we noted in a January blog post, the Internal Revenue Service announced that a new mobile app has been released and is now available for your iPhone, iTouch or Android. Known as IRS2Go, this official IRS app will provide daily tax tips and updates for tax planning and preparation purposes.

Additionally, you’ll be able to check your refund status for the 2010 Tax Year. As usual, the app is available by visiting the iTunes app store or the Android Marketplace.

For additional tax research needs, make use of the Library’s Federal Tax Research Guide which explains how and where to find tax documentation.

More than thirty device-specific apps are available from the federal government, found in the USA.Gov Apps Directory. For instance, on this site, you’ll find a White House iPhone app, an Android app for Product Recalls,