Have you ever come across a great journal article or database for your research, but were denied access? And then you had to practically start your research all over to try to find that article or database through the University Library web site? … Passkey can relieve your frustrations!
Passkey will make you a more efficient researcher, both on and off campus. It allows you to connect to databases and journals licensed to Cornell University without having to go through the University Library web site. Install Passkey and gain access simply by signing in with your NetID!

How do you get Passkey on your computer? From the Cornell University Library homepage, under ‘Library Services,’ select ‘Cool Tools’. Follow the installation instructions from there.

HeinOnline has become indispensable for law review articles, as well as pdfs of the US Code, CFR, Federal Register, U.S. Reports, English Reports, and much more. They have recently announced a free app for your iPhone or iPad. Click here for more details, including how the app works with our IP authentication access. Features of the app include the citation navigator, browsing by volume, and the electronic table of contents.

You may have noticed that QR Codes are popping up everywhere, and the law library is no exception. QR stands for Quick Response. Originally created by Denso-Wave, these two-dimensional codes can be scanned by a camera phone to link directly to online information. The phone must be equipped with a QR Code reader; various readers are available for different phones and may be downloaded for free (a few phones come with a reader pre-installed). Here is an example of what a QR Code looks like. This one links directly to our list of online resources:

Here in the law library, QR Codes are useful to students and faculty who want to make a quick transition from a print item located on the shelf to an electronic version of the same material. They are especially helpful in circumstances where the most current material is needed. Accordingly, you will start to see more of these codes posted throughout the library as we move into the fall semester.

Law in a Flash logoAs students begin preparing for exams, many reach for commercial study aids for assistance. A popular option is the Law in a Flash series.  These flashcards have been around for years and remain readily available for purchase from Amazon to Walmart, but did you know there’s an App for that?  For a little less than the cost of a traditional box of print cards, and without the cost of shipping, students can carry fewer items as they move between home, classroom, and your third place.  An overview of the various features of the App is available here.

Topics currently offered:

  • Civil Procedure Part One
  • Civil Procedure Part Two
  • Constitutional Law Part One (National and State Powers)
  • Constitutional Law Part Two (Individual Rights)
  • Contracts
  • Corporations
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Future Interests
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Real Property
  • Sales
  • Torts
  • Wills & Trusts

In 2008 Latham & Watkins attorney Kirk Davenport developed a list of 750 need-to-know terms for corporate and deal attorneys.  Now that list is available as a free iPhone/iPad Touch/iPad app courtesy of the IT and business development teams at Latham.  The app, called "The Book of Jargon," is missing some important terms like "credit default swap," but it still does a good job of covering the obvious ("common stock") to the more advanced ("Macaroni Defense").  You can search or browse for terms.  I would have liked to see an example for each entry as well as links to other resources illustrating the terms--but hey, it's free.  And how much free time can Kirk Davenport have?  Recommended for aspiring corporate lawyers, perhaps as a supplement to that pricey but highly functional Black's Law Dictionary app.

CUL mobile siteIn a move designed to make online information more accessible to library patrons, Cornell University Library (CUL) recently launched CULite, a new mobile interface for the library’s website.  The Law Library is grateful to the mobile team that designed this feature for the benefit of all libraries on the Cornell campus, including ours.

Two alternatives are available to users: a device independent mobile site (http://library.cornell.edu/m) or an iPhone/iPod Touch app available free from iTunes.  Both options allow users to search the Classic Catalog, check individual Library hours, locate contact information for each Library, submit a question to an individual reference desk, and more.  Check out the promotional video on YouTube.  Your research just became a little easier.

CFR app logoThe U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a non-profit dedicated to helping citizens better understand foreign policy throughout the world, has a handy iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app that brings CFR's resources to your fingertips.  This app is FREE.  Keep current on the latest major world news, read analysis and expert briefs on foreign policy topics written by CFR's staff, and learn background information about major issues in the world today.  Many articles are brief and to the point.  Here are some examples of what's available from the app:

The app also offers access to transcripts of CFR meetings and interviews with international experts.  I recommend the CFR app to anyone interested in keeping up with international law and relations.

We already know that apps are everywhere, but Online MBA has aggregated some numbers into a slick graphical presentation (below), doing a great job noting its sources at the bottom (albeit in tiny, tiny text). Some of the highlights:

  • Apple maintains a hefty lead with 225,000 apps in its store, but Droid now offers a very respectable 70,000 apps
  • Average price for an app: $3.10
  • Blackberry, still the smart device of choice for lawyers, sells more phones than Apple but has far fewer apps, I think because Blackberry is less developer friendly and the device itself is less conducive to apps (smaller screen, not as good for games, is viewed more as a workhorse and less as a "fun" device)
  • Most downloaded: Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D

Online MBA
Via: MBA Online

You knew it was bound to happen and now it has.  For those of you getting ready to watch bar review videos and sit in the library for hours with those heavy books---well, now you have options.  You can study for the bar while on the go using a new app for the iPhone/iPod Touch developed by BarMax, a company started by a former law student.  The company launched an app for the California bar exam last year and a New York version in April 2010, with plans to add more states.  The BarMax app doesn’t come cheap---it costs $1,000, reputedly the most expensive app out there---but it has an entire review course of audio tapes, lectures, outlines, checklists, and questions from prior bar exams.  And BarMax offers its MPRE edition to everyone for free.  If you don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can rent one from BarMax.  Purchase of the app gets you lifetime access---all of this, and you can study while jogging.  The ABA Journal's review of the app is available here.  A review by a purported former law student who used BarMax to prep for the bar is available here.

Already there is competition.  If you aren't ready to trust a new company with your bar prep, BARBRI introduced an app last fall which is free for students enrolled in its classes (which cost considerably more than $1,000) and offers mobile access to lectures and other materials.  Emanuel Bar Review also has developed a series of apps to prepare you for the multistate exam that let you review and test yourself on evidence, property law, contracts, torts, criminal law, and constitutional law.  These apps only cost $12.99 each and also make good study tools for 1L law school classes.  Or you can study for the multistate exam on your home or laptop computer using MyBarPrep, which costs $249.99.

Black’s Law Dictionary 8th Edition iPhone appiPhone, iPod touch, and now iPad apps for legal research have been picking up steam, and a small variety of apps are currently available. Of course, none of these are useful to you if you have a Droid, a Blackberry, or a Palm Pre. Also how useful these are depends on how mobile you are and whether you want/need/like access to resources that your laptop with Wi-Fi can't provide.

One prominent app is Black's Law Dictionary, which West released in April 2009. The upsides include:

  • Speed-it's fast
  •  Auto-complete feature helps you find the words you're looking for
  • Audio pronunciation for 7,000 words, so you will never embarrass yourself again by mispronouncing a term
  • You don't need the Internet to access
  • Links to other words and resources in Westlaw (e.g., Corpus Juris Secundum) if you have an account (but you may have to pay to use them, depending on your plan)
  • Portability, of course!

The downsides:

  • The price is steep for an app--$49.99--which won't be worth it for many who already have access to Black's through Westlaw or in print
  • App is for the 8th edition of Black's, but West published the 9th edition last summer (no word yet on if and when West will release an app for the 9th edition)
  • Text does not resize itself when you zoom in
  • No browsing words alphabetically

By the way, don't confuse the iPhone app with Black's Law Dictionary Digital. The Digital version consists of a toolbar you download to your computer to use in Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox. The toolbar links you to the online version of Black's in Westlaw, and will provide spell-checking of legal terms in Word. This tool is not something I find useful since I can add legal terms to the spell checker the first time it finds them and the toolbar does not make it much faster or easier to retrieve Black's in Westlaw or from my bookshelf.

For a more detailed review of the Black's app, see Jeff Richardson's Review: Black's Law Dictionary for iPhone on iphonejd.com; also see the reviews from users in iTunes.

If you don't want to pony up $50 for Black's Dictionary, never fear: free law dictionary apps are also available and will be the subject of a future post.

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