Friday, August 10, 2012

The Bluebook: There's an App for That

Did you ever wish that The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation would go back to its 28-page roots? While the ever-expanding citation manual (now up to a hefty 511 pages in its current 19th edition) probably will never shrink back down to its original size, you can still carry it in the palm of your hand. The Bluebook editors (a joint effort of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal) have granted exclusive rights to a mobile version within the recently-launched rulebook™ mobile app from Ready Reference Apps.

This mobile version of The Bluebook is now available for sale (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch) in the iTunes App Store. The Bluebook library is available for $39.99 within the larger rulebook™ app, which also includes libraries of federal rules and selected state court rules. If the app isn't compatible with your own mobile device, never fear – the Bluebook editors also offer a web-based subscription (starting at $32 per year) at Various subscription packages include e-only access, or combinations of the print book and electronic subscription.

But how would you discover this and other legal research apps without the Goodson Blogson's expert help? First, there's Mobile Apps for Law, a searchable online directory of free and fee-based downloadable apps for mobile devices. The site features nearly 900 law-related apps, which are searchable by keyword and browseable by date, subject area, and/or device type. Entries for each app provide a brief description, price information, and links to more detailed reviews from such sites as iPhone JD and Law on my Phone, and quick access to download. Featured apps include access to primary sources of law from federal and state governments, scaled-down mobile versions of LexisNexis and Westlaw, law dictionaries, attorney and court directories, and more than 40 bar exam prep apps. Mobile Apps for Law also offers a free RSS feed for the latest updates, although a subscription is needed to access the full text beyond the RSS summary. For assistance with accessing the full site, please contact the Reference Desk.

On the hunt for even more apps, whether they're law-related or not? Apple's massive iTunes App Store contains thousands of apps but can be overwhelming to navigate. In March 2012, PC Magazine curated a list of the 100 best apps in iTunes. The blog Lifehacker also maintains an App Directory, going beyond Apple gadgets with a section for Android phones as well. Throughout the school year, watch the Duke Law Daily for announcements of "App Chats" with Digital Initiatives Librarian Hollie White in the library’s Digital Initiatives Lab.

Have a favorite law-related or productivity app you're eager to share? Feel free to sound off in the comments.