Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of apps, sites, and technology.

A Compilation of Secretary of State Sites: Making State of Incorporation Searches Easier

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One of the great things about the U.S. is the uniqueness of each individual state. Beyond cultural, political, historical and artistic variances, this truism (fortunately or unfortunately) applies to Secretary of State corporation search interfaces. Each state’s agency handles the design and offerings of their interface their own way—some allow for free corporate status reports, free corporate documents, and free searching, while others find a way to charge for each step in the process of obtaining company information. Continue reading

Tell us your favorite apps – get featured!

emot-applauseiBraryGuy is excited to announce a new crowdsourced feature.  Let’s hear your APPlause!

It seems like there is an app for everything these days. Just within the realm of information alone, there are apps for staying updated on the news, conducting research, managing your time, communicating with your team, and even billing for the good work you do. These are just the tip of the technological iceberg! At iBraryGuy, we do our very best to share reviews of some of our latest and greatest app discoveries. Yet we cannot help but wonder what you are using. Continue reading

Tracking Legislation: GovTrack.us & LegiScan

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As legal information professionals, I am sure you have received requests to track proposed legislation. Changes in statutory law are obviously fundamentally important to the practice of law. The potential for legislative change creates an information need requiring a method of monitoring the status of proposed legislation as it bounces around the legislature. Thankfully, monitoring proposed laws/bills can be done electronically. In fact, there is an abundance of software and services that can accomplish this task. In the past, I have turned to subscription services to set these tracks up. Using a Westlaw, Lexis, or Bloomberg BNA is fine and will do the job of tracking legislation for you, but the drawback to these services is they cost money. Notably, there are alternatives on the web that track legislation, and do so for free. Continue reading

Quickly Check the Availability of State Court Electronic Docket and Document Access With CourtReference.com

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Though I have detailed its flaws, PACER’s existence as the centralized interface containing electronic access to Federal court dockets and documents makes our jobs as law librarians much easier. State courts, on the other hand, are the wild west of electronic docket and document access. Continue reading

Ravel Law: Visualizing Legal Research

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Ravel Law incorporates the age-old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” into legal research. Visualization is fundamentally incorporated into Ravel Law’s software design. When users conduct a search on a legal topic, or a prior case, Ravel delivers an interactive graphic displaying cases associated with this topic or prior case; the cases that are the most heavily cited have larger icons, thus signifying quickly to researchers which cases are fundamentally important to whatever topic or prior case they’re researching.

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Inforuptcy: Enhanced & Cost Effective Bankruptcy Docket & Document Retrieval

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Interfacing with PACER is just a fact of life, especially for those of you working in Bankruptcy practice groups. Our country’s Bankruptcy courts, of course, are electronically accessible via PACER, and feature cases with massive dockets comprised of thousands of filed documents; many trees are destroyed during bankruptcy proceedings. So, the ability to locally store dockets and documents and keep these files organized is a Herculean challenge—in practice, most legal professionals presumably end up querying PACER over and over again, pulling the same documents multiple times. The issue with this: every time you pull a docket or document from PACER, you are charged a fee ($.10 a page, capped at $3.00 per document). It doesn’t matter if you pull the same document three times, you will be charged a fee every time you pull it. Continue reading

PacerPro Unveils DocketShare

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I have been lucky enough to give a few presentations that usually require a brief explanation of cloud computing. I am intrigued by the concept, of course, but am always terrified I am going to lose the interest of my audience as I ramble on about private clouds, software as a service, security concerns, and the like, so I have been trying to discipline myself to really keep definitions to a sentence or two, and not ramble excitedly on about technological ephemera. My typical fall-back summary of the cloud is: cloud computing basically puts the internet in-between you and your hard drive. And because the internet is connecting you to your data, you now have the option of connecting other users to your data. This concept of collaboration is one of the fundaments of the cloud-computing/network age. Continue reading

Pacer Pro is Pacer Improved

If you have ever pulled a federal court document, then you are familiar with Pacer. Pacer’s critics are many and prone to point out the software’s numerable flaws including its arcane UI and user costs. Luckily, we are riding a wave of programmers and entrepreneurs who have been willing to improve upon this outdated interface (see my previous write-up of DkT). The latest is the impressive Pacer Pro, which, as Robert Ambrogi writes in his excellent review of Pacer Pro in the March 2014 issue of ABAJournal (available here) “provides universal search[ing], more robust search tools, more informative search results, and better ways to manage documents and downloads”. He’s right, this is a vast improvement on the Pacer UI–and it’s free! Here are some of the really good things Pacer Pro does: Continue reading

How is Bloomberg Law’s New App?

Bloomberg Law has announced the release of a new app that works in conjunction with your Bloomberg Law subscription. The app is available both for the Apple iOS (via the App Store) and the Android operating system (via Google Play). Continue reading

App Review: DkT

If you work in the legal field, there is no doubt you have experienced working with PACER; it’s the interface that enables users to access and file federal court documents. DkT (available here) is a brand new app that puts an easily-navigable, streamlined mobile user interface on top of PACER, enabling users to access documents via their mobile devices. PACER does have its own mobile interface, but DkT has design features that clearly separate it as a better option for users, including: Continue reading