From Law Technology Today: “Google is known for constantly working to upgrade and improve its services – and Google Scholar is no exception. Often these improvements are introduced with little or no announcement or documentation. Some of these “improvements” are for the better and some are not.
The first change at Google Scholar that is NOT for the better is that it’s now harder to find because it’s no longer located on the “More” drop-down menu. Instead, to navigate to Google Scholar you’ll need to click the “More” tab and then “Even More” (see Illustration 1).”
One of my favorite Westlaw features is the ability to create a KeyCite Alert that sends email updates whenever a new case cites a specific case. This feature is extremely effective at helping practitioners update cases. I’m happy to report (at the risk of sounding like a shill for Google Scholar) that you can now accomplish the same thing — for free — with Google.
Choose a case. Let’s say you’d like to keep abreast of the latest cases mentioning Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803). Here are the five steps required to create an alert for this case:
STEP 1: Simply navigate to the case in Google Scholar.
STEP 2: Once you’ve pulled up the case, locate and click the “How cited” link in the upper-left horizontal menu. You’ve just navigated to Google’s equivalent to Shepard’s. (See my previous post about Shepardizing using Google Scholar’s How Cited feature.)
STEP 3: On the How Cited page, we’ll be focusing on the “Cited by” heading. After a selection of documents listed under “Cited by” click “all [n] citing documents >>”. In the case of Marbury, the link reads “all 22,570 citing documents” (at this writing).
STEP 4: You’ve just navigated to a page listing all database documents citing to the document you’d like to track. On the upper-right-hand of your screen, click the button with the email logo next to “My Citations”.
STEP 5: Enter your email information and select the number of results you’d like to receive. Press “Create Alert and … Voila! You’re one step closer to staying abreast of recent treatment of a particular case.
Now for the disclaimers: Remember that Google Scholar has its limitations. Keep in mind that there may be some delay between the date of opinion issuance and database integration. Also, be aware that Google Scholar may not index every decision issued. You’re always at the mercy of Google’s bots and algorithms. And, of course, this post should not, under any circumstances, be considered legal advice and is not a substitute for complete updating of cases.
Harvard Law Library has recently added a research guide entitled “Mobile Apps for Legal Research and More.” Particularly useful are the free U.S. Government apps, which I have reproduced below. Of these, my favorite app is OyezToday, which allows you to listen to Supreme Court oral arguments and search through the transcripts.
Do you have a favorite free legal research app? Let’s hear it!
|The Constitution: Never be without a copy of the constitution with this iOS app by West. It provides the full text of the Constitution along with audio, and ratification information.|
|The Congressional Record: The Library of Congress has created a great free app for reading the daily edition of the Congressional Record on an iPad.|
|Congress in Your Pocket: This suite of apps from Cohen Research Group provides frequently updated directories of elected officials and their staff. Apps are available for iOS, Android and Blackberry devices.|
|MyCongress:This free iPad app provides detailed information about Congressional officials.|
|Real Time Congress: Available from the Sunlight Foundation for iPhone and iPad, this app allows users to track real-time information about Congress from their mobile device.|
|OyezToday: This app from the Chicago-Kent College of Law provides access to current U.S. Supreme Court case abstracts, audio recordings and full opinions. It is now available for iOS and Android devices.|
|PocketJustice: Also from Chicago-Kent College of Law, the PocketJustice app is available for iOS and Android devices in both free and paid versions. It provides access to a wealth of U.S. Supreme Court information, including cases, voting information and biographies of Supreme Court Justices.|
|White House: This official White House app provide up-to-the-minute information from the White House including photos, videos, blogs and streaming White House events. It is available from USA.gov for iOS and Android devices and is also available as a mobile website.|
If you use Firefox as your default browser, then you probably know about Mozilla’s extensive library of free Firefox “Add-ons.” These code snippets submitted by Mozilla’s robust community of developers provide added functionality to Firefox. For more about Add-ons, including the easy installation process, click here.
Of the thousands of Firefox add-ons available, I bring you ten of the best add-ons to assist in legal research. The descriptions below are brought to you by Firefox’s Add-Ons page.
Jureeka! turns legal citations in web pages into hyperlinks that point to online legal source material. It’s great for quickly locating statutes, case law, regulations, federal court rules, international law sources, and more. It weaves together a host of law sources into a giant mesh, right in your Firefox browser!
This search-engine add-on can be used to perform the Search by Citation feature on lexisONE to retrieve cases. No account is required to perform the search and view the results, but a free lexisONE account is required to read the full text of cases.
Zotero is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources.
Enable multi-color highlighter and post-it notes as your reading aids; Capture the whole page or any portion to share or archive; Save everything online to allow access anywhere.
Improve relevancy by up to 40% on Google, Bing and Yahoo! by automatically digging out results from as deep as page 100.
Breadcrumbs is a personal search engine for your browser. Breadcrumbs saves your visited pages and allows you to search your pages from the search toolbar. It stores data locally to protect your privacy. Breadcrumbs also allows permanent offline browsing.
View web documents in Google Docs without requiring any desktop software. It supports PDF, Microsoft Office and Open Office formats.
Save pages to read later with just one click. When you have time, access your reading list from any computer or phone, even without an internet connection!
Helps you to save Web pages and organize the collection.
Add notes to websites, including comments, links or even images. It can help you doing research on the web, remind you, etc. It is simple and easy to use.