Tech Tips: Recommended Applications for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches

Author: Susan Good

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace and in everyday life. The ability to access Internet from a Smartphone or other mobile device is becoming commonplace, and there is a wide variety of applications (or “apps”) that these devices use to make life more productive, interesting, and just plain fun. In this issue we focus on applications available from the iTunes Store for use on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, since so many Notre Dame Law School students, faculty, and staff own one or more of these Apple devices.

I asked for a list of favorite applications from some law librarians and professors at NDLS and came up with the list at left. (Many thanks to all who shared their recommendations!) I also received a few suggestions from colleagues this past week at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries. Meg Kribble (Research Librarian and Outreach Coordinator at Harvard Law School) and Jason Eiseman (Librarian for Emerging Technologies at Yale Law School) demonstrated some of their favorite work and play related applications, which included the Nolo legal dictionary, a free alternative to the Black’s Law Dictionary application, which sells for $49.99. One of their favorite legal news apps was JD Supra’s Lane Powell app, and a favorite note-taking application was Evernote, which lets users you create notes, snap photos, and record voice memos. Another nifty application for the iPhone they mentioned was RedLaser, which uses the camera function to take a photo of any item with a barcode, allowing users to scan through multiple websites to see if a better price is available elsewhere.

If you would like to find some helpful legal research applications, check out Jacob Sayward’s recent AALL Spectrum article iCite: Legal Research? There’s an app for that for a list. Another helpful article by a law firm librarian with law-related app recommendations is Bev Butula’s Go mobile: Apps for lawyers. Here at NDLS, the work-related app receiving the most mention was iThoughts, which is available for $7.99. Tricia Bellia noted that this is a “brainstorming application somewhat like Mind Manager, which many of us have used to organize research and class notes in graphical rather than linear form.” Julian Velasco highly recommended both iThoughts and iAnnotate PDF, which is useful for reading, highlighting, and annotating PDF documents. Rick Garnett wrote that he uses the Magnificat app a lot, which is “a Catholic site with the day’s readings, some reflections, etc.” Professor Garnett also said Penultimate, which uses your finger like a pen, “is great for jotting down notes.”

But what about other entertaining, informative, and (im)practical apps that our law librarians and professors regularly use? Chris O’Byrne said his favorite would have to be Bookworm, “even if I were not a librarian! It’s an addictive/engaging word-forming puzzle game in the tradition of Boggle, Scrabble, Take Two, and Bananagrams.” Julian Velasco raved about NY Times Editor’s Choice as the way a “newspaper app should be done.” One of my own personal favorite distractions is the app version of the spatial reasoning card game SET which is possibly my favorite game of all time and made even more fun with timed tests and other options available in the application version.

Joe Reimers recommended the website, which as the name suggests is a site which allows you to download each day for free a new application which otherwise costs something. He said of the site, “I got a few nifty time-wasters there. It’s mostly games, but some are decent. For your inner astronomer, there’s an app called Planets, which knows your position and the time of day and can help you plot stars and note what’s visible and all sorts of similar cool stuff.” Joe also recommended the Seafood Guide put out by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, which “is handy for making sure the seafood you’re considering is farmed sustainably,” and he noted that he likes to use the app eBuddy for Instant Messaging.

If you have a favorite application that didn’t make it to this list of mentions, please send me an e-mail, as I will continue to compile a list of recommendations to share in a future issue!

-Beth Given

Recommended apps:

For work…
Adobe Ideas
Black’s Law Dictionary
Dragon Dictation
iAnnotate PDF

For daily prayer…

Just for fun…

When going out to eat…
Open Table
Seafood Guide

When traveling…
Gate Guru

Amazon mobile
NY Times Editor’s Choice
Recommended Applications for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches

Thanks to: Chris O’Byrne, Joe Reimers, Julian Velasco, Rick Garnett, and Tricia Bellia for the many recommendations!