Monday, February 17, 2014

Mobile Apps for Legal Research #12: The American Lawyer Digital Edition

The American Lawyer Digital Edition is an iOS version of ALM's American Lawyer magazine. The digital edition app is not the official American Lawyer app. The official American Lawyer app is Am Law, which I may discuss at a later date. The American Lawyer Digital Edition does not provide as much content or as many features as Am Law, but it offers a superior reading experience.

The American Lawyer Digital Edition ("ALDigital") replicates the print journal in an app. It delivers content in the form of issues, and each issue is a page-for-page copy of the print issue, including the advertisements.

I do not think this approach would work well on the iPhone, but on the iPad the content is both beautiful and easy to read. A single page of the magazine fits perfectly on an iPad in portrait mode. 

In landscape mode, the app displays two pages at once, allowing to you take in cross-page graphics while still reading the text, which is noticeable smaller but still quite legible.

The app also delivers crisp, clear images, which add to the overall reading experience. The pages of the magazine looked clean and beautiful, with every bit of information where it is supposed to be. You know you are seeing the magazine as the publishers intended, every word, graphic, and ad.

ALDigital is more than just a faux print journal. The app takes advantage of the digital format to provide several useful features. You can bookmark individual pages for quick return later. You can open a table of contents from anywhere in an issue. The table of contents shows a copy of the print table of contents with each article hyperlinked for easy access.

Or you can switch to a thumbnail view of every page of the issue. Tapping on a thumbnail opens that page of the issue.

The app allows keyword searching both in and across issues. If you tap the search icon while viewing an issue, the app will search only that issue. If you tap the search icon while in the main library page, the app searches across all available issues.

When you find an article you want to read, you can view it as it appeared in print (my recommendation), or you can change to text view using the Show Text button. Text view formats the article as a webpage, allowing you change the article's font size and to select and copy text from the article.

ALDigital also lets you email articles from within the app, or post articles to Facebook or Twitter if you so desire.

ALDigital currently provides access to issues of American Lawyer from Dec. 2010 to the present. Each issue must be downloaded separately. Downloading can take a long time because of the size and quality of the issues, but once you download an issue, it is stored on your device, so you don't have to download it again. If you are concerned about memory space, you can delete downloaded issues under settings.

In addition to the print content of American Lawyer, ALDigital contains an RSS feed of articles published on the American Lawyer website. Selecting a headline from the RSS feed takes you to the American Lawyer website. The articles in the feed may not be accessible without a subscription.

ALDigital is a simple app with a simple purpose: deliver the American Lawyer to the iPad without losing anything in translation. And it succeeds with flying colors.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! The app looks outstanding! The legal mobile apps for attorneys play an essential role nowadays. My father is an advocate and he is also using these apps.