Libraries appear to be fighting (losing) battles over funding, prestige, perceptions of usefulness around the globe. One of the things that many North American public library systems and consortia have been doing is licensing electronic databases for your use. They skew heavily towards primary and secondary school users and that type of research. But there are business information databases and directories that can be helpful to any legal researcher. Greg Lambert and Ann Lee Gibson mention these databases in a recent American Bar Association Law Practice magazine piece.
Information Today reports that Cengage Learning’s Gale Group has released an app for iPad and Android devices that makes using their Accessmylibrary resource easier than ever and takes you into fee-based resources normally only accessible from your library’s site. You can access some information by going to Accessmylibrary.com and entering information about your local public library.
The apps use geolocation to determine which library’s resources are available to you, looking in a 10 mile radius. Open up the app while you are on the move and you’ll see that the library – and subscribed databases – has changed. It’s great marketing for the libraries, except that you never have to enter one to get access to this information.
Unlike my local public library, where I have to enter my library card number, the app does not require any additional authentication. In at least one of the libraries that I can see during the day, I can get access to databases like Legaltrac, the National Newspaper Index, and the CPI.Q Canadian Periodicals database.
Grab the app and keep it in mind when you’re looking for a quick answer or secondary information relating to your legal issue. Open it up on your commute and see if you have resources available that are different from your local library. It’s a great resource for information that might not be found in your typical legal research subscription.