Category Archives: Tools

Nimbus – Free, Versatile Screen Capture Tool

Sometimes I find it useful to take screenshots to capture various things for instructional or documentation purposes.  I’ve used several different tools over the years but came across one today that I really liked.  It’s called Nimbus Screen Capture and it’s a free Firefox add on.

Nimbus has a lot of nice editing tools, but the thing that I really like about it is that it can capture an entire webpage, not just the portion that you see on your screen (although it can also do that and much more).  Being able to capture more than just what appears on a single screen is something that I’ve struggled with in the past.

With Nimbus, you can copy the screen capture as an image to your clipboard, download it, send to Google, or upload it to Nimbus. The latter will give you a URL that you can then share with others.  See the quick guide for more detailed instructions.

For more on Nimbus and other screen capture tools, see

The ABA launches the collateral consequences of criminal conviction database

A great new addition the world of legal research is the recently launched Collateral Consequences database from the ABA. With it, legal researchers can search across all 50 states and federal jurisdictions to discover and analyze how collateral consequences impact individuals with criminal convictions. These consequences can be hard to nail down and were certainly not available all in one place, so this database is welcome to fill that gap.


Check out the free database at: and read more about the development of the database here.

Zotero Mobile Apps Allow you Scan Books, Edit Library

I’ve mentioned several times how much I like and use Zotero, the “powerful, easy-to-use research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources and then share the results of your research.”
Capturing citation information from your computer has always been easy, but now there are some new mobile apps for Zotero that allow you capture content from the print world and work with your library on your mobile device.
Say that you’re in the library or bookstore and find a book that would be great for your research. With Scanner for Zotero (Android) or BibUp (iPhone) you can just scan the book’s barcode to add it to your Zotero library. I tried Scanner for Zotero and it worked great.
BibUp goes a step further by allowing you to scan (photograph) specific pages which it can convert to OCR.
Zandy (Android) allows you to edit and view your Zotero libraries, add new items, and work offline.

ZotFile Reader
(iPad, Android tablets etc) is a Firefox add-on that streamlines the process to work with Zotero and your pdf reader applications on tablet computers (iPad, Android tablet).
For more information on these apps, see the Zotero website.
Update 2/6/11: Thanks to Zandy developer Avram Lyon for letting me know that the link to Zandy was outdated. I’ve corrected it above. Avram also told me that the latest version of Zandy also supports reading attached PDFs and scanning barcodes.

Statistical Abstract & Supplemental Products to be Terminated

The US Census Bureau has officially announced the termination of the Statistical Abstract of the United States and its supplemental products: USA Counties, State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, State and County Quick Facts, and MapStats.
This is a sad, sad day. The Statistical Abstract and its supplements have been wonderful sources of governmental, demographic, and economic statistics. It is a shame to see them fall under the budget ax. Helps You Visually Organize & Brainstorm Ideas is a simple, free web application that lets you create mind maps for organizing and brainstorming ideas. Mind maps are great for visually laying out ideas and seeing the connections between them.
Here is an extremely simple map that I did.
As you can see, you can also get much more complex.
mindmapcomplex.jpg is an extremely simple to use application. Simply hit enter to create a new main topic and tab to create a subtopic. Use your mouse to move topics around and change their relationships between each other. You can also change the color and size of the topic bubbles.

Fastcase App Offers Free Case Law and Statutes on your iPhone

Fastcase recently released an app for the iPhone. And not only is the app free, but so access to the case law and statutes that it contains — even if you don’t practice in a state like Wisconsin where the desktop computer version of Fastcase is free through the State Bar.
So far the reviews have been very good, including this one from iPhone JD:

Every single lawyer using an iPhone should download the Fastcase app. Moreover, the availability of the free Fastcase app is a compelling reason for any attorney not using an iPhone to purchase one today. This app is that useful….
My research needs on the iPhone usually consist of pulling a case when I am out of the office and have a citation, doing a quick search for recent cases that contain a word or phrase, or pulling a statute…. How I wish that Fastcase for the iPhone had been released last Monday instead of last Friday! I would have made extensive use of this app during my time in the courtroom, and the app is so efficient that I would have been much more productive.

Interested? Just click here to download the App from iTunes. Screenshot from iPhone JD.

Citer Looks for Legal Citations in Web Pages and Points to Content

Citer is a new tool from the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute that looks for legal citations in ordinary web pages and points to a free, full-text version of the cited source. The concept is very similar to Jureeka, but Citer works in multiple browsers including IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. Jureeka is only available for Firefox and Chrome.
With Citer, you select an area of text on a web site that contains the cite you would like to look up, click a button in the browser bookmark linkbar, and Citer will attempt to transfer you to a page containing the content.
Jureeka is a little different in that it actually turns the citation into a live link which you simply click on to take you to a page containing the content.
Currently Citer covers the follow citation formats: US Code, US Supreme Court and Circuit court opinions, CFR and Federal Register, Statutes at Large, and federal public laws. They are working to expand it to state courts and some law reviews.
Jureeka’s coverage is broader, covering selected federal, state and international sources, as well as some law reviews. See their spreadsheet for complete coverage.
Of the two, I prefer Jureeka – it’s less cumbersome and has better coverage (at least for now). But, if you don’t use Firefox or Chrome, then Jureeka is not an option for you. Citer is certainly a very good alternative.
Thanks to my law librarian colleague, Bev Butula, for the tip.

LexisNexis Releases iPhone App

LexisNexis has released its first iPhone app.
From the announcement: It is called “Get Cases and Shepardize,” and (as you may have guessed) allows users to get cases from and Shepardize them to make sure what they have found is still good law. Users must have a current account with and a valid password to use the application. The app itself is free at the iTunes App Store.
See the review at Legal Geekery
Source: Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites