Will Mobile Be King For Legal Research?

LLB reported on "Raymond Blijd, Project Manager, Online Innovation, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, [who] admits that designing a legal research interface for the small screen remains a challenge but he predicts the era of desktop-based legal research is coming to a close. His prediction is based on desktop usage studies and consumer purchasing trends for IT equipment. Once document creation moves to the small screen, so will legal research according to Blijd in his Intelligent Solutions Blog post The Death of Legal Research on Desktop."

From Blijd's blog:
"While Health and especially Finance went full throttle in mobile, driven respectively by pure need and speed, other business markets have been slower to adopt. Yet, this anxious stance does not reflect reality: PC shipments will only be 20.6% of the total market of smart connected devices. Tablets are forecast to overtake PC sales entirely this Christmas. By 2017,total traditional PC devices are expected to drop to 13%, while tablets and smartphones will contribute 16.5% and 70.5% respectively to the overall market. Those that cling towards a PC oriented design strategy will face extinction just as the operating system and software needed to run it."

I happened to read this blog post right before I went in for a meeting with our Westlaw rep. So naturally, I had to ask if Westlaw sees a time when mobile will be king. The rep said that mobile will not replace the PC interface anytime in the near future, as the PC interface is still much more sophisticated than the mobile interface, and she said that she doesn't see that changing anytime soon.

I think the answer may be different for different sectors of the legal profession, however. For those lawyers who are running between courthouses with their smartphone as their only means of legal research, they will probably continue to increase their reliance on their mobile devices.

For the legal academic, I think that the PC will be favored for research for years to come. Reading long court cases or law review articles on a small screen is not much fun at all.

But I think that law librarians should be adept at both kinds of interfaces: mobile to teach the future attorneys and PC for their own research, as well as that of their faculty.


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