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Is There an E-(Case)Book in your Future?

January 11, 2010

Have we heard enough recently about the good, the bad and the ugly of new, innovative and already existing electronic book readers? Most assuredly, at least for now! But, it may be time to think about whether or not there will be an E-(law)book, E-casebook or another type of electronic study aid in your future. And, since you probably already own a laptop for viewing, let’s consider the material rather than the device you’ll use to view it.clip_image001.jpg 

In what ways might an electronic casebook differ from the print version? Jason Wilson’s blog post “Electronic Case-books: Where Words Go to Thrive?” is a good place to start. The portion covering the “Future of the casebook,” is of particular interest for points on how digitization might correct problems with printed casebooks. And, the “Four short thoughts” portion expands on the issues involved in going electronic.

How will your online experience differ from the underlining and note-taking that you do when using print? What will you gain or lose by reading online? The right software could change and enhance the way you study. But, what about the fact that studies show that most students still prefer print to digital for a variety of reasons? How about cost? Read on and judge for yourself.

Content is certainly important here. But, in the case of law books, how that content can be used and updated might be just as important. Law e-books (textbooks, casebooks and treatises) should be different from other e-books because the law changes frequently. So, a digital format that includes updating might be preferable to print if the content, the software and the price are right. Nick Holmes, in his blog post “The future law book is not a book”  says “The web is the platform.”

Still, the future of the e-casebook depends in part on what the publishers do. West (Thomson Reuters) has released a web-based product called Interactive Case-book series for Spring 2010 classes. More information and a demo are available here or try a search here

clip_image00.jpgA different type of e-book experience that might be of interest is the “aspenlawstudydesk” software from Aspen Publishers. See a demo on how to search a topic, integrate Aspen E-Book Study Aids with the software and more.

Websites like CourseSmart are selling e-textbooks that can be read online or downloaded. You might be surprised at the differences between the two versions. And, at the differences in price and use restrictions between that website and this one.

We’re not trying to make a pitch for a publisher or vendor here – just pointing out some of what is available.

These are just some examples of how digitization might enhance your law school study experience in the near future, if that hasn’t happened already. Whether or not you are currently reading other e-books, an e-casebook, treatise or study aid might be the next logical step for you. Look for more to choose from soon!