As the research process has moved increasingly online, a number of browser extensions have been created to help to make it possible to research as quickly and efficiently as possible. A browser extension is simply a program that adds additional functionality to a web browser. While the kind and number of extensions that are available to you will vary depending on the browser you typically use, many extensions are available for multiple browsers. This guide will introduce you to some of the best browser extensions for researchers, but this is far from an exhaustive list. If you are interested in exploring other options, you may want to check out the Chrome Store, Firefox's Add-Ons page, or simply Google the name of your browser and extension.
If you frequently find journal articles or other materials online using Google Scholar or other search engines but find that you can't access the full text of the resource, Harvard's LibX tool will help you to avoid this issue. Once you have installed this browser extension, which is available for both Chrome and Firefox, you can log in using your normal credentials and you will see an icon of the Harvard shield each time an item that you find online is available to members of the Harvard community.
Bestlaw is a Google Chrome browser extension that aims to make the experience of using WestlawNext easier and more clear. To accomplish it, Bestlaw adds a toolbar to your screen, which includes options to simplify the page view, to copy a Bluebook citation (though you should, of course, always double check the citation), and connections to find both free copies of the case and secondary information outside of Westlaw. You can see a screen shot of the toolbar below.
Available for both Chrome and Firefox, Jureeka will identify legal citations in web content and provide a link to the full text of those documents where available. This is done in partnership with Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute, meaning that they are frequently able to provide links to the full text of the relevant legal material. If you frequently do legal research, it is definitely worth trying out.
Evernote Clearly, which is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, improves your online reading experience by clearing away everything other than the core content of the page. This means no ads, no banners, no logos. However, images that are key to the content are retained. You can also apply different themes to the content to change the color contrast of the text, the font size, and the background of the page. If you are an Evernote user, you can also save the content to your Evernote account for future reading with a single click.
Do you find that you frequently have too many tabs open in your browser? If so, OneTab, which is available for both Chrome and Firefox, will make your life much easier. This tool makes it easy to pull all of your open tabs or individual links into a single page. This will not only help to improve your browser functionality, but also makes it possible to share these links with others.
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