The Best Not Quite Free Apps for Reference

by Fallon Zschiegner-Bleich, Head Editor, INALJ Arkansas 

The Best Not Quite Free Apps for Reference

FallonBleichWe’ve all seen the lists of free apps out there (I cannot say enough great things about the 40 free apps presentation I went to at Annual this year), but what about those that are fabulous apps but aren’t free? There are many great reference apps out there that cost less than 5 bucks. Here are just a few of my favorites:



Sky Guide ($1.99)

This app is not only beautifully done, but it’s incredibly informative. First, the app aligns itself with your current sky view. You can then move around the sky and the app pops in the different stars, constellations, and planets. Want to know more about Ursa Major? Just click the name and then click the information icon. It’s perfect for not only looking up information about the different bodies, but also for learning about what you can see in your particular night sky.

National Geographic World Atlas ($1.99)

This one is pretty obvious as to why it’s so great. National Geographic has some of the best apps out there, and their World Atlas app is no exception. The images are high resolution, you can add pins to where you’ve been, and it gives great facts and information. I highly recommend using this app for mobile reference, as you can pretty much look up any kind of country information you might need.

Solar Walk ($2.99)

Solar Walk is to the solar system as Sky Guide is to the night sky. Not only does it provide 3D images of all of the planets in our solar system, it also goes into great depth on each planet, showing the make up of each planet and giving a detailed history of the planet and its moons.

Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D ($4.99)

Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D is a great reference tool for any type of anatomy questions. Not only can you get 3D images of different muscles, bones, and nerves, you can also learn the different body systems and take quizzes to help study. It’s a great reference tool for medical or science students, or just for any type of question regarding the body.

The Wolfram apps ($0.99-$4.99)

I couldn’t pick just one of these great apps, ranging in everything from Calculus to Culinary Mathematics to Genealogy and History. Any of these apps would make great reference tools. They function like a search engine and allow the user to search for specific information within the app.

Finally, I highly recommend the definitely not cheap, but amazing, The Elements app ($13.99). Not only is this a visually stunning app, but it is like carrying around an encyclopedia on the different elements in the periodic table. If you have an iPad and have the budget for this app, I would absolutely suggest purchasing it. It’s great for reference and would be very impressive to show off to patrons.