Online databases can be invaluable, time-saving tools to any legal researcher as they provide organized access to a wide array of legal resources as well as sophisticated search tools. Many online databases, including fee-based databases, are available at the Law Library, free of charge, to library patrons. Each Tuesday of this month, this blog will highlight one of the many databases available at the Law Library.
Last week, this blog published a post about the Westlaw and Lexis databases available at the Law Library. This week, we would like to introduce you to another great database, HeinOnline. HeinOnline is the largest, image-based legal research database with full-text and page images of law review articles, treatises and primary sources of law. HeinOnline users can search for specific resources or browse one of the database’s many collections. For example, you can browse the Law Journal Library collection and see a listing of a specific Law Review’s articles, organized chronologically. Library patrons can access HeinOnline in the library’s computer room.
There is overlap between the resources available on HeinOnline and the resources available on the Westlaw and Lexis. However, there are two big reasons why users may prefer to use HeinOnline over Westlaw and Lexis. First, HeinOnline is an image-based database. This means that users can see page images of documents, including graphics, which match the print versions of the resources. Second, HeinOnline has a greater focus on retrospective historical coverage, meaning that users will be able to find older documents that may be unavailable in the other databases. For example, are you interested in railroad case law from the 1800s? You can find many cases in HeinOnline’s Early American Case Law collection.
For more information about understanding legal research, including the difference between primary and secondary legal resources, check out these research guides.