lawlibrary Legal Technology

Online Databases in the Limelight – HeinOnline*

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.  This month, the blog will feature six of the online databases available at the Law Library.

Do you want what’s on the computer screen to match what was printed? Are you interested in accessing historical articles? If so, then HeinOnline may be the online database service for you! Launched in 2000, 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. Or, if you are interested in railroad case law from the 1800s, you can search HeinOnline’s Early American Case Law collection.

In addition, the Law Library’s subscription now includes the ABA Law LIbrary Collection Periodicals! Through this database, library users have digital access to 98 ABA titles, including ABA Journal, ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law, Family Law Litigation, Mass Torts Litigants, Products Liability, and Trial Practice. A complete list of publications is available here.

Why use HeinOnline? Can’t I access the same information through LexisNexis or WestlawNext? Yes, there is overlap between the resources available on HeinOnline and the resources available on the WestlawNext and Lexis.  However, there are two big reasons why you may prefer to use HeinOnline over WestlawNext and LexisNexis.  First, HeinOnline is an image-based database. This means that you 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 you can find older documents that may be unavailable in the other databases.  

Can I access HeinOnline at the Library? Yes! The Law Library offers FREE, in-person access to HeinOnline.

How to use HeinOnline in the Library? You can access HeinOnline from any of the public access computers available at the Law Library.

What to do if you need help with HeinOnline? Please ask for help at the Law Library’s service desk. We can provide technical and research assistance.

Can I access the Law Library’s HeinOnline subscription from home? No. The Law Library’s current subscription permits in-person use in the courthouse only.

For more information about understanding legal research, including the difference between primary and secondary legal resources, check out these research guides.

*This blog post is an update of a blog post previously published on December 9, 2014.

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