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Hein Online

Overview of Hein Online for searching legal information

Getting Started

HeinOnline contains a number of different legal databases.  This overview is not comprehensive.

  • Hein's Law Library Journal contains thousands of law and law-related legal periodicals.  If you need to find a law journal article, Hein's Law Library Journal is a great place to look.  (Hein also has additional law library journal databases, like the Kluwer Law Library International Journal Library)
  • You can also find primary sources on Hein, such as the U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations and federal and state session laws. 
  • Hein is also a great place to look for legal history, with databases like the Pentagon Papers, Scottish Legal History, English Reports, History of International Law, History of Supreme Court Nominations, History of Bankrupty, and much more. 
  • The best way to discover what will be most helpful to you is to spend a little time on HeinOnline's main page, exploring the different databases Hein has to offer.   

If you see or know of a particular Hein database you want to search, you may select that database.  (To learn what is in that database, click the "i" icon next to the database name).  However, if you want to search all of the Hein materials available to you, simply check the box below the search bar that reads "search all databases."


General Search Tips

Which databases should I search?

  • If you have a cite to a particular database, you may search that particular database.  However, if you are doing a more exploratory search, it might be easier to simply search all of HeinOnline

Which search should I use?

  • Use the "citation" search feature if you have a citation
  • if you don't have a citation, use "Advanced Search" 

How to search?

  • HeinOnline is not the easiest database to search.  You need to use what is called terms and connectors searching in Hein.  Read on for Hein search tips
  • In both Basic Search and Advanced Search you can use AND, OR, and NOT in your searches.   Be aware that you MUST capitalize your search connectors in HeinOnline
    • Search for documents that contain all of your possible words (for example: cocaine AND sentencing)
    • Search for documents that contain at least one of you possible words (for example: "climate change" OR "global warming")
    • Include a word but exclude others (for example: teaching NOT shortage). 
  • If you want to search a phrase, put the phrase in quotes 
  • Use parentheses to search grouped clauses  or to form sub queries
    • for example, (watershed OR "water rights") AND planning will produce documents that contain either watershed or water rights and planning
  • Use a question mark and asterisk to expand word variations in your search
    • A question mark replaces a single letter in a word, so mari?uana would search for both marijuana and marihuana   
    • An asterisk can replace single or multiple letters, so walk* would retrieve walk, walks, walked, walkers, and walking 
  • Use ~ to search for words that are near one another OR are similar to one another
    • For example, "stem cell" ~5 research, retrieves documents that have "stem cell" within five words of "research"
    • You can also use ~ to search for terms that are similar in spelling.  For example, roam~ will also retrieve roams and foam.
  • Use ^ to boost certain search terms over others.  For example, if you are searching "firearm rights" and restor* and you want restoration to be 4 times more important than "firearm rights," search restor*^4""firearm rights."