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Legal Research: HeinOnline

Covering the basics of legal research and using HeinOnline

Tips and Tricks for HeinOnline

If you read the 'Develop Keywords' page, you remember it laid out the first two steps of legal research:


  1. Identifying relevant information for queries

  2. Identifying relevant information for refining results

The following is advice on how to make the most of your searches in HeinOnline.

Exact Search

Once you have identified search terms, try putting them in quotes. This will greatly improve the specificity of your searches, because it will exclude items that do not include the exact search term you are looking for. What would the individual terms “United” “States” “of” “America” pull up instead of “United State of America”?


Generic words often introduce a lot of clutter into your search, exact search can eliminate extraneous results.

This can greatly improve searching for specific people and places that may have generic words within the whole term (such as "Donald Trump" or "Salisbury University").

Boolean Operators

Once you have identified the search terms you think are relevant, combine them into an improved query through the use of "AND" "OR" "NOT" Boolean Operators. the computer recognized these capitalized terms as an instruction to search it's documents differently.

"AND" operator results in sources that include both terms. For example, while the query: Diet Coke health might return information on diet and heath (ignoring the term Coke), or Coke and health (the incorrect soda); a search: "Diet Coke" AND health would ensure the sources find not only articles on Diet Coke, but that they will include its health considerations.


Applying Search Filters

After you run your search, you can take advantage of the filters on the left side of the page.

Keep special mind to the Date, Section Type, and Location.

Search Full Text

Often the easiest way to search is a full text search. In Hein, full text search uses a software known as Fastcase. Searching within collection or by citation can be more efficient, but work better once the researcher has greater familiarity with legal research.


If you want to search within law review articles or legal code use the magnifying glass button