Beyond Lexis and Westlaw: HeinOnline

You’re probably familiar with Lexis+ and Westlaw (soon to be Westlaw Precision) and have used them to find legal research resources, like cases, statutes, regulations and secondary sources. But legal research sometimes requires more than those – and there are other research tools that you can – and should – consider using to help find materials. Here, we’ll dive into HeinOnline, a multidisciplinary legal research platform, and highlight some of its newest database offerings in LGBTQ+ Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice, and Water Law.

What is HeinOnline?

Building on a 100-year history of legal publishing, HeinOnline is a multidisciplinary research platform, composed entirely of fully-searchable PDF copies of original documents, from law review journals to government records, and more. These original images can be most helpful when performing cite-checking tasks, or for those who prefer reading classic page formats over the digital HTML formats you’ll find on Lexis and Westlaw.

Can’t I just use Lexis and Westlaw for everything?

While Lexis and Westlaw have wide-ranging collections, neither offer everything available to you as a researcher. Instead, it will be most helpful to understand what the different platforms offer and how you can best access them. For example, Hein offers extensive collections of: government and congressional documents; historical statutory collections; U.S. and international legal materials; and specialized collections not found on Lexis and Westlaw – such as the new Water Rights & Resources, and Civil Rights and Social Justice Collection, which includes LGBTQ+ Rights and Gun Regulation and Legislation in America. While Lexis and Westlaw may provide you with access to primary law and certain practice-based secondary sources, Hein’s collections provide access to primary documents and collections that provide critical social, historical, and contextual information.

How can I access HeinOnline?

You can easily access HeinOnline on- and off-campus with your USF Single Sign-On! But, for more information about how you can incorporate Hein’s resources into your research, stop by Zief and chat with your research librarians!