Searching HeinOnline – 4 Key Techniques You Need to Know and How It Is Different Than Other Legal Databases


You are likely used to the searching methodology used in other legal databases, as you learned it while taking classes in law school. Then, you were introduced to HeinOnline, a powerful legal research tool with more than 50 million pages of legal content. Your initial reaction may have been, “50 million pages; that is a lot of content to browse through!” Yes, indeed it is. However, with the right searching techniques, it is easy to find what you are looking for in HeinOnline.

While the search syntax used in HeinOnline is different than what you may be used to, with a little practice and the understanding of a few key techniques, you’ll be searching in no time. Howard W. Hunter Law Library from BYU Law School wrote an excellent blog post outlining the 4 key techniques you need to know to conduct the most powerful search queries in HeinOnline. These 4 key techniques include understanding Boolean operators in HeinOnline, using a root expander to find alternate endings, proximity searches, and boosting terms. Check out the post on Hunter’s Query: The HWHLL Blog

As they note in their blog, “Boosting a term allows you to influence the relevancy ranking of your results list. (By the way, you can’t have your results ranked by relevance when using a terms and connectors search in Westlaw or Lexis.)”

Take a moment to check out their blog post and familiarize yourself with these key searching techniques. They can really make a difference in your searching abilities in HeinOnline.

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