Need Legal Dictionaries? HeinOnline Has Hundreds!

Exploring HeinOnline, Law Librarianship, Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf
Shannon Sabo

William S. Hein & Co., Inc. has proudly served the law library community since 1961, and HeinOnline exists thanks to both the Company's vision and a collaborative effort with law librarians. In July of 2011, Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf was launched. The collection was originally called Law Librarian's Reference Shelf, as its original intention was to benefit that same law library community that has supported the Hein Company for decades. However, the name was updated as the scope of content grew to encompass materials also useful for general librarians, faculty, staff, and students.

Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf contains nearly 1,800 titles, more than 4,000 volumes, and more than 1.6 million pages. Browse among several categories, including AALL GD-SIS State Bibliographies, AALL Publications, Bibliography of Early American Law, Biographies, and more. One key category of material that has grown exponentially since the collection's inception is the Dictionaries subcollection.

The Dictionaries subcollection contained fewer than 50 legal dictionaries when Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf was first released, but it has since grown to include 225 titles. Recently, HeinOnline partered with Georgetown University and will add 50 new legal dictionaries over the next several months. The first wave of titles was added with October's content release and includes the following:

  • Barnabae Brissonii Regii Consistorii, Amplissmique Senatus Parisiensis Praiesidis, de Forumulis et Sollemnibus Populi Romani Verbis, Libri VIII
         1v. Parisiis: A Apud Sebastianum Niuellium, sub Ciconiis, via Iacobaea, 1583 – Barnabel Brisson
  • Compendius and Comprehensive Law Dictionary; Elucidating the Terms, and General Principles of Law and Equity
         1v. London: Gale and Fenner, 1816 – Thomas Walter Williams
  • Dictionary of the Law of Scotland
         2v. Edinburgh: Printed for John Anderson & Co., Royal Exchange and Bell & Bradfute, 1826
  • Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical, and Historical, of Commerce and Commercial Navigation: Illustrated with Maps and Plans
         1v. London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Greene, and Longman, 1834 – J.R. McCulloch
  • Dictionnaire des Fiefs et des Droits Seigneuriaux Utiles et Honorigiques, Contenant les Definitions des Termes & un Ample Recueil de Decisions Choisies, Fondees fur la Jurisprudence des Arrets, la Disposition de Differentes Coutumes
         1v. Paris: Chez Knapen, 1765 – Joseph Renauldon
  • Dizionario Portatile de Concilij
         1v. Venezia: Tommaso Bettinelli, 1775 – Pons Augustin Alletz

Legal dictionaries are designed and compiled to give information about terms used in the field of law. Monolingual dictionaries help users define complicated legal terms and understand legal matters. Bilingual law dictionaries define terms and help users understand foreign texts and acquire knowledge about foreign legal systems. Professors, lawyers, and students regularly use legal dictionaries, and the scope of historical dictionary content in HeinOnline is unique in its depth.

Use the Advanced Search tool within the full text search tab to search exclusively within the Dictionaries subcollection. For example, if you hear someone mention a criminal's modus operandi, search for this phrase to find various definitions among the legal dictionaries in HeinOnline:

Text matching the search phrase will be highlighted in yellow within the results. Click turn to page to see the search terms within any document:

Sort search results by Volume Date (Oldest First) to follow a definition's progression through time, or use the facets on the left side of the page to refine results by date or title:

While some legal dictionaries may also appear in Legal Classics, Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf is the most comprehensive source of this material within HeinOnline. Titles from Georgetown's collection will continue to be added for the next several months, and new material is always being sought after and added, so the value of a subscription to Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf will continue to increase. If you'd like to trial or purchase this collection, please contact our marketing team.

For help searching or navigating in HeinOnline, contact our support team at (800) 277-6995, email us, or chat with us!

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