Researching Natural Disasters in HeinOnline

Current Events, Exploring HeinOnline, Searching
Lauren Mattiuzzo

Natural disasters can devastate people and businesses. In the past month, news stations have broadcasted the destructive effect that Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria have had on the southeast portion of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Congressional Service Reports provide insight on and reports discussing the laws related to natural disasters and what effect these hurricanes can have on Congress. HeinOnline contains a multitude of documents pertaining to natural disasters.

Search Across All Databases

To begin, conduct a search throughout all the databases in HeinOnline. Use the Full Text tab shown in the main search bar. Enter (“Disaster Response” OR “Disaster Assistance”) AND Flood AND Insurance into the search bar.

Results show the terms searched highlighted in yellow. From here, refine your search results using the facets on the left side of the page. U.S. Congressional Documents contains the greatest number of documents. Select this database to view its contents.

Several House Reports are available which pertain to the search query. To look specifically for Congressional Research Service reports, click the downward facing arrow icon in the toolbar to Search Within Results.

Next, using the Text option from the drop-down menu, search for “Congressional Research Service” and click the search button.

Using the Date facet on the left side of the page, select documents dated from 2010 to current.

Results will list multiple Congressional Research Service reports relating to the topic of natural disasters. See an example below.

Search Within the Law Journal Library

Alternatively, users can search in specific databases to receive more limited search results. For example, search within the Law Journal Library to find scholarly articles on the topic of natural disasters. Use the same query in the Law Journal Library’s Full Text tab.

Within these results, use the facets on the left to narrow down the number of documents. Choose Articles from Section TypeDisaster law from Topic, and FEMA from the Organization facet. Learn more about these new topic and entity facets from this recent blog post.

Inside articles, users will notice a More Like This button. Utilize this button to find articles similar to the one being viewed. This tool pulls out “interesting words” from the article.

Adjust the boost factors on these words, or add new terms to change the scope of results.

Search within Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies

Conduct another quick search in the Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies database. Using the Advanced Search option, type “natural disasters” in the keywords search bar.

Within these results, there are a few interesting titles relating to the search topic. One document is titled Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned. Click on the title to view the Government Printing Office’s PDF or the HeinOnline version, which provides full indexing.

Also listed in the results is the title Faces of Recovery: Puerto Rico, Hurricane Georges, September, 1998 which relates to the search topic and the devastation Puerto Rico is currently experiencing today.

If you need help exploring this topic, or with searching and navigating in HeinOnline, contact our dedicated support team at (800) 277-6995, by email, or live chat!

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