Hein Has Acquired the Current Index to Legal Periodicals!

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At the beginning of February, we announced that William S. Hein & Co., Inc. & HeinOnline has acquired the rights to the University of Washington Gallagher Law Library’s Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP). HeinOnline is very excited to reinstate this essential product for members of the legal field.

Whether you are familiar with CILP or a newcomer, we know you will have a lot of questions about the publication and how it will work as a product of Hein. Keep reading for an overview of Current Index to Legal Periodicals, its history, and the details of HeinOnline’s acquisition of the product.

What Is Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP)?

Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP) is a publication that has been issued by the University of Washington School of Law’s Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library for nearly 90 years. Maintained diligently by an experienced team of editors, the publication indexes the most recent issues of primarily American law journals by subject heading. Since the 1960s, the index has been sent to its subscribers on a weekly basis.

Through CILP, law professors, lawyers, and law librarians receive timely topical access to more than 650 legal publications organized within 104 relevant subject headings. Also included are complete tables of contents from all journals indexed, as well as Bluebook citations.

A Brief History of the Publication

The Beginning of CILP

Current Index to Legal Periodicals began in the 1930s as an internal publication for faculty at the University of Washington School of Law. Issues during this early period were released as “onionskin” carbon copies, and only covered three or four journals categorized under fewer than 10 subject headings. The publication was irregular, appearing every week or two as journals came in.

During the 1940s, the U.S. saw an immense expansion in legal scholarship and publication. Each year saw the publication of a new American law journal, almost all focusing on general legal topics rather than honing in on a specific subject. Amidst this flood of general legal information, practitioners and scholars began to find it difficult to track down the most recent articles pertaining to their specialization in the field.

Meanwhile, the University of Washington Law Library continued to subject-categorize the most recent issues of law journals that it received. The value of CILP was soon recognized in the greater law library community, and in 1958, the University of Washington began to sell its publication as an annual subscription for just $4.00 a year. A decade later, CILP became a regular weekly publication on which law librarians, professors, lawyers, and other legal scholars began to heavily rely.


Clip in the Digital Age

The 1980s brought significant changes to the fields of legal publishing, research, and practice as the use of computers became widespread. Current Index to Legal Periodicals was no exception. Beginning with the April 2, 1982 issue, CILP was published in a new computerized printing format. Just as another boom in legal scholarship began—the publication of more specialized law journals—CILP became much easier to use.

Even as the number of journals in each issue greatly increased, a small but dedicated team of editors continued their indexing, manually assigning subjects to every article. Many subscribers still received the mailed version of the index, but it took two to three weeks to arrive. Subscribers soon preferred the newer electronic version which allowed users to easily browse the most recent legal journal articles by subject area or by journal title, as well as download entire Bluebook citations. To continuously improve its ease of access, CILP transitioned into floppy disk and then email distribution, as well.

By 1996, many schools were receiving Current Index to Legal Periodicals in a weekly email message or a downloadable file. That year, the University of Washington Law Library accommodated the trend of subject specialization in the legal field with the introduction of SmartCILP—the same weekly index but tailored to include the subscriber’s chosen subjects and journals.

Today, Current Index to Legal Periodicals has evolved into an essential current awareness tool for legal scholars. Moreover, the back issues of CILP present a critical historical artifact that reflects the changes in legal scholarship not only over the years or months, but down to nearly any week in question.

HeinOnline’s Acquisition of the Product

The William S. Hein Company and HeinOnline are proud to continue the publication of this crucial resource for legal scholars. Under Hein’s direction, the function and purpose of CILP will remain exactly the same—to provide a weekly, subject-categorized index of the most recent law journal issues. As a token of appreciation for your patience with us during CILP’s transition to Hein ownership, we are happy to provide all existing and previous customers with complimentary service through the end of June 2020. 

During and after CILP’s transition, users can expect that all the features and benefits of CILP that were previously included in the publication will remain exactly the same. To address specific concerns subscribers may have about this transition, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.


“The University of Washington Gallagher Law Library has proudly upheld the tradition of providing access to legal scholarship for almost 90 years through CILP. As law review publishing takes new forms and scholars want information in new ways, we are thrilled to be able to transition CILP to Hein so they can take this invaluable resource to the next level. They are an ideal company to carry the torch, and I am excited to see where they take this service.”

Jonathan Franklin, Associate Dean for Library and Information Systems
University of Washington School of Law/Gallagher Law Library


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Hein really providing free access until the end of June 2020?
Yes, all current subscribers and previously canceled customers will receive complimentary access for the first several months.


What will a subscription cost after June 2020?
The subscription rate will remain identical to the previous fee under the University of Washington’s ownership.


Who will be indexing the product now that Hein has acquired CILP?
We are proud to announce that the previous editorial staff (Cynthia Fester, Tania Schriwer, and Ingrid Holmlund), who have decades of combined experience editing for the University of Washington Gallagher Law Library, will continue to index each issue of CILP under Hein.


Will CILP index the articles that were published during the hiatus?
Yes, CILP will close the gap on the articles that were published during the hiatus. The service will not directly pick up where it left off, but will include additional content in the upcoming issues until the gap is closed.


Will the SmartCILP feature continue to be offered via Hein?
Yes, we will continue to offer all features and benefits the product previously included. Moving forward, we are also seeking to expand the product to provide additional benefits.


Will institutions need to register for new profiles?
No, all existing credentials for CILP will continue to operate as expected.


Where should new faculty go to register for SmartCILP?
During the transitional period of migrating the CILP platform into HeinOnline, new or current users should continue to utilize their SmartCILP profiles via the University of Washington. We are actively working on rebuilding the platform directly in HeinOnline and will notify customers when they will be able to access SmartCILP within HeinOnline.


Still Have Questions? Call Us.

For any questions that still remain regarding Hein’s acquisition of CILP or the product’s use, users may always contact our dedicated support team. Call us at 800-277-6995, email us at holsupport@wshein.com, or chat directly with a HeinOnline expert.


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