Book It to the Legal Classics Library

3 MIN READ

By now you probably know that HeinOnline contains thousands of multidisciplinary periodicals, essential government documents, international resources, and case law. But did you know it also contains tens of thousands of classic treatises and rare books that can be found in only a handful of libraries around the world? These gems can be found in HeinOnline’s Legal Classics library and are filled with works from some of the greatest minds in history. Let’s explore this underestimated database.

You Gatsby Kidding Me

The Legal Classics library was launched in 2005 with just 100 titles across 300,000 pages. Today, this expansive collection contains more than 19,000 titles across 11 million pages. Here are some noteworthy additions over the last few years:

  • Law Academy Project: Compiled by editor Dr. Joel Fishman, this is a comprehensive collection of works exploring the history of the Law Academy of Philadelphia, one of the first law schools in the United States.
  • Welsh Legal History Society Publications: Explore Welsh Legal History Society publications, including essays and monographs covering a variety of periods and subjects.
  • The Great Gatsby: Frequently spotted in high school English courses or on “classic books” lists, The Great Gatsby has been a staple 20th-century American novel for nearly 100 years. Now you can find it in HeinOnline.
  • George Wythe Collection: Find Western classics on history, philosophy, science, mathematics, and law. It includes both inventory titles inherited from Wythe and surviving books which belonged to Wythe, the first American law professor.

We also have works of Bernard Schwartz, a prolific legal scholar and historian known for his work on American administrative and constitutional law and the Supreme Court. What’s more, in just a few days, we’ll have a 21-volume set of Gustavus Schdmidt‘s legal briefs. Schmidt was a well-known American lawyer and lecturer on civil law who founded Louisiana Law School in New Orleans, one of the predecessors of the Tulane University School of Law. He also founded the Louisiana Law Journal.

Lit-erally, Where Do I Start?

Now that we have your attention, you’re probably wondering how to peruse through 19,000 titles. You should know by now your friends at HeinOnline have your back. Not only did we create subcollections for the bigger collections listed above, but we also give users the ability to browse by title, author, date, but more importantly subject!

To get a nice overview of what subjects are available, select Browse by Subject, then ALL from the A-Z Index, and Count. Title counts will appear next to each subject. Unsurprisingly, among the subjects with the most corresponding titles are lawyers and constitutional law!

image of how to find subjects within the Legal Classics Library using the A-Z Index

HeinOnline’s rich metadata and handy tools provide an efficient research experience. For example, run a search for “election law.” From the results page, users have the ability to refine by MARC subject, or Location, Organization, and Person, all of which are extracted from natural language processing and machine learning.

image of options to refine results in HeinOnline's Legal Classics library

Curious what others are reading? These are the top 4 books read in the Legal Classics library in the past year:

ICYDK

There are nearly 93,000 books* in HeinOnline, but Legal Classics is a real page turner. It surpasses all other databases in terms of the number of books it holds. Let’s compare the numbers across some of our HeinOnline databases:

*Subscribers of the U.S. Congressional Documents and GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions will notice a higher number of books, because congressional hearings, CRS Reports, and GAO Reports are technically categorized as books; these items were not counted as traditional books for the purpose of this post.

The HeinOnline catalog is a great way to find books on a specific subject or research topic. For example, you can search the catalog for “Abraham Lincoln” and refine the Publication Type to show books.

Treat Yo’ Shelf

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