We’ve recently learned that HeinOnline’s “U.S. Congressional Documents” library offers browsable copies of the Congressional Record Index. Given proposals to axe many print copies of the Congressional Record, there is concern that, among other things, we could lose ready access to the great research tool that is the Index. Last year, we researched dozens of wilderness-related bills in the 1950s-1960s. Initially, title searching in Congressional documents databases did not identify them all, because a few of the earlier bills were captioned as “forestry”—a fact discovered by using the print version of the Congressional Record Index. So, we are relieved that HeinOnline has preserved the Index’s utility with browsable PDFs. To boot, they do a great job with metadata structuring. Each letter within an Index may be accessed via separate hyperlink. As one browses, the list of hyperlinks remains visible along the left of the screen, allowing for easy navigation. Thank you, HeinOnline!
Mainly for its debate team – see below.
There are numerous ways to keep up with developments in legal bibliography and legal research. Blogs bring lots of news about legal research plus more. Twitter is great for breaking developments and news (some of my favorites here include @aabibliographer, @EJWalters, @glambert, @jasnwilsn, and the amazingly good @lawlib). Visiting the vendor booths and demonstrations at the conference exhibit hall, while one of my very least-favorite things to do, is also useful for learning the latest and greatest.
But there’s no substitute for face-to-face meetings with vendor representatives. Here at Stanford we always look forward to our more-or-less annual visit from Steve Roses, our HeinOnline representative. Steve is personable, highly intelligent, and shares his passion for his products with us — he’s less a salesperson and more a partner in our research efforts. And we always learn something new. During Steve’s last visit here, while we were chatting about this and that, Steve mentioned that Hein had just acquired its first high school customer, a high school in Texas. I found that tidbit intriguing and shared it with my class; one of the students later e-mailed me a note, “I have a friend who went to [that high school*]. It’s a very achievement oriented high school!”
*The school wishes to remain anonymous.
I shared that information with Steve and he recently wrote to me that Hein now has its second high school customer: Loyola High School in Los Angeles.
The school’s library director, April Hannah, reports that the school acquired the database primarily for its debate team and she is delighted that she can provide an affordable legal database to the team and its coaches (they just can’t afford LexisNexis she wrote in an e-mail).
I’m really impressed. How many times have we reference librarians received a request from a patron who was looking for a certain law review article and threw up their hands saying “I couldn’t find it in Lexis or Westlaw.” So many students find LexisNexis and Westlaw to be the be-all and end-all for, well, everything. It’s always a pleasant revelation when we show the students (and faculty) how they can locate secondary sources plus a huge corpus of law review content, read compiled legislative histories, find the Federal Register going back to the beginning of time, plus lots more, and all without worrying, or even thinking about, search charges.
And I just can’t wait until the kids from Loyola High School make their way to law school!
(The high school, by the way, was the subject of a MSNBC segment on community service – you can watch the clip here:
Jurisdocs, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 5-11, Spring 2008
GALEN L. FLETCHER, Brigham Young University – J. Reuben Clark Law School
This article/handout highlights the increasing federal government document content in the HeinOnline database.
HeinOnline includes GPO-originated content useful to law librarians in the areas of 1) federal statutes, 2) federal regulations, 3) the Congressional Record and its predecessors, 4) U.S. Reports, 5) Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (1931-2004) and similar titles, 6) U.S. treaties, 7) Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (all eight editions), 8 ) many major federal agency decisions (commerce, communication, copyright, labor, patents, securities, tax, and trade), 9) Foreign Relations of the United States, and 10) almost 70 compiled federal legislative histories. All of the above (plus various journals and books relating to law published by the U.S. Government Printing Office) are available in PDF format and indexed on this legal research database.
Source: LSN Legal Writing Vol. 3 No. 15, 08/18/2008