Frequently Asked Questions – Searching

How do I search by Author?

HeinOnline indexes author names as they appear in the original copy of a title/article. Some author names may contain middle initials, only the first initial of their first name, or both first and middle initials. An author could be displayed in the index in one or more of the following formats:

  • Last Name, First Name (ex: Cheffins, Brian)
  • Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial (ex: Franck, Susan D.)
  • Last Name, First Initial, Middle Initial (ex: Robertson, A. H.)
  • Last Name, First Initial (ex: Miller, S.)
  • Last Name, First Initial, Middle Name (ex: Miller, S. Elizabeth)

You can search for authors multiple ways.

Article Authors

From the Welcome Page, click the Advanced Search link located beneath the main search bar. Use the Author field and enter the author's name, then click Search. Name order does not matter: Paul Finkelman and Finkelman, Paul will return the same list of results.

You can also enter the Law Journal Library, select Advanced Search and use the Author/Creator field:

Book Authors

Search for book authors using the Catalog Search tab from anywhere in HeinOnline. Click the Advanced Catalog Search link beneath the search bar and enter the author's name in the Author field and click Search:

How do I search within results?

If you have a search that generated a large number of results and you want to find a specific term within those results, this option allows you to do that. Or, if you have a complex query, you can start with an initial smaller query and then search within those results for additional terms. The "search within results" icon can be found at the top of your search results, next to the "Sort by" option:

You can modify the current search terms using the "Modify Search" icon, located in the same area:

How do I email search results?

After conducting a search, you should see your results listed with check boxes next to each result. Select the check boxes next to the results you would like to email, scroll to the last result and you should see a drop down menu. From the drop down, select "Email Selected Results" You will then be prompted for your name, email and optional message to include with the search results.

You can also e-mail a direct link to a specific result using the Email icon from either search results or from inside a document:

This icon will enable you to send a direct link to an item that falls within the 200 page limit to another user. The end user does not need to be authenticated to HeinOnline in order to use the link, which will be active for 7 days from the day the email is sent. For users who receive the link and are authenticated to HeinOnline, the link will not expire.

How Do I Use Proximity Searching to find a Phrase Within 10 words of Another Phrase or Word?

Proximity searching only allows you to find terms that appear within a certain number of words of each other.  The proximity symbol in HeinOnline is the tilde symbol, ~ .  To do a proximity search, put all key terms that you want in the query within quotation marks, followed by the tilde ~ and the numerical value that represents the proximity you wish to search.

For example, to find "safety standards" and "consumer products" within 10 words of each other, we have to structure our search to look for safety, standards, consumer, and products within 10 words of each other. To do this, you would insert the following syntax in the search box:

"safety standards consumer products"~10

How do I search Across a Specific Day in the Federal Register?

In building a search, you can use the "coverage" field to narrow results to a specific day. The coverage field includes the following data for each day of the federal register; the month, day, year, and the page range. When you view a search result from the Federal Register, the "coverage" is the 2nd line that is displayed in each search result. For example, if you look at this search result, the coverage is "Tuesday, March 4, 1975, pages 8931-10164".

Therefore, to search for a phrase (we are going to use "Federal Railroad Administration") in the Federal Register from March 4, 1975, you would use the following search syntax in the main search bar:

coverage:"March 4, 1975" AND "Federal Railroad Administration"

NOTE: When inserting the date into the coverage field, use the format as illustrated in the example, March 4, 1975.

You can also click the Advanced Search link and select the date option for any of the search fields:

How do I Locate a Slip Opinion by Case Name or Number?

Search by Case Number

To do this, open the U.S. Supreme Court Library in HeinOnline. Then click on the search tab and click on the Advanced Search link.

The U.S. Reports Slip Opinion numbers in HeinOnline are all tagged as descriptions, thus allowing us to search across the "description" field for the number.

NOTE: To search across the description field, we must use the advanced search option.

For example, to find 07-290, enter the following:

Search by Case Name

Use the Case Title field to search for this case by name:

How do I Build a Wildcard Search?

Wildcard Searching allows you to find various formations of a word, such as the plural or past tense of a word. For example, you may want to find references to the Clayton Act and all variations of the term interlock (interlocks, interlocking, interlocked). We have outlined some basic rules below for using wildcards, as well as a few examples.

HeinOnline supports single-character and multiple-character wildcard searches within single terms (not within phrase queries). To perform a single-character wildcard search, use the "?" symbol in place of the single character you wish to replace. To perform a multiple-character wildcard search, use the "*" symbol to look for zero or more characters. You can use wildcard searches at the end or in the middle of a term. You cannot use a "*" or "?" symbol as the first character of a search term. Let's take a look at a few examples.

Single-Character Wildcard Search:

We want to find articles and legislation in the Law Journal Library focused on women’s rights. To ensure we get the best set of results, we want to construct our search to find all formations of the term “woman” (woman, women) in the article title. Enter the following syntax into the advanced search box:
title: wom?n AND title:rights

Multiple-Character Wildcard Search:

We want to find all references to emissions reduction or emission reductions within recent law journal articles relevant to environmental law from 2010-2015. Enter the following syntax into the search box.

Full Text: emission* AND reduction* AND Article Title: environment*

To narrow the search to look for articles specific to environmental law, we have added syntax to the search query to look for articles that have the key term “environment” or “environmental” within the Article Title. We did this using a wildcard character, environment*.  In this search query, it’s important to remember that wildcard searching will only search within single terms, so our results will include all occurrences of emission* and reduction* (they will not necessarily appear as a phrase). Also, enter your desired year range in the Date boxes:

Using Syntax and Field Searching in the Main Full Text Search Bar

General Rules:
* The query will search across both the full text and metadata of all HeinOnline documents, unless you otherwise specify a field such as “creator”.
* The query will look across all titles in that collection, unless a title is otherwise specified.
* The query will look across all years available, unless a year/year range is otherwise specified.
* Use quotes to form a phrase, “Right to Privacy” vs. Right to Privacy.
* Use capitalized Boolean operators to combine search terms, for example “intellectual property” AND “international law”.
* The search results are sorted by relevancy by default; results can be resorted by various other criteria once the initial results display.


Word Search: To search for a word across the full text of a collection, simply enter the word into the search box. Example: graffiti

Phrase Search: To narrow our above query, let’s expand our term to a phrase, graffiti artist, and enclose it in quotations. Example: “graffiti artist”

Title Search: If we want to find articles that contain the term “graffiti” in the title, then we must specify the title field in our query. Example: title:graffiti

Author Search: To search for an author, we must specify the author field in our query. Example: creator:”White, Rob”

Combined Search Terms (Multiple Fields): Use boolean operaters to combine two search terms. Example: creator:”White, Rob” AND title:graffiti

Wildcard Searching: It is also possible to do a wildcard search using the main search bar. When submitting a wildcard search, follow the rules noted above. Example: graffiti AND art*

Proximity Searching: You can also do a proximity search in the main search bar. To illustrate this, we will use the phrase “Reforming International Law”. The phrase itself, in its entirety, returns 12 results. However, if we search for these terms within 10 words of each other, we will expand the breadth of our results. Example: “reforming international law”~10

How do I Search for a specific date, page number, and term in the Congressional Record?

When searching for a specific date using the Section Date field, you must enter the date in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY (i.e. 11/14/2000).

If you want to see everything that took place on November 14th, 2000, you can simply run a search for the date. To run this search using the Advanced Search option, enter 11/14/2000 into the first search box, select Section Date from the drop down menu, and select Congressional Record from the title listing:

Now, let's narrow our search to look specifically for the Senate Amendment on page 26099.

Enter 11/14/2000 into the first search field, select Section Date from the drop down menu. In the next row, select Text from the dropdown, and enter 26099 into the search box. In the next row, select text from the dropdown, and enter "Senate Amendment to H.R. 4986" into the search box.  Select Congressional Record from the title listing and click search.

How do I find a Public Law Prior to the 57th Congress?

Use the citation navigator tool in the U.S. Statutes at Large Library to locate a public law prior to the 57th Congress.

Open U.S. Statutes at Large, and click the Citation tab, and then the Citation Navigator link from beneath the search bar.  You will see three citation navigator options. To find laws prior to the 57th Congress, use the navigator labeled "1st – 56th Congress". Type the Chapter number into the chapter number box and enter year in Year Enacted Box.  Click search and you will be taken to the public law you are looking for.

What is an external section type?

The External section type contains links to law review articles that do not reside inside the HeinOnline database. These are electronically published law review articles, usually not distributed in print format and only made available online via the web. As these articles do not fit the typical structure of a bound book with pagination, they do not work within the HeinOnline database model. Therefore, we have included links to these articles in the search results in order to provide you with even greater access to resources that supplement the content available in HeinOnline. Providing links to external law review articles allows you to conduct your research in one place and on one website.

The only time you will receive search results that include external articles is if you conduct a creator/author or title search and choose to search across External or All section types. The title and creator/author fields are the only meta-data input into HeinOnline for external law review articles. Therefore, if you conduct a text search across all section types in the Journals Library, your results will not include any external articles. If you conduct a title or author search across all section types, your results may include links to external articles.

Searching across the External section type can be useful if you are looking for a specific article written by an author and are unable to find the full text article in HeinOnline.

External journals are intended to provide you with access to more research materials in one place, thus optimizing your time spent researching on the web.

How do I Search and Use Boolean Operators?

When forming a search query using the main search bar and Advanced Search options, you must use Boolean Operators (AND, +, OR, NOT, -) to combine multiple terms and you must capitalize the operators. Additionally, quotations are important when searching for a phrase or multiple phrases. Below are a few tips for building search queries using the Advanced and One-box search options.

Tip #1 – Boolean Operators must be all CAPITALS. Use AND vs. and, OR vs. or, NOT vs. not. Using lower case operators can greatly impact the quantity and quality of your search results.

Example: "power imbalance” OR “power balance in mediation"

Tip #2 – A phrase must be enclosed with “quotation marks”. When building a search query, use quotations around a phrase to ensure that the query searches the specified field for the entire phrase and to ensure that your results include documents containing the entire phrase. In the absence of quotation marks, the field is only valid for the term that it directly precedes.

Example: "global warming"

The above tips are applicable when building a search query in the One-box or Advanced Search options; Advanced Search boxes also offer built-in metadata fields and boolean operators:

How do I find information on a certain topic?

Let’s say you’re tasked with finding law review articles about implementation of the Affordable Care Act. You can do a search across all collections from the stationary main search bar, which is ocated at the top of all pages in HeinOnline, for “affordable care act” AND implement*. Note that the phrase “affordable care act” must use quotation marks, as do all phrases for which you are searching in HeinOnline. The * after implement* is a wildcard indicator, so your search will find all variations of implement: implementation, implementing, and so forth.

This search will generate several thousand results. To narrow to articles in the Law Journal Library, you can use the facets on the left side of the page:

If desired, you can also narrow your results to a date range from these facets as well.

Alternatively, you can enter the Law Journal Library first, and then perform the same search in the main search bar, which becomes collection-specific:

Or, select Advanced Search to display search fields, title and subject selection options, and date range boxes.

From here, you can review your results and decide whether to narrow your search by adding additional terms, phrases, etc

I have a citation. Is there a way to use that citation to find what I need?

From the HeinOnline Welcome Page, click the Citation tab:

Enter a citation and click Search to be directed to the exact page in HeinOnline. If you are not sure of the citation format, click Citation Format Guide and use the alphabetical index to find the title you need. Clicking on the title will display the correct Bluebook citation and boxes in which you can enter the volume and page number to find your citation:

As the main search bar and its tabbed options remain stationary, this tool can be accessed from anywhere in HeinOnline. If a collection has its own citation navigator, a Citation Navigator link will appear underneath the main search bar, or the citation navigator itself will be displayed prominently on the collection homepage.

How do I find a House or Senate report in HeinOnline?

Are you looking for a particular House or Senate report in HeinOnline, possibly to help determine the legislative intent behind a law? Depending on the information you have, there are different ways to search for these reports, which are almost always going to be located inside a compiled legislative history.

The best and fastest way to find out if a House or Senate report is available in HeinOnline is to determine whether a compiled legislative history for the public law associated with the report is included in the database. For instance, if you are looking for House Report Number 106-778 from the 106th Congress, second session and you know that it pertains to Public Law Number 106-523, try the following:

Enter the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library and select the Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories DatabaseChoose Browse by Congress and select the 106th Congress. Using your find function (Ctrl+F), search for 106-523 and you will see the public law number and the title of the public law:

Click the title of the public law, to see the relevant material which pertains to it:

In this case, you will see there is a compiled legislative history available on this public law; click the title link to open this publication. If you expand the volume's contents, and use your find function to search for 106-778, you'll be directed to this House report:

It is also possible to search for a House or Senate report if you do not know the number or title of the public law with which the report is associated. In the example above, if you have the report number (106-778) and the date of the report (July 20, 2000) and you know that the report pertains to the Armed Forces, you could run a search across all subscribed collections as follows: "106-778" AND "July 20, 2000" AND "armed forces". This will generate these results, and because you already know that these reports are likely to be found inside a compiled legislative history, you could narrow these results significantly by choosing the U.S. Federal Legislative History collection from the facets on the left side of the screen. Of the six remaining results, you can see the first result is House Report No. 106-778:

Also, you have the option of entering the House report number in the title field in the Advanced Search tool in the U.S. Federal Legislative History library, and selecting only House/Senate reports: