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Searching 101

Whether you are new to HeinOnline or a regular user who needs to brush up on their skills, this LibGuide covers the basics of searching.


Basic Database Structure

HeinOnline libraries are also referred to as “databases.” Each library/database contains titles. Each title may have one or more volumes. Within a volume, there may be sections, and each section has its own metadata.

Sections and Metadata

When applicable, volumes are broken down into sections based on their content. Each HeinOnline library contains different section types based on the content within that library. For instance, the Law Journal Library contains the following section types:

  • Articles
  • Notes
  • Decisions
  • Cases
  • Editorials
  •  Comments
  • Reviews
  • Legislation
  • Contents
  • Miscellaneous

Example Library Structure

Below is the structure of data available in the Law Journal Library. In this library, there are:

  • Titles
  • Volumes
  • Section types
  • Metadata fields

How Sections/Metadata Translate Into Search Options

In any HeinOnline library, use the Advanced Search link located beneath the main search bar to open advanced searching options, including search fields, section type selectors, and subject and title pickers. Search fields correspond with the metadata available in each library. The Law Journal Library is used below as an example.


1. Search across metafields including:

  • Text
  • Article Title
  • Author/Creator
  • Descriptionn
  • State
  • Country
  • Date 
  • DOI

2. Select one or more PathFinder subjects titles to search within

3. Select one or more titles to search within

4. Specify a date range

5. Narrow your search to include only specific section types

Metadata in Electronic Table of Contents

The electronic table of contents in a volume identifies metadata fields that can be searched for a given title. For example, below the table of contents is listed on the left. Highlighted in gold is the section currently being viewed. Section information includes metadata fields such as article title, and author/creator. 

Italics type denotes a section’s description. See the note section featured below.