HeinOnline or Google Scholar? Why You Should Start Your Research in HeinOnline First - Part II

Shortly after releasing our blog post titled "HeinOnline or Google Scholar? Why You Should Start Your Research in HeinOnline First", Google Scholar contacted us.  We want to take a moment to share with you some of the things that Google Scholar informed us of. 

First, without our knowledge or awareness, Google informed us that they created a whole new index just prior to launching the new Google Scholar search that includes legal opinions and journals.  Google indicated that they improved their indexing algorithms and subsequently rebuilt the index.  With this new index in place, Google Scholar now includes an additional 250,000 documents/sections/articles from HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library bringing the total number of documents indexed to 750,000.  We still note, that this is not comprehensive of HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library, which is comprised of more than 1 million articles, notes, comments, reviews, legislation, cases, decisions, contents, editorials and other miscellaneous documents or sections.

With the new index, Google Scholar also resolved the discrepancies found in the Cited By numbers.  Our previous example "Government Responsibility for Constitutional Torts" now indicates that it is cited by 107 documents in Google Scholar.  And, it includes "Where Rights Begin: The Problem of Burdens on the Free Exercise of Religion" which was omitted before the new index was created.

In response to our post, Google also provided more detail about how they index the metadata and why authors such as that of "W HEN" would appear in the results as an author of an article.
As mentioned in our first post, we provided the metadata for Google Scholar to crawl.  While Google Scholar does use the metadata provided, if metadata is missing, they rely on automated extraction from OCR.  This further explains how an author like W HEN could show up as an author for an article in the results.  Further to that response, they also indicated that if there were articles in the meta-data that did not include authors, those articles would not be included in the index. 

Last week, we listened in on a podcast hosted by The Law Librarian at blogtalkradio.com which focused on Google Scholar.  We want to take a moment to reflect upon this podcast by explaining a few items that some of our users have questioned.  When searching in Google Scholar you will see the results from HeinOnline displayed as "heinonlinebackup.com".  This site is an exact mirror of our primary site heinonline.org, and serves as a backup.  We have allowed Google to index our content on our mirrored site in order to maintain the performance and minimize the overall load and impact on the primary site that could be caused by the indexing process. 

Furthermore, Google Scholar only displays the first page of articles that are indexed from HeinOnline.  If you are subscribed to HeinOnline, you may have a different experience.  HeinOnline subscribers who are IP authenticated are automatically logged in to HeinOnline at which point you can read the full-text of the article.  For non-subscribers, they are only able to see the first page of the article.  If they wish to access the full-text of the article, they would need to enter a subscription.

Now that we’ve shared the feedback we received from Google Scholar, we will turn again back to our question of "HeinOnline or Google Scholar?"

Perhaps you are a librarian trying to convince your students to use HeinOnline.  Or perhaps you are an attorney trying to convince your colleagues that HeinOnline is an excellent legal research database.  Perhaps this post can help you further explain to them why they should start their research in HeinOnline first.

Why Should You Start Your Research in HeinOnline?

  1. HeinOnline has more than 50 million pages of legal history available in an image-based PDF format! 
  2. You can quickly pull up a law review article by inserting the Bluebook citation format.
  3. You can search across the full text of the law review articles, search by article title, author, document description, narrow your search to one or more publications, narrow to a date, search by U.S. State, Country or Subject area.
  4. With HeinOnline’s faceted search option in the Law Journal Library, you can quickly refine your results set.
  5. Use MyHein to create your own personal research account.  With MyHein, you can bookmark articles, add notes to your bookmarks, save search queries, and email and export bookmarks!  This means you can access your saved research anytime you are logged in to HeinOnline, eliminating the need to search for the same article every time you want to view it.
  6. Hein’s ScholarCheck is a set of tools that allow you to view journal articles that have a heavy influence on the subject you are researching.  You can quickly link to articles that cite an article you are reading, view most-cited articles first in your search results and quickly link to cited material in HeinOnline, all with the click of a mouse!
  7. With Hein’s ScholarCheck features, we help connect your research together. We will continue to connect scholarly writings to U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Statutes at Large, United Nations and League of Nations Treaties, and much more!
  8. When searching in the Law Journal Library, you can choose to include results from periodicals that are within HeinOnline’s American Law Institute, Foreign and International Law Resources Database, and Kluwer Law International Journal libraries. 
So, we close this post by asking our initial question:
HeinOnline or Google Scholar; where Should You Start?
We say HeinOnline.

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