Resource Review: HeinOnline’s New Categories

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Picking up where we left off last year, this issue highlights another change that Hein has made to HeinOnline. Users have always had the ability to use the “topics” Hein assigned to articles included in the database.  Topics could be used to filter a search, perform an advanced search, or to get a better idea of what an article covered.  Topics were also displayed on Author Profile pages to show the areas of the author’s scholarship.  The problem was that the number of topics had grown to over 1,500 and was becoming cumbersome.

An inverse pyramid with the word "categories" on top, the word "subjects" in the middle, and the word "topics" on the bottom.Hein’s answer was to create a hierarchy (shown to the right) so users could “drill down” to topics.  At the top of the hierarchy are five Categories.  The intermediate layer consists of 38 Subjects.  And then, at the bottom, are the 1,500 Topics.  In the Law Journal Library, subjects are now displaying in the search results (shown) and can be clicked to bring up all items in those classifications.

Search result showing both the subject and topic tags which are hyperlinks.

For more information, see Hein’s blog post at:

NOTE: Hein’s blog shows the new hierarchy in use as after-search filters (“facets”).  As of press time, that feature had been withdrawn for refinement and additional development.  No date for return of this feature could be provided other than to keep an eye on Hein’s blog.