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Full-tilt Legal Research Resources for Ordinary People


I’ve blogged before about HeinOnline, but still run into local attorneys and legal historians and legal researchers who don’t know what HeinOnline is and who don’t know they have free access to it using their public library card (see below for who is eligible):

Contains full-text databases, including:

* Law journals (issues back to their inception)

* U.S. Statutes at Large

* U.S. Presidential Library

* Federal Register (from 1936)

* Legal Classics (from the HeinOnline page: “More than 1,000 works from some of the greatest legal minds in history can be found in HeinOnline’s Legal Classics Library. In addition to many “classics” this collection also includes rare items that are found in only a handful of libraries around the world.”)

* U.S. Treaties and Agreements (TIAS from #1849, UST from 1950)

* U.S. Supreme Court cases (from 1790)

HeinOnline is pretty amazing. Heretofore, the only people who had unfettered and remote access to HeinOnline were people in large law firms, with law school library privileges, or with membership in a bar association that subscribed. Henceforth …:

Here, in the Portland Metro area, all public library cardholders can have unfettered remote access.

This INCLUDES library patrons in Multnomah County and far beyond; you just need to visit a Washington County (Oregon) public library and get yourself one of their cards.

I think everyone should have access to these materials (and more, but I’m working on that) whether they understand them or not. Understanding will come in time, or not, and in either case, making such information available to the public is this librarian’s role in informing the citizenry.

Who can get a Washington County Public Library Card? From their web page:

“… Residents of some neighboring counties may also obtain a WCCLS library card without a fee through the Metropolitan Interlibrary Exchange (MIX) agreement. This reciprocal agreement means that if you work in one county, shop in another, and go home to still another, you can use any library that you find convenient. Residents who live in Multnomah, Clackamas, or Hood River counties in Oregon, or reside in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District or the City of Camas in Washington, may obtain a WCCLS library card without paying a non-resident fee. And Washington County residents, in turn, are eligible to obtain library cards without fee at any of the public libraries in the systems listed above.

If you reside outside of Washington County or any of the MIX jurisdictions listed above, you may obtain a WCCLS non-resident library card for an annual fee of $70. This entitles you to use the collections and services of any WCCLS member library. (WCCLS non-resident cardholders are not included in the MIX agreement).”

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