Introduction to HeinOnline

Did you ever want to know if New Jersey ever outlawed Witchcraft?[1] Or why King Henry VIII was able to dress so much better than his subjects?[2] If you had attended the “Introduction to HeinOnline” class given on March 10, 2016, at the New Jersey State Library as part of its LunchTime Learning Program, you could have found out.

HeinOnline is a legal research database, organized into different collections, such as the Law Journal Library with over 2,200 law and law-related periodicals, the Federal Register Library, which includes every issue of the Federal Register ever published, and the Code of Federal Regulations collection, which includes every version of the CFR back to its inception in 1938. Older material is available through some of HeinOnline’s other collections, such as the “State Statutes: A Historical Archive” collection which has historical compilations of statutes from every state, some going back to the 1700s. The Session Law Library and Statutes of the Realm collections include even older material.

The “Introduction to HeinOnline” class demonstrated how to access these collections either remotely or by using computers available in the State Library. The class also showed how your search results could be downloaded, emailed or saved to your MyHein account.

One of HeinOnline’s most attractive features is that all of the documents are available in PDF format, so you can see how the documents actually looked when they were originally published. This preserves any charts or graphs that might have appeared in original the document.  In older documents, you can also see the original typeface, such as in the first Chapter Law passed in the Province of New Jersey in 1703 during the Reign of Queen Anne:

HeinOnline - First Chapter Law, 1703
The first Chapter Law passed in the Province of New Jersey, in 1703.


[1] By searching for “witchcraft” in the State Statutes collection, and limiting your search to “New Jersey,” you could discover that the “General Assembly of the Province of New-Caesarea, or New-Jersey” had passed a law in 1688 that said “If any Person be found to be a Witch, either Male or Female, they shall be put to Death.”

The General Assembly was equally hard on children who smited or cursed their parents – they were also to be put to death.

[2] According to 1 Henry VIII, Chapter 14, available in the Statutes of the Realm collection, only the royal family could wear “Clothe of golde of Purpoure Coloure or Sylke of Purpoure Coloure.”