A Closer Look at HeinOnline's Subject Compilations of State Laws Database

January 27, 2022


In recent years, we've beefed up our remote offerings in order to better serve legal researchers in all corners of Texas. You may be familiar with our popular remote legal databases like Fastcase or AILALink, but we have so much more to offer! We thought we'd take the opportunity to highlight several resources available from the library that you may not know about, so be on the lookout for more Spotlight posts about these resources in the future.

One such resource is HeinOnline's Subject Compilations of State Laws database, a resource indispensable to anyone interested in researching how laws vary from state to state. Previously, this database was online available in the library, but we've recently made it available for remote access. Read on for some tips about using the Subject Compilation of State Laws!


The Subject Compilation of State Laws (SCSL) is a collection of annotated records of various books, articles, surveys, legal opinions, government documents, publications, and other sources for comparisons of state laws in the U.S., organized by subject. Hein's database is a searchable online version of Cheryl Nyberg's twenty-volume Subject Compilations Bibliography SeriesThis series dates back to the 1960s, and the most recent volume in this collection is from 2017 to 2018.

Users can browse and search more than 27,000 annotated bibliographic records on almost 1,300 subjects, according to Hein's LibGuide for the Subject Compilation of State Laws. Additionally, users can access an online version of all twenty original print volumes through the database. 

This resource is incredibly helpful for research on current and historical state laws on a vast number of subjects, from appellate procedures to capital punishment to workers' compensation and everything in between. Each record includes a citation, a thorough annotation of the resource, and a list of associated main and related subjects. A researcher can easily find tables and charts that list state statutes and administrative rules on a particular subject for all fifty states along with articles and publications that help contextualize the differences. 

Using SCSL

You can find Hein's Subject Compilations of State Laws listed on our Digital Collection page in the Access Databases section. It's also listed on the HeinOnline page of our Electronic Databases guide under "U.S. State Content". Note that you will need a current library account to access HeinOnline and other resources in our Digital Collections, so if you don't already have one or need to renew your old account, visit our Get a Library Account page first.


Hein gives you the option to approach browsing in several different ways. If you want to browse a full list of every subject listed from AIDS to Zoos, you can hit the "Browse the Subjects" button to view the list.

If you are an old-school researcher who prefers to browse the print version of these volumes, there's an option for you as well. Hein includes a version of all of the original print volumes available for browsing with the ability to search the entire set. Click on the "Browse Subject Compilations of State Laws (Print Ed.)" button on the SCSL page in Hein; you can find it next to the "Browse the Subjects" button. 


You can use the search field at the top to run a basic keyword search or construct a more advanced search by using multiple fields to control for keywords, subjects, articles and journal titles, cases, courts, or entry numbers. You also have the option of restricting your search to periodicals available in Hein by checking a box above the "Search" button.

The "Venn Diagram" search option is also particularly helpful. It allows you to join multiple search terms together with AND and then toggle between lists of search results that include a combination of the terms or the terms by themselves. An example would be a search for the terms "felony AND voting"; I can switch between the lists of results for items that include the term "felony" (2,470 results), "voting" (1,805 results), and both "felony and voting" (475 results). 

Accessing Sources

The SCSL features annotated records for a wide variety of different sources that collate laws and regulations in all fifty states across the U.S, including law review articles, books, government documents and publications, court opinions, and surveys compiled by legal databases like Westlaw and LexisNexis. Many of the sources listed in the SCSL database, like the law journal articles, are accessible right within Hein. If a source is available in Hein, it will be linked directly in the SCSL record.

Other sources can be accessed through our other remote resources or accessed elsewhere online. For example, Fastcase is a great remote resource for finding court opinions, and articles published in a university law journal may be available online in the university's digital repository if you can't find it in Hein. If you need help tracking down a source, reach out to us!

For more navigation tips and insight on the features available in this database, HeinOnline's LibGuide for SCSL is a great resource. We'd also love to assist you with any questions you may have about using SCSL, or help you locate any sources you may find listed, so don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian!

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