HeinOnline is the hidden gem of our database offerings at the Riverside County Law Library. I tend to forget about all that it offers only to rediscover its broad historical and academic content and vanish down a computer rabbit hole once again. I was happy to attend a free webinar introducing their Social Justice Suite of databases. These are available not only to subscribers and law library patrons. Community organizations, schools, and libraries can also sign up for this collection free of charge and access its content as well as links to relevant resources, their monthly newsletter and webinars.
The Social Justice Suite is composed of five collections:
1.) Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture and Law: Essential legal materials related to the history of slavery in the US and English-speaking world including statutes, cases, essays, and every English language commentary written before 1920. The bulk of material is from the US, but the collection also features discussions of slavery during WW2 and modern-day human trafficking. This collection contains both legal materials and materials published in non-legal spheres. Some of the material, especially the autobiographies and individual court cases are heart-wrenching to read.
2.) Gun Regulation and Legislation in America: Includes legislative histories, leading periodicals, congressional hearings, and reports and briefs filed in gun control cases. As gun laws change quickly in the US, this database is frequently updated.
3.) Civil Rights and Social Justice: Features Congressional hearings, legislative histories on landmark legislation, Congressional research and GAO (Government Accountability Office) reports, briefs from major Supreme Court cases and civil rights publications. This database also includes a vast number of foreign materials.
4.) LGBTQ+ Rights: This collection presents a legal history of the rights movement and examines the inequalities that still exist today. Content is grouped into subtopics such as health, family, employment, etc. for ease of research. Every section includes historical attitudes, analysis, and interactive timelines. The introduction to this database warns that some of the material may be potentially offensive but it is included to present a full historical picture. I was shocked to be reminded of the fact that although other countries decriminalized homosexuality in the 18th century, the United States as a whole did not do so until 2003 and that Supreme Court case was specifically mentioned by a current justice of the Supreme Court as one he would like revisited.
5.) The Open Society Justice Initiative is furnished by an organization by the same name which describes its mission as offering expert legal support to issues of human rights and justice throughout the world. They publish reports, handbooks, briefing papers and fact sheets. This database is slimmer than the others, but its content is far-reaching, including trial transcripts from the Court of Human Rights and dozens of research reports from underrepresented areas of the world.
You can browse the Social Justice Suite through RCLL’s HeinOnline subscription. Expanded content from HeinOnline is available in any branch of RCLL or you can contact us for information on accessing it from your home or office as one of the remote database offerings brought to you by the Riverside County Law Library.
Written by: Laura