Tuesday, January 6, 2009

U.S. Code now in HeinOnline

In September 2008, HeinOnline hinted that prior editions of the official U.S. Code might be added to their vast library of digitized legal publications (see our earlier blog post). Although GPO Access provides a searchable USC back to 1994, legal researchers seeking earlier versions of a codified law needed to use superseded code volumes or cumbersome microfiche sets. (LexisNexis and Westlaw also provide earlier versions of their annotated federal code publications, but even these date back to only 1990.)

The United States Code library is now activated in HeinOnline. It provides PDF versions of the official federal code dating back to its inception in 1926. (The Revised Statutes, an 1873 precursor to the US Code, was already available in Hein’s U.S. Statutes at Large library.)

In other U.S. Code news, GPO Access has just begun to post the latest official version of the USC (2006 edition) at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/. Titles 1-41 are now available; titles 42-50 are provided from the 2000 edition. The Goodson Law Library has been receiving the 2006 U.S. Code in print since June 2008, and this delay between receipt of print volumes and online acknowledgement of the new edition by GPO created a strange limbo for cite-checkers, who are required by the Bluebook to cite to the latest official edition of the USC wherever possible. Remember that GPO considers the electronic versions to be unofficial, and warns that researchers should always verify the online version against the print edition.