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PathFinder: HeinOnline's Multi-Level Discipline Taxonomy

PathFinder: HeinOnline's Multi-Level Discipline Taxonomy

Initially started as a small collection of law reviews, the Law Journal Library has grown over the past 20 years into a extensive scholarly journal database. The multidisciplinary content this database now contains has become not just applicable but essential to a variety of different academic and applied fields. 

Using a combination of human curation along with natural language processing and machine learning, we've extracted thousands of research concepts from each article in the Law Journal Library database. The wide-ranging concepts cover a multitude of disciplines, illustrating the incredible scope of this journal library and leading us to organize them into a multi-level taxonomy that we call PathFinder, consisting of Categories, Subjects, and Topics.

Categories, Subjects, and Topics

Categories are the most broad. These overarching disciplines include Subjects and Topics within them. There are currently 5 broad Categories:

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Natural and Formal Sciences
  • Applied Sciences
  • Other Industries

Subjects are more refined areas of study that fall within a particular Category and include relevant Topics within them. There are currently 38 identified Subjects. This list will continue to grow as we continually add content to the Law Journal Library and refine our machine learning.

  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
  • Economics
  • Immigration
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Culture
  • Animal Studies
  • Education
  • Insurance
  • Religion
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Employment and Labor
  • International Relations
  • Research and Analysis
  • Biology
  • Environmental Science
  • Land and Resource Use
  • Science and Technology
  • Business
  • Family Studies
  • Law
  • Sociology
  • Chemistry
  • Finance
  • Media and Communications
  • Sports
  • Construction and Engineering
  • Food, Beverages, and Drugs
  • Medicine
  • Transportation and Travel
  • Criminal Justice
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Military and War Studies
  • Utilities
  • Disability Studies
  • Government and Politics
  • Philosophy and Ethics
  • Earth Sciences
  • Housing and Real Estate
  • Psychology












Topics are narrow research concepts that fall within larger Subjects and even larger Categories. Each of our more than 1,500 Topics targets a very specific research idea, ranging from "Victims' Rights" and "Crime Prevention" (within the Subject of "Criminal Justice") to "Feminism" and "Gender Identity" (within the Subject of "Gender and Sexuality").

Searching with PathFinder

1. Category, Subject, and Topic Facets

PathFinder's Categories, Subjects, and Topics can be found as filter facets on the left-hand side of your search results. After performing a search, the HeinOnline search engine provides a list of the most-frequently assigned PathFinder levels that appear among the results of that query. See an example search for "women's rights" and the most frequent Categories, Subjects, and Topics that appear below.

2. Subjects and Topics in Search Results

To make research more efficient, PathFinder's Subjects and Topics have been extracted from each document and made visible in each search result. A quick glance at these Subjects and Topics can often provide all the information necessary about whether that document is pertinent to your research.


















3. Using Topics in Advanced Search

Users can additionally utilize PathFinder's Topics when performing an Advanced Search in the Law Journal Library database. Construct any query, then choose one or more Topics under which the search engine should perform that query.


Browsing with PathFinder

Users also have additional options to browse Law Journal Library content using PathFinder's human-identified and machine-learned Topics.

1. Topics in the Page Viewer

When paging through any document, users can see the PathFinder Topics that have been assigned to that content. Click any of the Topics to see a list of all Law Journal Library content that falls under the concept.

2. Topics on Author Profile Pages

Head to an author’s profile page to see the PathFinder Topics about which they frequently write listed in their biographical information. If the author’s profile has been enhanced, see those Topics in the Explore This Author tool, as well.

3. Topics in "More Like This"

Within the More Like This tool for any document, users can also select the Topics button to see a more in-depth view of how the article was assigned those concepts.

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