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U.S. Government Documents: Rules &
Regulations

Created by Fred Muratori

Rules & Regulations

Rules and regulations are the formal procedures through which a statute adopted by Congress and signed by the President is translated into specific written requirements to be carried out and enforced by executive branch and independent agencies.

  • The Federal Register (FR) is published daily, Monday through Friday, and is the official vehicle for making new regulations public.
  • The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codified (i.e., arranged by subject under 50 numerical Titles) compendium of regulations, and usually includes the new additions within two week after their appearance in the FR.

See Lynn Thitchener's guide to Researching Regulations for helpful tips on locating historical background, public comment, and amendments to regulations.

 

Full-text online:

CoverageNetworked Resource
FR
1994 - current Federal Register Online
Federal Register via FDsys
July 1, 1980 - current Federal Register via ProQuest Congressional; click on Regulations, then choose Federal Register from the Search Within menu. Updated daily.
July 1, 1980 - current Federal Register via Lexis Nexis Academic
Click on the Sources button in the left column, then on Browse Sources, then on Administrative Materials & Regulations link, then on Registers link. Check the appropriate Federal Register box(es) then click the red "OK -- Continue" button.
 1936 - current Federal Register via Hein Online (Click on "Federal Register Library")
CFR
1981 - current Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) via Congressional Publications; click on Regulations, then choose Code of Federal Regulations from the Search Within menu. Updated every 2 weeks.
1981 - current Code of Federal Regulations via Lexis Nexis Academic
Click on the Sources button in the left column, then on Browse Sources, then on the Administrative Materials & Regulations link, then click on Regulatory Codes link. Advance the list until the CFR check boxes appear.  Check the appropriate boxes and and click the red "OK - Continue" button.
1996 - current Code of Federal Regulations via FDsys


Print/Microform Locations

CoverageLibrary Location
2006 - present Federal Register; print; Lower level, OLIN J1 A2+; current issues in storage range L123B
1973 - 2005 Federal Register; print; LIBRARY ANNEX J1 A2+
1936 - 1972 Federal Register; microfilm; Lower level, Film 5553
latest 2 editions Code of Federal Regulations; print; OLIN REF KF 70 A3a

 

Finding Aids:

The Federal Register, What It Is and How to Use It. OLIN REF +J1 A2 A32 (latest vol.)

Public Comment:

The general public may submit comments on Federal regulations that are open for comment and published in the Federal Register. This can be done in writing to the relevant agency, or online via Regulations.gov. These comments are public records and may be viewed on the Web sites of the regulatory agencies.

See Researching Regulations for more information on locating public comment.