Tip of the Week: Locating a Rule in the Federal Register


Do you often find yourself looking for an administrative rule and are not sure where to start in the Federal Register? The Federal Register, the daily journal of the federal government, publishes federal agency regulations, changes to government requirements, policies, and guidance including proposed new rules and regulations, final rules, changes to existing rules, notices of meetings and proceedings, and presidential documents including executive orders and proclamations. This week’s tip explores how to search across the Federal Register to find a Final Rule.

Keyword Searching

If you are a seasoned HeinOnline researcher, you know that keyword searching is an incredibly effective search technique. For example, if we wanted to research the final rule that was published October 2, 2018 on the Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans of Jamestown, New York, we can use the Advanced Search tool. Since we know quite a bit about what we’re looking for, we can plug in the phrase of the rule, the section description, and the date. See below for an example.

Keyword searching example in HeinOnline

This brings up only 2 results. Next, click on the Action facet. You will notice there is a temporary final rule and a final rule. In this case we are looking for a final rule, so choose that option.

HeinOnline search results show refine your search

This leaves 1 result, which is the final rule we are searching for.

Screenshot of Final Rule document in the Federal Register

Alternatively, you can also search using the Full Text tab from within the Federal Register Library. Simply enter “approval and promulgation of air quality” AND “October 2, 2018” into the Full Text tab and search.

HeinOnline full text search example

From the results page, use the facets on the left and choose Final Rule from the Action* facet and Jamestown from the Location facet.

HeinOnline search results showing Refine Your Search options

*Actions are only indexed from 1995 to date.

Searching with a CFR Citation

At the beginning of a final rule the CFR part is referenced. The CFR citation for our final rule is 40 CFR Part 52. We can use a similar strategy as outlined above to search across the full text for that citation. Using the Advanced Search tool, plug in the CFR citation, the Section Description, and the year.

Searching a CFR Citation example

This will return a much larger set of results. To narrow these results down, use the Location facet on the left and choose Jamestown. This takes our results from 365 results to 2 results! The second result is the final rule we are searching for.

Searching Using an Agency/Docket Number

Similar to the CFR citation, we can also search for our final rule using the Agency/Docket Number. In this case, the agency number is EPA-R02-OAR-2018-0422. Having this information will drastically cut down the number of results. Again, using the Advanced Search tool, follow the example below to search by agency/docket number.

Searching a Agency/Docket number example

This search brings up 2 results, the first of which is the final rule we are searching for.

Searching Using an Agency Name

Using the same strategy as we have been, you can also search using an agency name. In this case, the final rule was published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Mimic the example below to search using an agency name.

Search using an Agency name example

With only 2 results, we can find our final rule within the first result.

Need Help?

Stay tuned each week for a new tip! Don’t forget that HeinOnline search gurus are available at your fingertips: Email us, chat us, or call us at (800) 277-6995!

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