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Code of Federal Regulations: Search Tips

Sample Searches | Identification Codes

Sample Searches (2)

The following sample searches are provided as guides to popular types of searches in the CFR databases. For the sake of space, only the top three or four hits in each results list are included with each example below.

Note: When you search the CFR using the "Search the entire set of CFR databases by keyword" command, remember that you are searching only the current data. In order to access historical data, you must either retrieve a section by citation or use the browse feature; both of these features are described above.

Subject | Agency

1. Search by Subject

This type of search returns documents that are related to a specific subject. The word(s) that you enter as your search term(s) may appear anywhere within the document.

Query: "flectol h"
Results: 21CFR189.220-- Sec. 189.220 Flectol H.
21CFR189-- Subpart C--Substances Prohibited From Indirect Addition to Human Food

As described above, each document in the results list is accompanied by an identification code and other descriptors that allow you immediately to identify the title and part numbers. This query returns documents related to the food additive Flectol H at the part, subpart, and section levels.

2. Search by Agency

This type of search returns documents based on the name of the issuing agency. To make your search more specific, modify the query by also including a subject.

Query: "department of education" AND "rehabilitation short-term training"
Results: 34CFR390.1-- Sec. 390.1 What is the Rehabilitation Short-Term Training program?

In the above query, two of the returned documents have nearly the same title, yet one is distinguished by the label "Table of Contents." The reason for this apparent duplication is that each CFR part is accompanied by its table of contents in the results list. The table of contents contains only a list of the subparts and sections of the corresponding part. Since it does not include any regulatory text, it has a considerably smaller file size. Essentially, the table of contents is the introductory "heading" from a part in the CFR.

Identification Codes

In the list that displays your query results, the title of each CFR document is preceded by an identification code. The identification code contains three elements: a title number, a database abbreviation, and a part and/or section number. For example, in the identification code "7CFR246.11," "7" is the title number, "cfr" stands for Code of Federal Regulations, "246" is the part number, and "11" is the section number.

Note: Identification codes may be used to retrieve CFR sections by citation. This option is available from the CFR main page.