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Federal Register: Search Tips

Fielded Searches | Sample Searches | Identification Codes

Fielded Searches

A fielded search page is provided for Federal Register databases from 1995 to the present. Fielded searches allow you to make your search more specific by limiting your results by preselected elements, such as volume, section, and date.

The fields for the Federal Register databases are as follows:

  • Volume: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009
  • NOTE: Although they are listed in the volume field, these numbers are actually the years in which each volume is produced. Volume 60 covers 1995, volume 61 covers 1996, and so on.

  • Section: contents and preliminary pages, final rules and regulations, proposed rules, notices, presidential documents, Sunshine Act meetings, reader aids, and corrections
  • Issue Date: date range, on, before, and after

To select or deselect a field, click on the appropriate box or circle. You may search one or multiple volumes and/or sections with a single query. However, you may choose only one option with regard to the issue date. Queries that do not specify a field will perform a search of the entire database.

Note: The fielded search page automatically defaults to the current year. If you do not wish to search this year, you must deselect the corresponding volume checkbox.

Fielded searches are not available for the 1994 Federal Register database. In order to find a document in this database, you must perform a simple search. Choose "Federal Register, Volume 59 (1994)" and enter your search terms in the search box.

Sample Searches (8)

The following sample searches are provided as guides to general types of searches in the Federal Register databases. Unless otherwise indicated, the searches are performed in the 1998 Federal Register database. For the sake of space, only the top three hits in each results list are included with each example below.

Note: The results of these sample searches are described as they appear on the Web interface. The display of the results may vary for users of the WAIS client and SWAIS software.

Subject | Agency | Table of Contents | CFR Part
List of CFR Parts Affected | Page Number | 1994 Page Number | Citation

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: "foreign import"
Results: fr10no98N Brake Rotors From the People's Republic of China: Postponement of
fr17fe98N Announcement of the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program

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 date, section, or subject.

Query: "department of commerce" AND encryption
Results: fr31de98R Encryption Items
fr22se98R Encryption Items
fr12au98P Security and Electronic Signature Standards

3. Search for the Table of Contents by Issue Date

This type of search returns the Federal Register table of contents for a specific date. The browse feature allows you to view the entire table of contents from a single issue of the Federal Register from 1998 to the present. For databases between 1995 and 1998, follow steps similar to those shown below.

Query: Click in the "1997 Federal Register" box.
Click in the "Contents and Preliminary Pages" box.
Click in the "On" circle and type 8/21/1997 in the date box.
fr21au97C CONTENTS

The above query returns documents from the contents section that were published in the Federal Register for August 21, 1997. To view the table of contents, click on the text or PDF link for "fr21au97C CONTENTS," which will retrieve the document.

Note: If a query contains a date and section field (e.g., proposed rules) but no search terms, the database will list all documents from that section on that date. If a query contains a date without a field, the database will list all documents with that date, regardless of the subject matter or section.

4. Search by Code of Federal Regulations Part Number

This type of search returns documents from the Federal Register based on the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part that they affect. You must include the word "part" in your query in order to limit your search to the introductory material in each document that references the affected part.

Query: "7 cfr part 33"
Result: fr04jn98N Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

5. Search for the List of CFR Parts Affected

This type of search returns the list of CFR parts affected that appears in each issue of the Federal Register.

Query: Click in the "On" circle and type 12/4/1998 in the date box.
Type "parts affected" in the search-terms box.
fr04de98A Reader Aids

The above query returns two documents for the date of December 4, 1998. The first document (fr04de98C) is a list of CFR parts that are affected only by the December 4 issue. The second document (fr04de98A) includes a cumulative list of CFR parts affected during the entire month of December. Both of these lists are available for all dates.

Note: The list of CFR parts affected today, current list of CFR parts affected, and last month's list of CFR parts affected are also available from the online List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA) via GPO Access.

6. Search by Page Number

This type of search returns documents that appear wholly or partially on a specified page. You must include the word "page" in your query in order to eliminate the return of documents that include the page number as a numeric reference within the text.

Query: "page 7426"
Result: fr13fe98N Refugee Resettlement Program: Proposed Allocations to States of

For documents that span more than one page, it is possible to find the full page range by consulting the heading in an ASCII text file or the "Go To Page" tool in the Adobe Reader. Page breaks are indicated by separators (e.g., [[Page 7423]]) in an ASCII text file or by a new page view in the Adobe Reader; they may, as in a printed document, fall in the middle of a sentence.

7. Search by Page Number in the 1994 Database

Page numbers do not appear in the 1994 Federal Register database, except in the table of contents and the list of CFR parts affected. Therefore, in order to retrieve a specific document with a page number, you will have to perform a two-step search, utilizing one of those sections.

First, perform a simple search, using the page number as your search term (type only the number itself, not "page" and then the number, as you would in a later Federal Register database). This search will return the contents and list of CFR parts affected for the appropriate date, as well as various other documents. Within either the table of contents or the list of CFR parts affected, find the document that corresponds to your page number. Select significant words from the title of that document and then, using those words, perform a second simple search of the database to retrieve your document.

Example: Type 37953 in the search-terms box and submit your query. Of the seven hits that appear in your results list, the first two ("fr26jy94 CFR PARTS AFFECTED IN THIS ISSUE" and "fr26jy94 CONTENTS") are relevant to your search. From this point, you have two options.
Options: 1. Viewing the list of CFR parts affected indicates that the document on page 37953 modifies 32 CFR Part 865. Return to the simple search page and enter "32 cfr part 865" as your query. The results list returns the document on page 37953, which is entitled "fr26jy94 Personnel Review Boards."
2. Viewing the table of contents indicates that the document on page 37953 is a proposed rule from the Air Force Department that concerns personnel review boards. Return to the simple search page and enter "personnel review boards" as your query. The results list returns the document entitled "fr26jy94 Personnel Review Boards."

8. Search by Citation (Volume and Page Number)

This type of search returns documents based on Federal Register citation. A unique citation exists for every page of every volume of the online Federal Register database. Each citation includes a volume number, an abbreviation for Federal Register, and a page number. For example, in the citation "64FR618," 64 is the volume number, "FR" stands for Federal Register, and 618 is the page number.

Searching by citation essentially amounts to searching by volume and page number. From the volume number, you must determine which year of the Federal Register is being referenced (volume 59 is 1994, volume 60 is 1995, and so on). Once you know the year and page number, you can perform a fielded or simple search to retrieve your document. (See above instructions for searching by page number.) Expanding on the example from the previous paragraph, 64FR618 refers to page 618 in the 1999 Federal Register. A search of the 1999 database for "page 618" returns the document entitled "fr05ja99R Minimum Internal Control Standards."

Identification Codes

In the list that displays your query results, the title of each Federal Register document is preceded by an identification code. The identification code contains three elements: a database abbreviation, the issue date, and a section identifier. For example, in the identification code "fr17ja98R," "fr" stands for Federal Register, "17ja98" is the issue date (January 17, 1998), and R indicates that the document is from the rules and regulations section. The following is a list of all of the Federal Register section identifiers.

C Contents
R Rules and regulations
P Proposed rules
N Notices
E Presidential documents
S Sunshine Act meetings
A Reader aids
X Corrections

Effective March 1, 1996, the Sunshine Act meetings section of the Federal Register was eliminated. After that date, Sunshine Act notices appear in the notices section of the Federal Register but continue to be referred to as Sunshine Act meetings in the table of contents. Therefore, the Sunshine Act meetings field on the fielded search page should be used for documents published between January 1995 and February 1996; Sunshine Act meeting documents from March 1996 to the present may be found by selecting the notices field and using the search term "sunshine."