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Washburn University School of Law Library - rev.9/94
[edited/excerpted by The 'Lectric Law Library Staff 8/95]


The FEDERAL REGISTER (FR) is the official source of publication of U.S. government agency rules and regulations intended to have general application and legal effect. Many laws enacted by Congress contain regulations necessary to enact the legislation. Other laws require regulatory action and the responsible agency draws up the necessary regulations to enact the law. All agency regulations promulgated to enact legislation are published in the Federal Register. It also contains proposed rules, notices, and Presidential documents. In addition to the full text of agency documents, each issue contains the following finding aids:

1. Contents - A comprehensive list of documents in the issue arranged by agency and type of document (rules, proposed rules, or notices).

2. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts Affected in This Issue - List of rules and proposed rules that appear in the issue arranged by title and part number.

3. CFR Parts Affected During (current month) - Cumulative list of rules and proposed rules that have appeared so far in that month's FRs, again arranged by title and part number.

4. A daily list of Public Laws.

5. Federal Register Pages and Dates - A parallel table of the inclusive pages and corresponding dates for the FRs of the current month.

6. The first FR issue of the month contains a Table of Effec- tive Dates and Time Periods for the month.


The Office of the Federal Register issues the Federal Register Index monthly. The index cumulates monthly for 12 months and is then issued as an annual index. The monthly cumulation is approximately 2 months behind the current issue.

The annual indexes issued by the Office of the FEDERAL REGISTER are available as follows:

1936 - date Available in microfiche cabinets # 2 & 3.
1968 - date Available in paper format at the end of the Federal Registers

Items in microfiche can be reproduced in paper or microfiche formats (inquire at Reference Desk).

In addition to the indexes issued by the Office of the Federal Register, the Law Library has the CIS FEDERAL REGISTER INDEX from Jan. 1, 1984 to date. This comprehensive index can be searched by general policy area, specific subject matter, commodity or chemical name, responsible Federal agency, authorizing legislation, affected industries , organizations, corporations, individuals, or geographic areas, affected sections of the CFR, or by agency-assigned docket numbers for specific actions. Issued weekly, it usually arrives at the Law Library within a week after the date of the last Federal Register issue covered.

Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations
The U.S. Regulatory Council consists of 60 regulatory agendas significant regulatory responsibilities. In April and October of each year the Council issues the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations as a supplementary part of the Federal Register. The Unified Agenda is a comprehensive and continually updated catalog of important federal regulations under development. Each entry includes:
Legal Authority
CFR Citation
Agency Contact

To locate the Unified Agenda, look for thick, 2-part issues of the Federal Register issued in April and/or October.ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL REGISTER

The Office of the Federal Register has an Electronic Bulletin Board for accessing news about the Federal Register as well as access to publications. The telephone number designated for this service [FREND] is: 202/275-1538 or 202/275-0920

The table of contents and indexed abstracts of the Federal Register are available the day of issue on the Internet. See WASHLAW in the Virtual Reference Desk: Professor's Choice or the Government Documents directory.

Note that in the Federal Register file on the Internet, you can search the contents with a word search by typing s and a word (e.g.: s presidential will locate Presidential Documents published in the designated issue of the Federal Register).

To access WASHLAW, telnet acc.wuacc.edu and login = washlaw

Following are demonstration searches of the Federal Register as found on Westlaw:

Database File = FR
Dates Included = 7/1/80 to current edition
Type "scope" in the FR file and retrieve a description for accessing the Federal Register on Westlaw

find 42 fr 12101
The "find" command will retrieve documents from most Westlaw screens.

pr(agenda & information)
Search: this prelim field search will result in information concerning the Unified Agenda.

pr(agenda & "nuclear regulatory")
Search: retrieval of the agenda of the nuclear regulatory commission as published in the Unified Agenda.

ca(convention /s "international sale")
Search: the caption field will search the "1980 U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods" which is found in the Unified Agenda.
gun /5 control and da(aft 11/14/93 and bef 2/11/94) Keyword search and date restriction strategy.

Following are demonstration searches of the Federal Register as found on Lexis:
Library = Genfed File = fedreg
Dates Included = 7/1/80 to current edition

Type "guide" at the database directory screen and retrieve the Lexis Guide Online. Select "guide" and enter .ns;fedreg (new search = federal register).

lexsee 56 fr 16048
Lexsee will retrieve full text of a Federal Register cite from most entry screens on Lexis. Use resume to return to normal Lexis searching.

cfr(49 and 27) and date aft 9/1/94
Search: UPDATE "49 cfr 27" in the Federal Register.

agency(white house fellowship) and date = 1994
Search: an agency segment search with date restriction.

catv or cable and rate and date aft 1982 and date bef 1986 Search: Keyword search with date restriction.


This is a handbook used by the Office of Federal Register to conduct workshops on how to use the FR and related publications and how the consumer can participate in the regulatory process.

2. U.S. GOVERNMENT MANUAL (Reference Desk JK 421 .U54) The U.S. GOVERNMENT MANUAL is the official handbook of the federal government and contains descriptions of its agencies. Included are lists of principal officials, organization charts, a brief statement of the agency's legislative or executive authority, mission, history, activities and programs, and a "sources of information" section. The "sources" section provides addresses and phone numbers for obtaining detailed information on consumer activities, grants and contracts, employment and publications.

3. FEDERAL ORGANIZATION SERVICE, CIVIL (Reference JK 404 .F 44) This manual contains organizational charts for all administrative agencies, subagencies, and congressional agencies. Each chart lists the address, area code and locator phone number, as well as the title, name and phone numbers of personnel. Updated quarterly.

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