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Government Documents - Congress, Laws, and Legislation: Regulations

This guide provides information about how to find laws, legislative history, U.S. Congressional publications, and the publications of Congressional agencies.

The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) began as the Federal Register Division within National Archives in 1935. It was succeeded by the Office of the Federal Register under the General Services Administration in 1949. In 1985, it was transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration. The OFR compiles the Federal register and Code of federal regulations and issues Public Papers of the Presidents and United States Statutes at Large, among other titles.

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Government Documents has an extensive collection of publications produced by the Office of the Federal Register, including the following:

Federal register (AE 2.106:) Proposed regulations, meeting announcements, executive orders and proclamations, and other legally required announcements are issued in this daily publication. Read this tutorial to learn more. Sources for the Federal register:

  • The complete Federal register is freely available in Govinfo (1936-present).
  • Current notices can also be found on each agency's web site.
  • All issues of Federal register are also available in HeinOnline (UHM login required) in its Federal register library.
  • You can also search the Federal register in ProQuest Congressional (1981-present; UHM login required), which links the Federal register to the Code of federal regulations.

Code of federal regulations (AE 2.106/3:) The CFR's 50 titles arrange federal regulations by subject. It is updated annually. Sources for the CFR:

  • Search the current official CFR in Govinfo (1996-present).
  • The eCFR is an unofficial version that is updated weekly.
  • All issues (1938-present) of CFR are available in HeinOnline (UHM login required) in its Federal register library.
  • You can also search the Code of federal regulations in ProQuest Congressional (1981-present; UHM login required), which links the Federal register to the Code of federal regulations. It is especially useful for tracking changes in the CFR.

United States government manual (AE 2.108/2:) Describes the establishment, organization, and functions of the major government agencies currently in operation. Issues covering 1995-present are in Govinfo.

Public papers of the presidents (AE 2.114:) A compilation of speeches, statements, proclamations, and other issuances. Volumes are also available in Govinfo or the HeinOnline Presidential Library (UHM login required). Not all presidents are included in this series; to search for compilations of other presidents' papers, use the Voyager online catalog. The Library of Congress has compiled indexes to the papers of earlier presidents (call no. LC 4.7:).

Weekly/daily compilation of presidential documents (AE 2.109:) was formerly a weekly publication and includes speeches, addresses, and other public communications of the President. It is now issued daily and is available on Govinfo. Older issues are available in the HeinOnline Presidential Library (UHM login required).

Slip laws (public and private laws) (AE 2.110) and United States statutes at large (AE 2.111:) To read the text of a law as it was originally passed by Congress, consult the Statutes at Large of the United States of America (STAT). Statutes at Large is available electronically in Govinfo (1951-present), Law Library of Congress (1789-1950) or HeinOnline (1789-present; UHM login required). Printed copies are available in the Government Documents Collection under call no. AE 2.111: You can find laws using either the Statutes at large citation or the Public Law number, or you can search by subject or title.

Codification of presidential proclamations and executive orders (AE 2.113:) This publication links EOs and proclamations to the laws or executive orders that modified them.

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Gwen Sinclair
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