Introduction to Regulations
Other than the actual index to the CFR, (which is received in paper and kept on top of the microfiche cabinets in the Blume Library) there are few official aids to finding regulatory information. Several commercial products exist, however, which are designed to keep people in business, and other fields, abreast of new developments which may affect their work. The Law Library subscribes to many of these services in different areas. Ask a Law Librarian for assistance.
The General Services Administration makes this handy chart, the Reg Map, available in PDF format. It outlines the process of regulation-making from the beginning idea to the promulgation of the final, binding rule. And the National Archives has this extensive online guide to using the Federal Register.
Sources of Regulations
Access/FDSys. Recent years (1994 to the present) of the Federal Register
are searchable on the F(ederal)D(igital)S(ystem). This link is to a page that allows browsing the Hearings collection, or you can choose this collection to search from their Advanced Search Page. The FDSys search engine is much more powerful than the older GPO Access system, and offers a myriad of search options and ways to narrow search results. More information about the collection can be found in this section of their help screens.
The CFR has not yet migrated to the FDSys from GPO Access' older server, but will do so eventually. For now, the current edition and back issues (to 1996) of the CFR are available from GPO Access. You may search the entire code by keyword or search by a particular citation. Citations may be entered in the keyword search box, or on a guided search page; choose "Retrieve by CFR citation" for this option. If you choose "Browse and/or search the CFR," you may search a single title or combination of titles from the current and/or back issues available.
However, the handy CFR List of Sections Affected from 1997 to the present has migrated to FDSys. Here is a detailed description of this publication from the FDSys help screen. You may still browse the 1986-2000 LSA Compilation at GPO Access.
If you want to comment on pending regulations, check Regulations.gov, where you can search by agency, browse by topic, and also see what regulations have just been released for comments and which ones have comments due on the current date. The National Archives also makes this listing of individual agencies' electronic rulemaking sites available.
Congressional Universe. This database is available for use AT THE LAW LIBRARY ONLY.
In addition, there are several guides to regulatory information freely available on the Internet, as well as sites with links to regulatory information. Here are some suggested additional sites:
Another useful source is maintained at Cornell's Legal Information Institute: a hypertext version of the Congressional Research Service's Annotated Constitution, with links to pertinent Supreme Court opinions, U.S. Code sections and Code of Federal Regulations citations.
The University of Virgina makes this listing of Administrative Decisions by Agency available. These decisions are outside of the scope of the CFR or Federal Register, but can be important sources of information regarding agency actions.