The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of federal agency regulations. In the course of legal research, it is sometimes necessary to see how a CFR section looked in a prior year. Many websites and databases provide access to historic editions of the CFR. The most comprehensive of these is HeinOnline, which provides PDF images of the CFR beginning with 1938. ProQuest Congressional provides HTML coverage of the CFR, also beginning with 1938. Lexis (beginning with 1981) and Westlaw (beginning with 1984) provide access to older versions of the CFR. And govinfo, the website of the GPO, provides free online access to the CFR beginning with 1997.
HeinOnline, a member database available to most Jenkins members, contains all volumes of the CFR beginning with its 1938 inception. Its Code of Federal Regulations collection allows users to browse and search for relevant CFR sections. The Quick Locator option is a great tool for users who know which CFR title, part, and/or section they are interested in:
Users can also use HeinOnline to browse all years of the CFR. From the HeinOnline CFR homepage, use the top "Browse By" section and select "Years":
For browsing and searching tips, with screenshots, check out HeinOnline's Code of Federal Regulations LibGuide.
The keyword search allows users to limit the search by department or agency as well as year. To search by keyword, make sure the "Publications" type is switched from Federal Register to Code of Federal Regulations:
For those looking for a specific citation, ProQuest Congressional also has a "Search by Regulation Citation" feature which allows the user to search a desired year or search all years:
govinfo, the website of the GPO and available for free, has the CFR beginning with the 1997 Annual Edition (select Titles of the CFR from 1996 are also available). If browsing govinfo, the CFR is frequently located under the "Popular" heading of the homepage. Make sure to click "annual" to access the annual editions:
Users can browse the CFR by year and title as well as search the CFR. To search the CFR, click the orange "Search" button located at the top of the screen, select "Advanced", then under "Refine by Collection" select "Code of Federal Regulations":
Search results can be further refined by using the side panel on the search results screen:
For additional information and tips, see govinfo's About the Code of Federal Regulations page.
One final tip about researching historic CFR sections: the section(s) you are interested in may have been renumbered through the years. When this happens, the research can get complicated. If you need help navigating this process, Ask us!