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Finding Historic Code of Federal Regulations Sections - Part 2

On Tuesday we explored finding older versions of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) on HeinOnline, ProQuest Congressional, and govinfo. Today, let's look at how to find prior versions of the CFR on Lexis and Westlaw.

Lexis, available in the library, includes historic versions of the CFR beginning with 1981. From the Lexis Advance home page, under Explore Content, below Statutes & Legislation select Archived Codes:

Lexis requires a search string in order to conduct the search. If you have the citation, include it in the search box. Select "Administrative Codes", the desired year(s), and the desired jurisdiction(s). Then click "Search".

For example, if you wanted to see how 39 CFR § 551.5 looked in 2001, use the search string 39 CFR 551.5, select "Administrative Codes", enter in 2001 in the date field, select "U.S. Federal", then click "Search":

When available, Lexis also allows you to find archived versions of the CFR when in the current CFR section. When looking at a current section, the "About" box on the right includes a link to archived versions:

Westlaw, also available in the library, includes historic versions of the CFR beginning with 1984. Like Lexis, you also have to conduct a search to bring back older versions of the CFR. Once in Westlaw, navigate to the All Content tab and select Regulations > Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) > CFR Historical (located in the Tools & Resources box on the right).

Click on the desired year. Westlaw requires a search string in order to conduct the search. Use the fields listed to help generate the search. If you have the citation, enter the title and section numbers, connected with an ampersand, in the "Citation" field.

For example, if you wanted to see how 39 CFR § 551.5 looked in 2001, once on the Code of Federal Regulations - Historical page, click "2001", enter 39 & 551.5 in the "Citation" field, and click the search icon.

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!

Need to find historical CFR sections from before the 1980s? Check out Tuesday's blog Finding Historic Code of Federal Regulations Sections - Part 1 for information about finding the CFR on HeinOnline and ProQuest Congressional, both of which have CFR coverage beginning with 1938.

For a full list of resources that include historic editions of the CFR, check out the Historical CFR page of our Code of Federal Regulations research guide.

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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...
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