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How To Search the e-CFR

There Are Two Ways To Use the e-CFR:

  1. If you know the title, part, and section of the CFR that you wish to see, the BROWSE feature (offered on the homepage) is the best tool to use. Once you have reached the section level you can navigate by means of the Previous/Next feature to other sections within the part, or subpart, where present.
  2. Use the SIMPLE SEARCH or ADVANCED SEARCH (BOOLEAN or PROXIMITY) functions when you are searching for a subject or word, or when you have an incomplete CFR citation:
    • The SIMPLE SEARCH offers the ability to limit your search to one CFR title, or search the entire CFR. You can search for your term anywhere within the text, or within a specific region.
    • The PROXIMITY SEARCH offers the same search ability as the simple search, and adds the ability to search for words near/not near other words or followed by/not followed by other words, within 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, or 50 words.
    • The BOOLEAN SEARCH goes even further. You can ask for up to three terms to be retrieved only when they appear within specific regions of the CFR.

Examples of Searches Limited By Region (Simple or Boolean Search):

  • If you know the result you want is called Appendix A, you can enter the term "A" and select the search to be within "appendix ID". This will retrieve only appendixes called "Appendix A". Other regulatory material appended to chapters, subchapters, parts, and subparts (like Supplements, Attachments, Tables) will be found using "Appendix ID". Appendixes to sections appear as part of the section and are not retrieved individually from their sections.
  • You can search for a U.S.C. cite and limit the results to cases when the cite is listed in an authority. The "Authority" field will retrieve terms within the part authority, subpart authority, sectional authority or paragraph authority.
  • With the Boolean search you can ask for "A" within "Appendix ID" AND "5 U.S.C." within "authority". You will retrieve only Appendixes, Supplements, and Tables that are identified by "A" and which contain an authority citation within them that includes "5 U.S.C." This can help limit your searching to very specific requirements.

Other Things To Remember About Searches:

  • If you want to limit any search to one title of the CFR, place the title number in the first box provided. (A listing of title topics and numbers is available in the pull down menu in the BROWSE feature, to assist you in determining the title number you want.) If you do not want to limit the search to one title number, leave the box blank.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive. If you ask for "capital" you will also get "Capital".
  • You can use the wildcards * and ?. Searching for "agricultur*" will find "agriculture" as well as "agricultures" and "agricultural". Searching for "bra*il" will retrieve "brazil" and "brasil" and also "brail". Using "?" will retrieve exactly one wild character, thus "bra?il" will retrieve "brazil" and "brasil", but not "brail". You can combine wildcard characters. For example: "pr?n*" will retrieve "printer", "printing", "principal", etc.

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