HeinOnline's Tip of the Week: Searching for a Section in the CFR

When looking for a section of the CFR, it is best to gather as much information about the section as you can before you begin. For example, knowing the year, title number or name, issuing agency, part name or regulatory area, subpart name or knowing one or several keywords would be beneficial in narrowing the search results. In the below example, we will will begin our search at a high-level by searching for only the section number. We will then add additional terms to the query to illustrate how best to refine the results.

For our example, we are going to focus on Section 61.20, Subpart B - National Emission Standard for Asbestos of 1973. This section is found in Title 40 - Protection of Environment, Chapter 1-Environmental Protection Agency.

Section Number - To search for a section number, you have to search across the text field, as the CFR in HeinOnline is indexed down to the part number, not to the section number. Thus, enter the below search into the Field or Advanced Search options. This search will return approximately 700+ results.

Add the Part Number - To narrow this search, you can add the Part Number to the query,in this case 61. Enter the search as outlined below into the Field or Advanced Search options. This search will return 170+ results.

Add the Title # - If you know the title number, in this case 40, you can add it to the search as seen below. This search will return 17 results.

Or add the Title Name - If you don't know the title number, but you know the title name, such as Protection of Environment, you can use that as a refining field.

Add Keywords - If you don't know the title number or name, you can add keywords that relate to the CFR section, such as National Emission Standard. This search will also return 17 results.

Narrow to a Specific Year - To narrow your search to a specific result, it is best to include a year in the search, such as 1973. When you add a year to the query as illustrated in the below example, you will narrow the results to one. The first matching text page in the result will link you directly to section 61.20 in the CFR.

If you are familiar with building complex search strings, you can query more than 3 of the above components in one search using the Advanced Search option. For example, you could insert the following search query to obtain 1 result:

text:"61.20" AND part:61 AND title:40 AND text:"national emission standard" AND text:"asbestos" (and insert the begin and end year as 1973 into the date fields).

Other Tips:
If you do not have all of the above information about a section, try putting together the information that you do have to build the search query. For example, if you have the section number and the year (such as 61.20 and 1973), you will get a smaller set of results. In the above example, you would get 25+ results versus the initial 700+ results when searching for just the section number.

Or, you can try adding some keywords to complement the section number, such as:
text:"61.20" AND text:"National Emission Standard" AND text:"Asbestos"
This search will return about 40 results that you can browse through.

You can also "Search Within the Results" to narrow your results. Take a look at a previous post called Search Within a Specific Article or Section to see some examples and learn how to apply this feature.

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