Federal by R. Gary Marquart, Linda M. Marquart,

Joe R. McDaniel, Jim R. McGill,

Register Steve A. Mintz

7215 York Rd.

Fein-Marquart Associates

Baltimore, MD 21212

Notices Steve R. Heller

Environmental Protection Agency

Washington, DC 20460

Search and

System George W. A. Milne


Bethesda, MD 20205


Government regulations are affecting our daily lives more and more. Without debating the merits of this, it can be said that the laws currently being implemented by Federal regulatory agencies are having a considerable effect on the information community. In particular, the Government "bible," comprised of the daily "sermons" from the Federal Register (FR), later incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), has become required reading for manufacturers, lawyers, public interest groups, university and other educational institutions, foreign organizations doing or planning to do business in the USA with the general public. (The CFR are the final rules and regulations of all US government Agencies, and the CFR is derived from the rules and regulations proposed in the FR, which, when finalized become the appropriate sections in the CFR.)

The NIH/EPA Chemical Information System (CIS) is a collection of databases and computer programs to search these databases. Details of the CIS have appeared elsewhere (1,2) and the reader is referred to these articles for further information of the system. As Figure 1 shows, the heart of the CIS is the Structure and Nomenclature Search System (SANSS), which allows the user to search for a given chemical or chemical fragment by name, name fragment, structure, substructure, molecular formula, molecular weight, or fragment codes (3). The SANSS also acts as a referral service, pointing to the location in which further information about a chemical can be found. At present SANSS has 41 lists, with a backlog of some 150 other lists currently being processed (4). Some of these lists are clearly more relevant than others to certain communities. The list of spectral databases are of considerable value to analytical chemistry laboratories, while the lists associated with pesticides (active and inactive ingredients registered with the Government, RPAR (Rebuttable presumption against Registration) chemicals, etc.,) are of interest to a totally separate group, namely the pesticide industry. The TSCA Inventory is presumably of little interest to an academic chemist, but of great value to industrial to industrial firms concerned with marketing a chemical in the USA.

As these lists were being gathered together, evaluated for relevancy and interest, and then for processing into the CIS, one list stood out clearly as a "unique" file for which the SANSS software capabilities were most suited. This is the list of chemicals cited in the US Governments' daily official publication, the Federal Register.

The various stages in the development of a new rule by a Federal agency are, by law, published in the Federal Register, the daily "official newspaper" of the Executive branch of the government. When finally adopted, the new rule is incorporated in the Code of Federal Regulations, with the method of notification to the public again being publication of the "Final Rule" in the Federal Register. (The actual appearance of a revised volume of the Code of Federal Regulations containing the new rule can be delayed as much as 18 months. However, the rule is effective, and legally binding, upon its appearance in the FR.) Thus, the Federal Register has been required reading for manufacturers, lawyers, public interest groups, university and other educational institutions, and foreign organizations doing or planning to do business in the USA.

While there are a number of excellent printed publications and computer-searchable systems regarding the Federal Register, none had been concerned with the relatively narrow area of FR citations related to chemicals. In particular, tagging the FR citations with the chemical name used in the citations would have obvious utility which could subsequently be enhanced by adding the other chemical names (synonyms) for the substance, and its Chemical Abstracts Index name(s), Chemical Abstracts registry number (CAS REGN), and structure for the compound.

With this in mind, the CIS, in 1977, undertook to add a FR Notices component to the CIS, searchable through both the SANSS component and through a search system based on the parameters found in the FR citations. The resulting system, now available as part of the CIS, enables one to search the FR, starting from January 1, 1978 to date for the chemical parameters searchable in SANSS, as well as over 250 FR search parameters. Furthermore, using screens based upon time (date) limitations, additional searching can be conducted using this parameter. As can be seen from the search parameters available in the FR Search System (FRSS), some of which are given below, there is a wide diversity of terms available to the searcher.

Selected section of search codes for FR Notices search system

ED effective date

EE exhaust emission

EIS Environmental Impact Statement

EL effluent

EPA Environmental Protection Agency

ERA Economic Regulatory Administration

ERDA Energy Research & Development Administration

ES establishment

ETS Emergency Temporary Standard

EU experimental use permit

EX exemption

FA fuel additive

FD food additive

FDA Food & Drug Administration

FEA Federal Energy Administration

FEIS Final Environmental Impact Statement

FG fungicide

FHWA Federal Highway Administration

The software used to search the FR Notices database is essentially the same that is used for other CIS text type search system, such as the Oil and Hazardous Material spill response system, OHM-TADS. This software is much the same from the user's point of view as a RECON-4 type search package, and as such, it is familiar and easy to use. This same search software is also being used as the basis of a search system for the Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products (CTCP), a CIS component due to be available in 1980 (2).

The database in the FR Search System (FRSS) is quite brief, but does contain the necessary details which will allow one to decide if reading the entire FR citation is necessary. The full text of the citation is not in this FR Notices Search System. Rather, as seen in a sample of a FR Notices display of a record (Figure 1) as it is available in the CIS, only the bare essential are put into the computer system.

Figure 1. A sample FRSS record.

CITATION NUMBER = 43.25.1 (43FR4849ff)


(2, 3-Dibromopropyl)phosphate


Final rule; Revision of 16CFR1615.1 (0), revision of 16CFR1615.3 (a),

Delete 16CFR1615.3 (b)(3), revision of 16CFR1615.4 (a), (b)(2),

( c) (4) (iv), ( c) (vi), (d) (2) (I ), (d) (2) (ii) (A) and (B),

(d) (3) (I) (A), (d) (3) (I) (B) (3), (g) (2) (I), (g) (3), revision of

16CFR1615.31 (e) (1) (!!!!, revision of 16CFR1616.4 ( c) (2) (ii)(A) and (B),

42FR56568, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Flammable Fabric Act;

Amend standard for flammability of children's sleepwear; Suspected

carcinogen(icity); Effective date 2-6-78

The search parameters are divided into ten main categories, which are:

1. Substance Identification (e.g., names, synonyms, name fragments, CAS Registry numbers)

2. General Descriptors (e.g., Application, Notice, Public Hearing)

3. Actions (e.g., Approval of, Exemption from, Review of)

4. EPA/Pesticides codes (e.g., General use, Restricted use)

5. EPA Pollution Regulations (e.g., exhaust, emission, point source category)

6. FDA codes (e.g., animal drug, food additive, new drug application)

7. FDA drug dosage codes (e.g., aerosol, gel, oral, syrup)

8. Government Department/Agency (e.g., USDA, HEW, DOT, CPSC)

9. Acts of Congress (e.g., FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act), CWA (Clean Water Act), RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act), and TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act).

10. Date Codes (e.g., Comments solicitated by, Public hearing)

11. Substance Cross-reference Codes (e.g., regulated impurities, combination products)

The FR Notices system can be searched by either specifying the code one wishes to search, or by simply entering the keyword, chemical, Agency, etc., and searching for that text string in any of the fields. Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT) is available and allows the user to combine, or exclude individual search results. Some examples, are given below.

In the first example, a user is interested in all EPA, Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) entries that reference Kepone. This is a very simple search; the user merely enters the request "OPP and KEPONE," obtaining 13 citations. To list these answers, the Type option is used. In this instance, the user asked to see the entries in file 1, according to format 2 (entire record display), for entries 1 and 2 in that file:

(In the example shown below, the underlined information is that which the user enters; all other information is printed out by the computer.)

Figure 2. FRSS output from a search of OPP and KEPONE

NIH-EPA CIS (Version 3.0) 11:11 14-Jun-79

Component or Option? (H for help): FRSS

FR (VERSION 2.2/1.0)

Latest news for FR....

14 June 1979 - How to get Started with the FR Notices system.





CITATION NUMBER = 43.201.13. (43FR47774ff)


Notice; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs;

Proposed Emergency exemption, unregistered pesticide product, fireants,

Michigan; Renewal comment period, comments solicited by 10-24-78; New

Formulation of Mirex (43.201.14); Contains Ferrous chloride (43.201.16);

Degradation product Kepone (43.201.17).

(42FR64734, 43FR38084)


CITATION NUMBER = 43.201.17. (43FR47776)


Notice; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs;

Proposed Emergency exemption, unregistered pesticide product, fireants,

Michigan; Degradation product of Ferriamicide (43.201.13)

In the second example, a user running the FR Search System on February 10, 1978, needs to know what RPAR's (Rebuttable Presumption Against Registration) have appeared in the Federal Register for which comments are solicited and are due from now ("today") through the end of May, 1978. Not recalling the Keyword code for RPAR's, this user asks for an expansion of all indexed terms having to do with variants on "registration." From among these, the user selects the appropriate code, "RE", and combines that with a range of "comments Solicited" dates, which are filed under the field name of "DATCS."

Figure 3.Search for RPAR's with Comments Solicited from "Now" to the end of May, 1978.


REGISTRATION -see Keywords-






File: 2 Count: 4

Option? TYPE 2


CITATION NUMBER = 43.8.20. (43FR1835)


Notice; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs;

Comments solicited postponed until 3-24-78; Rebuttable presumption

against regist. & contd regist. (42FR61788)


CITATION NUMBER = 43.20.1. (43FR3939)

Thiophanate methyl

Notice; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs;

Rebuttable presumption against regist. & contd regist. of pesticide

product; Comments solicited by 1-24-78 postponed until 3-27-78


CITATION NUMBER = 43.24.13. (43FR4676)

Ethylene dibromide

1, 2-Dibromoethane

Notice; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs;

Rebuttable presumption against regist. & contd regist., pesticide

product; Comments solicited postponed until 4-3-78; Active ingredient.



CITATION NUMBER = 43.45.16. (43FR9343)

Ethylene oxide

Notice; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs;

Rebuttable presumption against regist. & contd regist., comments

solicited postponed until 5-15-78. (42FR3801)

As seen above, a useful feature of the FRSS is that a request for a range of "Comments Solicited" dates picked up the postponed dates as well, and those FR articles that appeared earlier and were referenced in these new articles are referenced in these abstracts. Finally, while the citations in the FR Search System are substance-specific, a user can search for information without naming a specific substance. Thus, as in this example the FRSS can be used to locate substances for which particular regulatory actions are under consideration.

If the user has a large number of citations, such as may result from a general query, it is possible to get all the references typed out at the terminal, or the FR citations can be listed offline in which case they will be mailed to the user by the Computer staff. An example of this is shown below, where a search for CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) produced 98 citations. These 98 citations, which are contained in file 3, are then stored in a disk file called CPSC. They are then printed offline by the user after he exits from the FR Search System. As can be seen below, one first types "OUT" to exit from the FR Notices system, then "OUT" again to exit from the CIS Gateway program. The next step is to type "PRINT CPSC" which takes the disk file and prints it at the computer facility. By using the "TALK OPR" command, the user can send a message to the operator, specifying the name and address to which the printout is to be sent. Normally the printout is received by the user in 24-48 hours.

In summary, the CIS FR Search System (FRSS) is valuable as a quick, efficient and thorough tool for obtaining citations to chemicals in the Federal Register. The FR Search System (FRSS) is part of the larger NIH/EPA Chemical Information System (CIS), which resides upon the ISC computer and is available, via Telenet, with a local call throughout the USA and other countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Far East (5). The cost of using the system is a $300 annual subscription fee, which allows access to all CIS components (SANSS, MSSS, RTECS, XTAL, CRYST, MLAB, GINE, CNMR, PDSM, and CAMSEQ-II), as well as an hourly connect rate, which in the case of FRSS is $60. At present the system is being updated weekly, but plans for daily updates are under consideration. A selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) type search may also be implemented in the future. Such an SDI search would allow a user to have a permanent query on file which would be automatically run every time there was an update to the FRSS. Such plans are contingent upon the interest and use of the system, and should they materialize, they will be undertaken in conjunction with the users of the system, so that the best possible system will result.

Option? CPSC


Option: OFFLINE 3




Option: OUT

NIH-EPA CIS (Version 3.0) 11:23 14-Jun-79

Component or Option? (H for help): OUT


TALK OPR: Please send CPSC.LPT printout to John Doe,

Worldwide Chemicals, PO Box 123, New York, New York 10001.

Thank you.

LOGOUT (Logoff CIS Computer)


1. S. R. Heller, G. W. A. Milne and R. J. Feldmann, "A Computer Based Chemical Information System", Science, 195, 253-259 (1977).

2. G. W. A. Milne, M. L. Melley and S. R. Heller, "The NIH/EPA Chemical Information System", Proceedings of the ASIS Spring Meeting, Banff, 1979.

3. G. W. A. Milne, S. R. Heller, A. E. Fein, E. F. Frees, R. G. Marquart, J. A. McGill, and J. A. Miller, "The NIH/EPA Structure and Nomenclature Search System", J. Chem. Inf. & Comp. Sci., 18, 181-185 (1978).

4. A copy of the lists (approximately 200 as of 1 July 1979) being processed can be obtained from: Ms. C. L. Schmidt, Fein-Marquart Associates, 7215 York Road, Baltimore, Maryland, 21212.

4. For details on access to the CIS please contact: Kay Pool, CIS Project, ISC, Suite 500, 918 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. 212-223-6503 or 800-424-9600.

The addresses for communications to the authors may be found in their byline on the first page of this article.