Incorporation by Reference

This site does not link to or contain standards incorporated by reference into the CFR.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of a standard that has been incorporated by reference, contact the standards organization that developed the material.

About IBR

Incorporation by reference (IBR) allows Federal agencies to comply with the requirement to publish rules in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) by referring to materials already published elsewhere.
Learn More

Who to Contact

For more information about a standard:

  1. Use the contact information contained in the regulation to:
  2. You can also find agency phone numbers and other contact information at:
  3. You may also use the NIST database, Regulatory Standards Incorporated by Reference, for information on the availability of IBR standards.

    Generally, members of the public must pay a fee to receive a copy of the incorporated material. If you have difficulty locating the material, contact the regulatory agency that issued the regulation.

Why is Incorporation by Reference Used?

Incorporation by reference is used primarily to make privately developed technical standards Federally enforceable. Agency generated documents are presumptively ineligible for incorporation by reference because that material can and should be published in full text in the Federal Register and CFR. Agencies are not authorized to incorporate by reference material on their web sites as a substitute for Federal Register publication.

The legal effect of incorporation by reference is that the material is treated as if it were published in the Federal Register and CFR. This material, like any other properly issued rule, has the force and effect of law. Congress authorized incorporation by reference in the Freedom of Information Act to reduce the volume of material published in the Federal Register and CFR. (See 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51). Congress gave complete authority to the Director of the Federal Register to determine whether a proposed incorporation by reference serves the public interest.

Top of Page

Where to Find Materials Incorporated by Reference at NARA Facilities

In most cases, materials incorporated by reference are made available through the standards organization that developed the standard. Contact the standards organization or other designated sources through the address listed in the Federal Register or CFR.

However, legal record copies of material incorporated by reference are also filed at the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and other NARA facilities. OFR does not distribute IBR materials.

Legal record copies are available for public inspection and limited photo-copying. If you would like to inspect material incorporated by reference at OFR's downtown Washington, DC location, you must submit a written request and make an appointment for a specific day and time.

  1. Submit your written request at least a day in advance.

  2. Your request must include:
  3. Submit your request by:

     U.S. Mail addressed to: