U.S. MILITARY REGULATIONS AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
by George Caldwell, October 1990
The Library of Congress has limited holdings of U.S. military
regulations. Our collections are far from complete. Our largest
of Army Regulations. We have in the Serial and Government Publications
Division all the Army Regulations which the Government Printing
Office has sent out to depository libraries since 1993, which is
the earliest year the Library keeps it's full depository collection.
Despite all this, our depository collection of Army Regulations
is still very incomplete and spotty. The Library of Congress also
has some older Army Regulations bound and shelved in the general
collection, dating back to at least 1910. For Army Regulations
lack, we may turn to the Pentagon Library, which is supposed to
have a complete collection, both current and retrospective. The
Pentagon Library has been good about photocopyiong short regulations
for us or lending us longer ones. We refer many library users to
the General Accounting Office Law Library, which has a comprehensive
collection of both current and superseded military regulations
and is open to the public. Furthermore, the Defense Department
has designated the National Technical Information
in the Commerce Department
as the official distribution point for the sale of current Army
Regulations. Other possible sources for older Army Regulations
the National Archives and the University of Maryland, which as
a regional depository for the state of Maryland has received a
set of depository publications from the Government Printing Office
Air Force and Navy Regulations are more of a problem. They are
more difficult to obtain, which explains why the Government Printing
Office has not had many of them to distribute to depository libraries.
The Library of Congress does not have many. Some years ago, the
Library discarded its collection of old Air Force Regulations.
The Air Force Headquarters Master Reference Library
has a collection of current Air Force Regulations, but Pentagon
access is required, and no photocopying is possible. Occasionally
we have been able to get copies of current Air Force Regulations
from the publications distribution service at Bolling Air Force
Base. The National Technical Information Service is now the official
source for purchasing current Air Force Regulations. The Air University
Library at Maxwell Air Force Base is another possibility, and there
is a Regulations Office at Maxwell which can provide helpful information.
Current Navy regulations (called Instructions) can be acquired,
with some difficulty, from the Naval Publications and Forms Center
in Philadelphia or from the GAO Law library.
Military regulations can also be found in the Code of Federal Regulations
and its companion publication, the Federal Register. The Library
has numerous complete sets of these. However, the Code and the Register
are not complete sources for military regulations, and a specific
regulation can be difficult to track down in those publications.
Military regulations pose two important problems for the Library
of Congress and other libraries. First, military publications are
by far the most difficult type of government publications for libraries
to acquire. Second, a substantial amount of staff time is required
to maintain a collection of military regulations, because of the
numerous revisions, changes, and loose-leaf filing necessary to
keep such a collection current.
Revised by CB, 3-04.