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' meets USA Today' launching soon

By Ed O'Keefe

Video by National Archives

Eye Opener

Just as news outlets are adapting to the web, social media and mobile devices, officials are working on a major revamp of the government's daily newsletter in hopes of boosting traffic and audience participation.

The Federal Register is the government's official daily publication of federal rules, regulations, public meetings and requests for comment. First published in 1936 as an 11-page report on new federal regulations, today's editions run hundreds of pages and it's most popular with lawmakers, lawyers, librarians and lobbyists who use it on a regular basis. The Register still publishes weekdays in print, first appeared online in .pdf format in 1994 and jumped to XML format last Fall.

But it will relaunch again in a layout and format similar to a traditional news Web site on July 26, the 75th anniversary of the day Franklin Roosevelt mandating its publication.

"It's like meets USA Today," Register managing editor Michael White said Thursday, referring to the government's main information portal and the newspaper that categorizes the news in color-coded, easily identifiable sections.

The Office of the Federal Register teamed with the Sunlight Foundation's Apps for America 2 contest to find private developers willing to help design the new project. Watch the winners, Dave Augustine, Bob Burbach and Andrew Carpenter, talk about the project and explain the new site in the video clip above.

"I really believe that this will open up all kinds of collaboration around non-governmental organizations and just public citizens," Carpenter says.

The site will divide the thousands of federal rules and regs into six main categories: Money, Environment, World, Science & Technology, Business & Industry and Health & Public Welfare. (They plan to add other sections later with the help of crowdsourcing and user feedback.) Though users will still be able to search for daily updates by agency or topics and with a table of contents, Register employees will become defacto news editors by choosing which new rules, regulations and requests for public comment to highlight on the home page based on the day's news and issues trending high on the Web or in Washington discourse.

"We think it will open up the site in a way that the general public wouldn't normally go into it," White said.

The efforts are part of the Obama administration's open government initiative and Register officials proudly noted that they're using open source software and cloud computing to build and maintain the site -- two major elements of the Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 movements.

Like what you see? Thoughts on what the new site should include?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: Hillary Clinton for president? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who's moved past her dustup with Robert Gibbs & Co.) names an interim chief administrative officer. Karl Rove on his biggest mistake. Dick Cheney's heart pump is not a miracle cure. Alan Greenspan opines on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. visits Southern Florida for the investiture of the region's U.S. attorney. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today co-hosts a Clean Energy Economy Forum. A Senate confirmation hearing for Obama's three Federal Reserve nominees. David Obey vs. Arne Duncan.

Census defies anti-government boycott calls: Government officials and political analysts say there is no sign that the anti-government climate had much impact on the census.

U.S. paid Iranian nuclear scientist $5 million for aid to CIA, officials say: "Anything he got is now beyond his reach, thanks to the financial sanctions on Iran," a U.S. official said. "He's gone, but his money's not."

Despite diplomatic tensions, U.S.-Israeli security ties strengthen: Military relations were very close during the Bush administration, but have been extended and enhanced since, a senior Israeli official acknowledged.

Project’s fate may predict the future of mining: Federal officials are considering whether to veto mountaintop mining above a little Appalachian valley, a step that could be a turning point for one of the country’s most contentious environmental disputes.

Bill includes porn-blocking technology for federal networks: The House passed this month an amendment to a supplemental spending bill that bars federal agencies from using funds for computer networks unless the systems block pornography.

Interior submits MMS reorganization plan to Congress: They want to split it into three new bureaus focused on resource management; safety and environmental oversight; and revenue collection and enforcement.

"Flub" freed Polanski: The Swiss government asked the U.S. Justice Department to release sealed transcripts in the Roman Polanski case just days before a Los Angeles judge was told that the Swiss did not request that information, according to a letter from Swiss officials that points to apparent miscommunication in the case.

Ex-Justice official: CIA interrogators used unauthorized techniques on detainees: House Democrats said Thursday that Jay S. Bybee, who headed the department's Office of Legal Counsel, told them in May that he never approved a number of interrogation techniques used.

Panel approves compromise plan to save space jobs and add shuttle mission: The three-year NASA spending plan passed by the committee adds a $1 billion shuttle mission to the International Space Station for next summer or fall and leaves contracts, equipment and personnel in place in case other flights are needed.

SEC settling its complaints with Goldman: The settlement would rank among the largest in the agency's history, but just a fraction of the company's reported $13.38 billion 2009 profits.

No vacancy at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad: As if the tight space and small staff wasn't bad enough, embassy workers are devoting a significant portion of their time to the hundreds of lawmakers and senior administration officials who visit each year.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Next: D.C. quake doesn't shake Obama or FEMA boss


Allan Greenspan supports letting the Bush tax cuts expire! Miracles never cease.
Tax cuts for the very Wealthy will expire - woohoo!

"Tax cuts create jobs." - Bush - HAHAHAHA - in China.

Posted by: angie12106 | July 16, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I remember the days whereby the Fed Reg would be delivered and would take 2 days to read......that's reading what was relevant to..for example Native American Affairs, Education, and Health Services (for me)

Our office was stocked with them. Needed a whole room for the Fed Regs. Oh, and OMB circulars too.

SO what's the website???? Is it or did I miss something here? I guess I could look since I have in my Favorites. And can't you access Fed Reg from the GAO???? Thomas????

Holder should visit Arizona so he can review how many coppers are bringing lawsuits against the state. We are having our landmark case being heard now.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 16, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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