Federal Register Web Site Gets Open Government Facelift

Open government advocates like Carl Malamud are celebrating the relaunch of the Federal Register's website. The compendium of the government's daily activities has been redesigned to make it easier for non-insiders to understand, navigate, and share.

The Register is the federal government's weekday compilation of new and proposed policies, regulations and public meeting notices. The first edition published in 1936, and its first Web site launched in 1994. An essential resource in Washington's legal and lobbying circles, the Register is rarely used by most Americans unfamiliar with its legal and bureaucratic jargon.

But Monday's relaunch should make the Register even easier to navigate: Its new Web site will divide the thousands of federal rules and regulations into six main categories: money, environment, world, science and technology, business and industry, and health and public welfare. (Editors will add other sections with public feedback.) Register employees will highlight items on the home page that relate to the day's headlines or topics of Washington debate. Each notice will appear on an individual page with a plainly written summary, links to agencies seeking formal public comment, and the ability to share items on Facebook and Twitter.

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