Integrity Legal

28th July 2010

Those who read this blog frequently would likely notice that we sometimes quote text, either directly or indirectly, from American rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents. Regulations in the United States are often noted in the Federal Register. In the past, the public service of keeping the public informed about pending regulations and policies was provided in print form. As the world becomes increasingly digital, more and more informational resources are being provided on virtual platforms. It would appear that this is also true for the Federal Register as the following quote from an announcement issued by the Government Printing Office would indicate:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register (OFR) launch the Federal Register 2.0 prototype, a user-friendly online version of the Federal Register. This daily journal of government has provided the public with access to government information and federal regulations for the past 75 years. Federal Register 2.0 features a new layout that organizes the content by topics similar to a newspaper Web site. The site displays individual sections for Money, Environment, World, Science and Technology, Business and Industry, and Health and Public Welfare. The Web site has improved search and navigation tools to guide readers to the most popular topics and relevant documents. Users can submit comments and stay connected through social media.

Although this news is quite interesting and evidences a strong commitment on the part the American government to keep the public informed about those regulatory matters which may have an impact upon the lives of US Citizens and/or lawful permanent residents, it should also be noted that the Federal Register has a distinguished history of providing information to the public in print form. To quote the aforementioned publication further:

The first copy of the Federal Register came off GPO presses on March 14, 1936. GPO partners with OFR to provide the information in the Federal Register to the American people in both print and electronic form. GPO coordinated the development aspects of the new Web site in collaboration with OFR. GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), a content management system and preservation repository, feeds content into Federal Register 2.0 and acts as the holder of the official content and archived information.


“Federal Register 2.0 is a landmark achievement for the National Archives, OFR and GPO,” said Public Printer Bob Tapella. “This is an example of how the legislative branch and executive branch work together to make government information available and easily accessible for the American people. For 75 years, GPO has never missed a print deadline for the Federal Register and now we look forward to working with OFR to support Federal Register 2.0.”


“Federal Register 2.0 is an advance in the open government initiative of the Obama administration by being able to make the  Federal Register readily available and easily understood,” said Director of the Federal Register Ray Mosley. The GPO is the federal government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published U.S. government information in all its forms. GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the federal government.

In the information age, knowledge truly equates to power. Therefore, it is admirable that the government took the initiative in attempting to provide a user friendly platform for those seeking information about pending, as well as enacted, Federal rules. Although there are some who believe that the Federal Register should remain exclusively in print form, it seems prudent and far-thinking for the government to provide online services to Americans as well as other interested parties. With that in mind, there are those who feel that there could be a possible “information overload” scenario in which Americans, inundated by a constant barrage of news and media, will not be receptive to initiatives such as this. It is this author’s opinion that increasing information for public consumption will generally have a net positive impact upon the American population as a whole.


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