Federal Register goes XML -- at last

White House open government initiative helps produce new version of Federal Register

The Federal Register is now available in a format that lets readers browse, reorganize, and electronically customize the publication’s daily contents, White House officials announced today.

Issues of the Federal Register in XML format are now available at federalregister.gov. The XML documents are aslo available at Data.gov and GPO.gov. XML is a machine readable form of text that can be manipulated to work with digital applications, allowing people to analyze its contents in various ways.

The Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration collaborated with the White House open government initiative to produce the new version, White House officials said.

“Today's launch simplifies access to the Federal Register and furthers the president's call to engage all Americans in the workings of government,” said Aneesh Chopra, the federal chief technology officer. “We envision countless market innovations to ensure each voice is heard on the issues Americans care about the most.”

Last year’s editions of the daily publication contained nearly 32,000 separate documents on nearly 80,000 pages, White House officials said. The register chronicles White House and agencies' activities and proposed changes to federal regulations.

With the changes to the Register's data, entrepreneurs can develop applications that allow the public to parse the data in new ways, White House officials said. For example, Princeton's Center for Information Technology is launching Fedthread.org, a version of the register that allows users to annotate and comment in the margins to spark online discussions about pending governmental actions, according to the White House.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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