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The White House, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register (OFR) achieved a breakthrough in making Government information available and usable by the public. GPO converted the text of the Federal Register (2000-2009) into XML (extensible markup language) and placed it online in numerous Federal Government portals, which include: GPO's Federal Digital System <www.fdsys.gov>, The Federal Register Web site <www.federalregister.gov> and the Government's new portal for Government data <www.data.gov>. This project began when President Barack Obama challenged Federal agencies to create a more open and transparent Government. GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys), a world-class information management system for Federal publications, is instrumental in enabling this enhanced capability for the Federal Register.
"The transformation, undertaken by the Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration, vastly increases the Federal Register's usefulness to the American public and further opens the curtains on the inner workings of Government, a major goal of the Obama Administration," said Beth Noveck, Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government.
The change supplements the official publishing formats with XML, a form of text that can be manipulated in virtually limitless ways with digital applications. For example, people who want to know about the workings of the Executive branch of the Federal Government no longer need to sift through the Federal Register in its traditional Department-by-Department and Agency-by-Agency format. This new format will allow applications to be developed that will support user needs and can rearrange the Federal Register's contents in personalized ways to match their particular interests. It will be possible, for example, to download the Federal Register and easily see what proposed actions might affect one's community or region, or what actions might have an impact on one's profession or business interests.
"Providing ten years of Federal Register data in a format that is easy to manipulate is an exciting and ground-breaking development," said Ray Mosley, Director of the Federal Register. "This paves the way for consumers, rather than Government officials to be in charge of deciding how to access critical information. The Government Printing Office and the Office of the Federal Register accomplished a minor miracle in warp-speed time."
"I want to congratulate GPO employees who worked with The White House and the Office of Federal Register in providing the American people the tools to provide openness and transparency to the documents of our democracy," said Public Printer Bob Tapella. "GPO's Federal Digital System not only provides transparency to our Government, but provides Americans a permanent repository of authentic Federal Government information."
We look forward to seeing all of the new digital applications created by resourceful citizens using the XML files. You can access the Federal Register Bulk Data Repository at <http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/bulkdata/FR>. Let us know about any new applications you discover using the XML files and what you think about this initiative by posting your comments on the blog.
If you have questions or comments, please use the askGPO help service at: <http://www.gpoaccess.gov/help>. When submitting a question, please choose the category "FDsys: Federal Digital System" in order to ensure that your question is routed to the correct area.