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Get Your Hot, Fresh Federal Register 2.0!

On the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Federal Register Act (July 26, 2010), Federal Register 2.0 (FR 2.0) was launched. The site is jointly administered by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO).

A huge change in format from the old Federal Register, the new site is much more user-friendly and similar in layout to a daily web newspaper. Issues are divided into news sections for Money, Environment, World, Science & Technology, Business & Industry, and Health & Public Welfare. Issues can be also accessed by document type: Notices, Proposed Rules, Final Rules, and Presidential Documents. The site is intended to merge seamlessly with Regulations.gov to make it easier for users to submit comments directly into that site. With pictures and social networking icons, it is “truly a change from the past!”

At this point, FR 2.0 has the legal status of being unofficial. The content is taken directly from the daily XML-based edition of the Federal Register.

It’s great to see innovations to the format of government publications. However, there are bound to be some growing pains. I’d prefer to see some of the information contained in the bottom toolbar more near the top. For example, I think the About Us, Legal Status, and User Information sections should all be much more easy to find. The website does welcome comments and suggestions in a pop-up from the right-side of the homepage!

FDSys does link to FR 2.0 and FR 2.0 does link to Regulations.gov. I can’t help but wonder if somehow this could be streamlined a bit. Of course, I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to go to another grocery store if the first one doesn’t have what I want, so you’ll need to keep that in mind. I am still trying to figure out how to explain how all three websites fit together over the phone to a patron. However, I do acknowledge this is a huge step forward and a job well done by OFR and GPO!

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