OpenGov National Archives

Open Government Plan 2016 - 2018

National Archives and Records Administration

6.7 Office of the Federal Register

NARA’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) provides ready access to the official text of federal laws, Presidential documents, agency regulations, and descriptions of federal organizations, programs, and activities. OFR publications include the daily Federal Register, the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR), the annual Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Privacy Act Issuances, Public and Private Laws, U.S. Statutes at Large, the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents, and the U.S. Government Manual. All OFR publications are produced jointly with the Government Publishing Office (GPO) under a long-standing statutory partnership.

Open Government at the OFR

Since its creation in the 1935, the OFR has been a leader in promoting the ideals of transparency and open government. As we have entered the digital age, the OFR and GPO have made the Federal Register, CFR, Public Papers of the Presidents, and Privacy Act Issuances available as bulk XML data to enable anyone to access and re-use this information as needed. Recently the eCFR has been added to the OFR's XML repository, and additional publications are currently being evaluated with the intention of adding more datasets to the OFR’s publications collection.

Redesigning was released in 2010 to improve readability and usability of content published in the Federal Register. Currently we are working on a complete redesign of the site to improve search capability and to make it easier to distinguish official content that has been published in the Federal Register from material on public inspection, readers’ aids, and docket information. The site is open source and underlying code can be found on GitHub.

Open Data

The OFR will continue its strong focus on creating and releasing quality raw data for end users to repurpose. In partnership with the GPO, we released the XML version of the eCFR. For the public, the goal is to provide improved user readability and navigation within the eCFR and the ability to compare past, current, and future versions of CFR provisions. It will also provide greater opportunities for APIs and to customize delivery for targeted audiences.

Standardizing Government Organizational Charts

In partnership with the General Services Administration, OFR will work to capture agencies’ organizational directories (from the U.S. Government Manual) so that they can be created and released as machine-readable raw data in a consistent format across the U.S. federal government. Standardizing this material as open data will allow other government bodies, including state and local governments, to also publish using the open data format. Creating this standardization will help the public access information and contact government, while also allowing government to more easily serve the public. This joint effort is one of the commitments set out in the third U.S. Open Government National Action Plan.

Continuously Updated U.S. Government Manual

The OFR is working to update the processing and publication timelines for the U.S. Government Manual. These new efficiencies will allow for more frequent updating of this electronic publication and its underlying raw data.

Bulk Data Applications

Over the past several years, OFR has been adding its publications, one by one, to the repository and to We’ve now added the Privacy Act Issuances to both sites.

Digitizing the Historic Federal Register
The OFR, in partnership with GPO, has started scanning the first set of Federal Register issues (1990-1994) that will be converted to an official PDF format. This project, when complete, will make historical issues of the Federal Register available online, beginning with the first issues from 1936.