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Federal Register site having issues today

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Uh oh. Scarcely does President Obama herald an end to the paper version of the Federal Register, then we get a reminder of why people  like to keep hard copies around. Although the table of contents for today’s Register was available online as usual, none of the links to the actual rulemakings and other administrative actions appeared to be working until late this morning (Eastern Standard Time).

Instead, you got a “content  unavailable” message. In a blog post on the Register’s site, the Government Printing Office said it was looking into the problem and apologized for any inconvenience. In an email, GPO spokesman Gary Somerset later attributed the snafu to a “minor glitch” with a web address and said it had been resolved.

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GPO names Davis new technology officer

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The Government Printing Office has named Richard Davis its chief technology officer.

In his new role, Davis will oversee the Office of Programs, Strategy and Technology, which includes development of GPO’s Federal Digital System.

The next generation system provides online access to federal documents and publications.

Prior to becoming CTO, Davis served as acting superintendent of documents and managing director of library services and content management. There he oversaw the transfer of government information to the FDsys.

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Google’s ebookstore offers federal titles

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If you’ve longed to own a copy of the appendix for the federal budget (all 1,416 pages for fiscal 2011), you’re in luck.

You can snag a copy for just $9 .99 on Google’s ebookstore. The search engine giant is partnering with the Government Printing Office to offer federal government titles in its collection of ebooks, which include biographies and memoirs.

GPO has added nearly 100 government titles in the catalog “and will continue to add titles in the next several months,” according to a GPO announcement made Tuesday.

For now, you can read up about the space age or the history of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  

If you’re not into ebooks and would rather feel the pages between your fingers, there’s always GPO’s renovated bookstore at 710 North Capitol St.

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Federal Register gets web facelift

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Monday marked the 75th anniversary of the law creating the Federal Register,  and the compilers of that bureaucratic bible celebrated with the launch of Federal Register 2.0, billed as a more user-friendly online prototype.

Surf  to the web site, and you’ll find the same scintillating potpourri of official notices, rule-making actions and presidential documents,  but in a new format that breaks down daily entries by “Money” “Environment,” and four other categories.

It also features a “What’s Hot” section and boasts  “improved search and navigation tools to guide readers to the most popular topics and relevant documents,” according to a news release from the Government Printing Office, which shares responsibility for the site with the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register, or OFR.

“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,” Public Printer Bob Tapella said in the release. “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.”

Party on!

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Data for the masses

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Carl Malamud is running for federal office. For head of the Government Printing Office, to be precise. But there’s no election.

No matter, he’s running anyway.

A week and a half ago, Malamud launched a virtual-roots campaign and Web site – yeswescan.org – in a bid to be appointed by President Barack Obama as the Public Printer of the United States.

GPO may seem like a sleepy government outpost to some, but not to Malamud.

For him, it would the opportunity of a lifetime. As founder of the California-based nonprofit group Public.Resource.org, he’s spent his career ushering years worth of government information and documents onto the Internet, greatly annoying federal officials along the way.

Carl Malamud

Carl Malamud

If appointed as head of GPO, the 49-year-old Malamud promises big changes. Among them: Make all legal materials readily accessible; tighten bonds with the nation’s librarians; create a United States Publishing Academy to educate the rest of government on how to print and publish effectively in the modern age; overhaul the Federal Register to be more useable and accessible; and post government Web sites and information to be more prominent on the Internet.

“For what it is worth, I think anybody who wants to operate at senior levels of our government owes the public as well as their potential employer a thorough, in-depth examination of what they think about the agency,” he told Federal Times. “This is particularly important to a service bureau like the GPO.”

To help his case, Malamud has fashioned an Obama-esque poster and campaign slogan: Yes We Scan.

Any bites yet from the Obama team? It doesn’t hurt that a former boss and fan of his, John Podesta, is running the Obama transition team. “He would certainly shake things up,” Podesta was quoted as saying in The New York Times.

Malamud said he’s been invited to submit “a whole bunch of information about the GPO to the president’s transition team.”

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