RFP: Enhanced Code of Federal Regulations

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Carl Malamud

Jun 2, 2009, 3:18:43 PM6/2/09
to Open Government
Enhanced Code of Federal Regulations
Request for Paper, Public.Resource.Org, RFP CFR-06012009

This RFP is a call for assistance from librarians and other civic-
minded individuals. In 2008, Public.Resource.Org, with the assistance
of a variety of parties including the Sunlight Foundation,
GovTrack.US, Stanford University, and Google, purchased a bulk feed of
the Code of Federal Regulations, a product sold by the Government
Printing Office.[1] This RFP details the second stage of this

Many readers are familiar with past efforts of Public.Resource.Org to
make available major public safety codes from the 50 states.[2] Our
authorization for posting these documents for public distribution is
contained in the Veeck decision, which held that any technical
standards duly Incorporated by Reference into law must be broadly
available for all to use, as all our laws must.[3] This same
mechanism, Incorporation by Reference, is also used extensively at the
Federal Level, particularly in the Code of Federal Regulations where
thousands of such technical standards are made legally binding as part
of executive branch regulations.[4]

Public.Resource.Org has received a grant from Sunlight Foundation to
create an Enhanced Code of Federal Regulations, which will Incorporate
by Inclusion all standards that have been Incorporated by Reference.
In addition to support from the Sunlight Foundation,
Public.Resource.Org gratefully acknowledges the prior assistance of
the Omidyar Network which previously funded our work in 2007 and 2008,
and which has also provided substantial support to the Sunlight
Foundation enabling them to fund work such as the present RFP.

In order to incorporate a standard by inclusion, we must match the
exact version of the standard with the language in the Code of Federal
Regulations. For example, if the CFR incorporates the 2000 version of
ANSI Z21.1–2000, Household Cooking Gas Appliances, we can only
incorporate that specific version and not subsequent or prior

There are two sources, in addition to the Code of Federal Regulations
itself, for determining if a technical standard has been
incorporated. First, the government runs a database at NIST that
includes this material.[5] Second, Public.Resource.Org did a manual
scan of the CFR and pulled out as many references to technical
standards as we could find.[6]

In this RFP, we are asking for assistance from the Library Community
and other individuals to provide us with copies of any such standards
they might have. We are particularly interested in documents from the
American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society for
Testing and Materials (ASTM), the American Boat and Yachting Club
(ABYC), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American
Petroleum Institute (API), the Electrical Industries Association
(EIA), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Society of Automotive
Engineres (SAE), and Underwriters Laboratories.

Many of these standards cost hundreds of dollars apiece, and very few
public libraries in the U.S. appear to have copies of any of these.
Your assistance in making these vital technical standards more widely
available would be greatly appreciated. One of the few libraries with
an extensive collection of these technical standards is the Illinois
State Library in Springfield, Illinois. We are looking for a student
who would be interested in doing some scanning in that library for a
few days. In addition, you can use a tool such as WorldCat.Org to try
and find specific standards at a library near you.

Those interested in contributing materials may contact me from our
"about" page.[7]

Best regards,

Carl Malamud


[1] Public.Resource.Org, Letter to the Public Printer, 06/17/2008

[2] Public.Resource.Org, Welcome to Code City, 09/01/2008

[3] Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress, 293 F.3d 791, June 7,

[4] National Archives, Incorporation By Reference

[5] National Institutes of Standards and Technology, SIBR Database

[6] Public.Resource.Org, Partial List of Standards Incorporated

[7] Public.Resource.Org, Contact Page
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