Digesting and Distilling Federal Register data
Switch branches/tags
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



Register is a project that attempts to distill the Federal Register data into a more digestible format with an emphasis on reproducibility for those also interested in the data. This project takes the 7GB of XML data from 2006 to 2016 and condenses it into a 15MB CSV. For more details / background, see the introductory blog post: Back to the Register: Distilling the Federal Register for All (the sample.R script is used to generate graphs for that post).

See Releases for the latest csv data. Here are the headers

  • date: The date the document appeared in the registry
  • type: Presidential / rule / proposed-rule / notice
  • agency: What agency issued this document (eg. Department of transportation)
  • subject: What is the subject / title of this document
  • names: List of names associated with the document (semi-colon delimited)
  • rin: List Regulation Identifier Numbers associated with the document (semi-colon delimited)

Here's a sample of the data (with subject column removed as Federal Register titles are quite long):

date        type    agency                             names               rin            docket
2013-03-20  notice  Department of transportation       G. Kelly Leone                     2013-06361
2015-04-02  notice  Department of veterans affairs     Rebecca Schiller                   2015-07509
2012-11-14  notice  Department of commerce             Gwellnar Banks                     2012-27621
2013-07-22  notice  Federal communications commission  Marlene H. Dortch                  2013-17626
2005-10-19  notice  Environmental protection agency    Vicki A. Simons                    05-20709
2016-02-09  notice  Office of personnel management     Beth F. Cobert                     2016-02615
2013-09-19  rule    Department of the interior         Stephen Guertin     RIN 1018-AY52  2013-22702
2009-05-05  notice  Department of labor                Elliott S. Kushner                 E9-10237
2010-08-03  notice  Small business administration      Karen G. Mills                     2010-19068
2007-09-05  notice  Environmental protection agency    James B. Gulliford                 E7-17542


Only a subset of fields available in the Federal Register are extracted into the CSV. If there is a field missing that you want to see, please open an issue or create a pull request.


If you're interested in reproducing or modifying the resulting data, here is what you need to know:

  • You'll want a linux machine to execute the bash scripts to make your life easier
  • Java, python3, and xsv installed
  • Patience, as the conversion process takes about 30 minutes

After the above are installed, run the below scripts, which will do the following:

  • setup.sh:
    • Download the java library for XQuery files into a saxon directory
    • Download the Federal Register data and unzips it into a data directory
  • run_conversion.sh
    • For each Federal Register file:
      • Run the XQuery transformation (transform.xql), which outputs JSON
      • Pipe the JSON into the python script (to_csv.py), which outputs a CSV file
    • Combine all the CSV files into a single timestamped output using xsv