Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ANSP on CFATS Knowledge Center

While the proposed Ammonium Nitrate Security Program (ANSP) is not part of the CFATS program there will be a certain amount of overlap on the people and facilities affected by the two programs. With that in mind I was very happy to see a brief mention of the ANSP NPRM on the CFATS Knowledge Center web page. Found under the ‘Latest News’ heading is a link to the following brief announcement:

“DHS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program in the Federal Register on August 3, 2011. The proposed rule would regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate (AN) to help prevent the misappropriation or use of AN in the act of terrorism. CFATS facilities, regulated for possession of AN, are affected by this proposed rule. Click here for a copy of the proposal. Comments on the proposal are due on or before December 1, 2011; comments on the proposed collection of information is due on or before October 3, 2011.”

I was sure that the link provided in the ‘Click here’ would take one to the listing of the NPRM in today’s Federal Register. Boy was I surprised when I clicked on the link. Instead of going to today’s FR I was taken to a page on the Federal Register web site that deals with the ANSP NPRM, but isn’t really the official Federal Register page for the NPRM.

Actually, this new page is, in many ways, much more useful than the official page. For anyone who has ever had to search through a 120 page preamble and rule for an obscure pieced of information you know about the problem of having to scroll back and forth until you find the required portion of the preamble or rule. On this page, however, the entire NPRM is located on a single web page with links from the table of contents at the top of the page to the appropriate places in the rule. Actually this table of contents is the same as found in the preamble (76 FR 46908).

So, if for example, you were looking for information on TSA rules concerning ammonium nitrate, you would simply scroll down the table of contents until you came to the ‘Federal Regulations Addressing Ammonium Nitrate’ and then just click on “c. Transportation Security Administration” and it will take you directly to the appropriate section. Even better than that, the link can be pasted into a document like this blog and it will take my readers directly to the place in the article.

When I first looked at this I noted one small apparent problem. The official Federal Register page numbers (76 FR XXXX) that one typically uses in a cite for a quote from the Federal Register are shown on the page. Except, they really are, they’re just hidden. To the right of the first line of every paragraph is a faded bookmark. If you roll you’re pointer over that book mark it darkens and becomes a link to a citation block. That block provides the typical FR cite for that paragraph as well as a link that can be copied (Right-click and select ‘Copy shortcut’) for pasting into another document.

This is a great use of internet technology for information sharing. The folks at the Federal Register are to be congratulated for this innovative use of html coding. The only complaint that I have is that there isn’t a link to this page on the GPO index for the Federal Register or the emailed table of contents that get sent out daily.

And, as always, thanks to the folks at the CFATS Help Desk for providing the link to this site on the CFATS Knowledge Center. I wish that all of the government web sites that I have to deal with on a routine basis were as helpful in sharing their specific knowledge as is the CFATS Knowledge Center. Keep up the good work.


Peregrinator said...

Great description of how to use paragraph linking and finding the metadata about a section of a Federal Register article!

If it's helpful the new Federal Register site let's you subscribe via email to the daily contents ( and to all future article mentioning the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program ( Just look for the envelope icon in the 'Subscribe' sidebar.

Laurie Thomas said...

Patrick, thank you for this post, I thought I was thoroughly grounded in the FR but I had never seen this tool. Those of us who haunt the FR will find this very useful.

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