University of Pittsburgh
December 1, 2005

Making Better Rules Online

Pitt researcher to speak at Dec. 5 U.S. House Judiciary Committee-sponsored symposium on electronic rulemaking
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Federal regulations are not created in a vacuum: Agencies must give notice of proposed rules and review all comments submitted by the public. However, information technology and the Internet have enabled public comment on an unprecedented scale. In controversial cases, "electronic rulemaking" can present significant information processing challenges. University of Pittsburgh researcher Stuart W. Shulman, who has done extensive research on electronic rulemaking for the past five years, will discuss these issues Monday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during a public symposium titled "E-Rulemaking in the 21st Century," to be held in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

"When thousands or hundreds of thousands of people comment, it's hard to know what they are all saying," says Shulman, who is an assistant professor in Pitt's School of Information Sciences and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. "Our research is making it easier to understand these comments and to bring to the foreground the unique ideas that are highly salient for the public."

In an effort to improve electronic rulemaking, the federal government has launched a portal called Regulations.Gov and is developing a government-wide online regulatory docketing system known as the Federal Docket Management System.

The symposium, sponsored by the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary in cooperation with the Congressional Research Service and Harvard University's Regulatory Policy Program, will examine new developments in e-rulemaking and their implications for administrative law and procedure, as well as research and policy issues raised by applying information technology to the rulemaking process.

Shulman is the senior contributing editor of the Journal of E-Government and leads the multi-institution, National Science Foundation-funded eRulemaking Research Group (