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Part 6
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WRITING USER-FRIENDLY DOCUMENTS


Divide Your Letters Into Short Sections ||
Limit Each Paragraph to One Topic ||
Use Lots of Lists ||

[LETTER BUTTON]"Divide Your Letters Into Short Sections"

[checkmark]Short sections break up material into easily understood segments that are visually appealing to the reader.

Short sections are easier to organize and understand. Long sections are confusing and visually unappealing.

[LETTER BUTTON]"Divide Your Letters Into Short Sections"


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§ 2653.30   Native group selections.

(a) Selections must not exceed the amount recommended by the regional corporation or 320 acres for each Native member of a group, or 7,680 acres for each Native group, whichever is less. Native groups must identify any acreage over that as alternate selections and rank their selections. Beyond the reservations in sections 2650.32 and 2650.46 of this Part, conveyances of lands in a National Wildlife Refuge are subject to the provisions of section 22(g) of ANCSA and section 2651.41 of this chapter as though they were conveyances to a village corporation.

(b) Selections must be contiguous and the total area selected must be compact except where separated by lands that are unavailable for selection. BLM will not consider the selection compact if it excludes lands available for selection within its exterior boundaries; or an isolated tract of public land of less than 640 acres remains after selection. The lands selected must be in quarter sections where they are available unless exhaustion of the group's entitlement does not allow the selection of a quarter section. The selection must include all available lands in less than quarter sections. Lands selected must conform as nearly as practicable to the United States land survey system.
§ 2653.31   What are the selection criteria for Native group selections and what lands are available?

You may select only the amount recommended by the regional corporation or 320 acres for each Native member of a group, or 7,680 acres for each Native group, whichever is less. You must identify any acreage over 7,680 as alternate selections and rank their selections.

§ 2653.32   What are the restrictions in conveyances to Native groups?

Beyond the reservations described in this part conveyances of lands in a National Wildlife Refuge are subject to section 22(g) of ANCSA as though they were conveyances to a village corporation.

§ 2653.33   Do Native group selections have to be contiguous?

Yes, selections must be contiguous. The total area you select must be compact except where separated by lands that are unavailable for selection. BLM will not consider your selection compact if:

(a) It excludes lands available for selection within its exterior boundaries; or

(b) An isolated tract of public land of less than 640 acres remains after selection.

§ 2653.34   How small a parcel can I select?

Select lands in quarter sections where they are available unless there is not enough left in your group's entitlement to allow this. Your election must include all available lands in areas that are smaller than quarter sections. Conform your selection as much as possible to the United States land survey system.


Short sections also give you more opportunity to insert informative headings in your material. Remember that boldface section headings give your reader's the best roadmap to the regulation. Long sections are impossible to summarize meaningfully in a heading. When you write short sections, each heading can give the reader information about the entire contents of the section.


[checkmark] Write short sections that are easy for you to organize and for the reader to follow.


[LETTER BUTTON]"Limit Each Paragraph To One Topic In Your Letters"


[checkmark]Put only one topic in each paragraph to help your reader keep each idea separate.

Separating different topics into paragraphs is another way to help your reader understand your document. By making sure that each topic is in a separate paragraph, you give the reader a better idea of the underlying organization.

"Limit Each Paragraph to One Idea In Your Letters"


Good paragraphing is similar to using tables because it shows your reader the important issues and their relationship to subordinate topics. This is especially true because the new paragraphs that you identify often become subparagraphs.

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(a) Notice of a bid advertisement shall be published in at least one local newspaper and in one trade publication at least 30 days in advance of sale. If applicable, the notice must identify the reservation within which the tracts to be leased are found. Specific descriptions of the tracts shall be available at the office of the superintendent. The complete text of the advertisement shall be mailed to each person listed on the apporpriate agency mailing list.
(a) We will publish an advertisement to solicit bids 30 days before the sale.

(1) We will publish the notice in at least one local newspaper and in one trade publication.

(2) The notice will identify any reservation within which the tracts to be leased are found.

(3) We will mail the complete text of the advertisement to each person listed on the apporpriate agency mailing list.

(b) Specific descriptions of the tracts will be available at the superintendent's office.


As the example above shows, indentations and "white space" greatly improve the readability of your rule. When you use separate paragraphs for each idea, you show your reader how the regulation is organized and which ideas are more important.


[checkmark] Use paragraphs to help your reader understand which topics are important.


"Use Lots of Lists In Your Letters"

[checkmark]Vertical lists highlight important topics and make it easy for the reader to identify all elements in a series.

Vertical lists are much more appealing visually and easier to read than running text. They make your documents appear less dense and make it easier to spot main ideas. They are also an ideal way to present items, conditions, and exceptions.


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Each completed well drilling application must contain a detailed statement including the following information: the depth of the well, the casing and cementing program, the circulation media (mud, air, foam, etc.), the expected depth and thickness of fresh water zones, and well site layout and design. With your application for a drilling permit, provide the following information:

(a) Depth of the well;

(b) Casing and cementing program;

(c) Circulation media (mud, air, foam, etc.)
;

(d) Expected depth and thickness of fresh water zones; and

(e) Well site layout and design.


Vertical lists are also helpful in clarifying the chronological order of steps in a process.

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When a foreign student presents a completed Form I-20:

(a) Enter the student's admission number from Form 94;

(b) Endorse all copies of the form;

(c) Return a copy to the student; and

(d) Send a copy to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

However, you can over-use vertical lists. Remember to use them to highlight important information, not to over-emphasize trivial matters.


[checkmark] Use vertical lists to attract the reader's eye to important information and to break up large pieces of information.


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