The primary mission of the GPO is to make government publications widely available, by gathering, cataloging, providing, and preserving published information in all forms. GPO provides information to the public through GPO Access, which contains searchable databases of government information, and through the Federal Depository Library Program, which is a partnership with hundreds of libraries throughout the country.
The Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) is in charge of the dissemination of information at the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). The Superintendent is appointed by the Public Printer, who serves as the head of GPO. It is the Superintendent's responsibility to provide public access to Government information published by the United States Congress, Federal agencies and the United States federal courts. This is accomplished through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the Cataloging and Indexing Program and the Publication Sales Program, as well as operation of the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, Colorado.
The United States Department of State began issuing e-Passports in 2006. The e-Passport includes an electronic chip embedded in the cover that contains the same information that is printed in the passport: name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, dates of passport issuance and expiration, passport number and photo image of the traveler. The e-passport contains security features to prevent the chips from being read, cloned or changed. GPO produces the blank e-Passport, while the Department of State receives and processes applications and issues individual passports.
GPO ceased production of legacy passports in May 2007, shifting production entirely to e-passports. In 2007, GPO produced approximately 20 million passports for the American public.
All manufacturing is done at GPO’s main plant in Washington, DC and at a secure production facility in Stennis, Mississippi.
FDsys will include all known federal Government documents within the scope of GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), whether printed or electronic. Information entered into the system will be authenticated and cataloged according to GPO metadata and document creation standards. Content will include text, graphics, audio, and video files. It will be available for online searching and viewing, downloading and printing, and as document masters for conventional and on-demand printing.
FDsys is being developed in phases and currently included three scheduled releases. The first public release is scheduled for December 2008.
Material distributed through the FDLP includes information on careers, business opportunities, consumer information, health and nutrition, legal and regulatory information, and U.S. demographics.
GPO made history in the distribution of the Budget of the U.S. Government on February 4, 2008. The President of the United States released the first-ever electronic Federal Budget (E-Budget) to Congress and GPO authenticated the E-Budget by digital signature. The visible digital signature on an online PDF document serves the same purpose as handwritten signatures or traditional wax seals on printed documents. This signature assures the public that the document has not been changed or altered. A digital signature, viewed thorugh the GPO Seal of Authenticity, verfies the document's integrity and authenticity.
In the 21st Century, the increasing use of electronic documents pose speical challenges in verifying authenticity because digital technology makes such documents easy to alter or copy, leading to multiple non-identical versions that can be used in counterfeiting and other unauthorized or illegitimate ways.
In 2008 Public Printer Robert C. Tapella outlined goals for sustainable print solutions for GPO’s customers. One environmental sustainability initiative Tapella said he would like to achieve is to retire GPO’s antiquated building in Washington, D.C. and relocate it to a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building.