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United States Government Printing Office

United States Government Printing Office

United States Government Printing Office: see Government Printing Office, United States.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) is an agency of the legislative branch of the United States federal government. The office prints and provides access to documents produced by and for all three branches of the federal government, including the Supreme Court, the Congress, the Executive Office of the President, executive departments, and independent agencies.

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.


GPO began operations in accordance with Congressional Joint Resolution 25 of June 23, 1860. The activities of GPO are defined in the public printing and documents chapters of Title 44 of the United States Code. The Public Printer, who serves as the head of GPO, is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Public Printer selects a Superintendent of Documents.

Superintendent of Documents

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.

Official Journals of Government

GPO now contracts out much of the federal government's printing but prints the official journals of government in-house, including:


GPO has been producing U.S. passports since the 1920s.

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.

GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys)

GPO's Program Management Office is working to develop GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). The goal of FDsys is to allow federal agencies to easily create and submit content that can then be preserved, authenticated, managed and delivered upon request. GPO plans for FDsys to be the core of GPO’s future operations.

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.

Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by the United States Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government's information. Since 1813, depository libraries have safeguarded the public's right to know by collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with information from the federal government. The FDLP provides Government information at no cost to about 1,250 designated depository libraries in the U.S. and its territories. These depository libraries, in turn, provide local, no-fee access to Government information in an impartial environment with professional assistance.

Material distributed through the FDLP includes information on careers, business opportunities, consumer information, health and nutrition, legal and regulatory information, and U.S. demographics.

Budget of the U.S. Government

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.

Sustainable Environmental Stewardship

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.


The GPO also publishes the annual United States Government Manual, and an official style manual to be used for all Government publications. Among the venerable series it publishes are Foreign Relations of the United States for the State Dept. since 1861, Statistical Abstract of the United States for the Census Bureau since 1878 and Public Papers of the President covering the administrations of Presidents Herbert Hoover onward except Franklin Delano Roosevelt (whose papers were privately printed). The GPO Bookstore sells the recent editions of these and other publications. The bookstore is located at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20401.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is responsible for the printing of United States currency.

Notable GPO publications


See also

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