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United States Government Printing Office

Government Printing Office
Official seal Agency overview Formed June 23, 1860Jurisdiction Federal government of the United StatesHeadquarters 732 North Capitol St.NW
Washington, D.C.Agency Executive Robert C. Tapella, Public PrinterWebsite

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 (SuDocs) who is in charge of the dissemination of information; it is the Superintendent's responsibility to provide public access to Government information published by the U.S. Congress, Federal agencies and the Federal courts.

The entrance to GPO headquarters in Washington

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.

A new e-passport produced by the GPO

GPO ceased production of the older passports in May 2007.[1]

Recently, the GPO has come under fire for outsourcing the manufacturing of e-passports, a concern for national security.[2]

Future Digital Information System (FDsys)

GPO's Office of Innovation and New Technology is working to develop GPO’s Digital Information 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 catalogued 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 early 2008.[3]

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.


The GPO also publishes annual United States Government Manual, and an official style manual to be used for all Government publications. The GPO Bookstore sells 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.


  1. ^ GPO Press Release on GPO website, July 2007
  2. ^ Outsourced passports netting govt. profits, risking national security, March 26 2008
  3. ^ GPO Website Project Overview

See also

External links

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