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The U.S. 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 Courtmarker, the Congress, the Executive Office of the President, executive departments, and independent agencies.

The primary mission of 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

Government Printing Office
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. Adelaide Hasse was the founder of the Superintendent of Documents classification system.

Federal Depository Library Program

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 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.

As institutions committed to equity of access and dedicated to free and unrestricted public use, the nation's nearly 1,250 depository libraries serve as one of the vital links between "We the people" and our Government. Anyone can visit Federal depository libraries and use the Federal depository collections which are filled with information on careers, business opportunities, consumer information, health and nutrition, legal and regulatory information, demographics, and numerous other subjects.

The Depository Library Council (DLC) to the Public Printer was established in 1972 to provide advice on policy matters relating to the FDLP. The primary focus on the DLC's work is to advise the Public Printer, the Superintendent of Documents, and appropriate members of GPO staff on practical options for the efficient management and operation of the FDLP.

The authority for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the legal obligations of designated Federal depository libraries are found in 44 United States Code, 1901-1616.

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 Statemarker 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 Statemarker 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. GPO produced a record 24 million blank passports in FY 2008. All manufacturing is done at GPO’s main plant in Washington, D.C., and at a secure production facility in Stennis, Mississippi.

In the spring of 2009, GPO opened a second secure production facility on the grounds of the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. At this location GPO employees produce blank passport books that help meet the American people's rising demand for passports. This facility also meets the Department of State’s request for a secure production site for blank passports outside of Washington D.C. With the opening of this facility, more than 50 government jobs have been created in the Gulf coast region.

Trusted Traveler Program card

The new Trusted Traveler Program card produced by GPO.
GPO designs, prints, encodes and personalizes Trusted Traveler Program cards (NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST) for the Department of Homeland Securitymarker, Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In 2009, GPO produced 650,000 of these cards. These cards give the bearer faster service in crossing America’s northern and southern borders. The card gives travelers the convenience of expedited CBP processing through specially marked lanes at border crossings, similar to the E-Z pass on toll roads.

These cards are one of the most secure federal identification cards ever. Numerous security features protect it from tampering or unauthorized use. These include those visible to the naked eye—such as optically variable ink, laser engraved data, micro printing, and an advanced hologram. Other features can only be verified by a border protection officer using special equipment. The services GPO provides in the development of the secure cards in the Trusted Traveler Program, guarantees secure government control of the supply chain, card design, personal data, personalization and mailing.

GPO's Federal Digital System

The Federal Digital System (FDsys) gives the American people a one-stop site to authentic, published government information. The system launched in 2009. FDsys allows GPO to receive information from federal agencies in all three branches of government and create a repository for permanent, public access. FDsys offers incredible search capabilities for users such as: searching by Congressional Committee, a Member of Congress, keyword and date. FDsys replaced GPOAccess in 2009 and releases with additional functionality will occur throughout the next several years.

Practicing sustainable environmental stewardship is important in all aspects of GPO business. While developing FDsys, the agency focused on building an energy efficient, sustainable system. GPO sought out the most energy efficient servers available, which will reduce energy consumption by about 40 percent.

During its first year of operation, FDsys received several honors.Government Computer News named FDsys one of the top 10 Government’s websites. The publication sited FDsys and other web sites for providing more interactive tools for the public and aiding the Obama Administration in their goal to increaseGovernment transparency. FDsys also received a Hermes Creative Award by The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals--for the Public Relations Plan for the launch of the system.

Printing of President Obama's official photograph

The U.S. Government Printing Office printed the official photograph of President Barack Obama. These photographs are hanging in more than 7,000 federal installations managed by the General Services Administration (GSA). GPO printed more than 130,000 photographs, which included three sizes: 8 x 10, 11 x 14 and 20 x 24.

This is the first time the White House has taken the President’s official photograph digitally. GPO used its digital capabilities to produce the photograph of President Obama. Employees transferred the digital image from a computer to a printing plate and finally to one of GPO’s four color presses, which produced a high quality product. The President’s photograph is printed on paper containing recycled content and fiber from a sustainably managed forest.

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 through the GPO Seal of Authenticity, verifies the document's integrity and authenticity.
A GPO employee helps produce the FY 2010 Budget.
In the 21st century, the increasing use of electronic documents pose special 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 addition to these online versions, GPO employees have been working around the clock to print hardcopies of the President’s Budget. Nearly 8,000 copies of the budget appendix, analytical perspectives, historical tables and summary tables were printed for the release of the Budget for FY 2009. Office of Budget and Management Director, Peter Orszag, visited GPO to witness firsthand the hard work done by GPO employees. He was then given the first copy of the FY 2009 Budget, hot off the presses.

Sustainable environmental stewardship

The Clerk of the House Lorraine Miller and Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson visit GPO.

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 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building.

GPO has taken several steps to become a more environmentally-friendly plant. In 2008, GPO put on a new, biobased green roofing system; it is expected to double the life expectancy of the roof. During that year, GPO also recycled more than 5.6 million pounds of waste paper which is equivalent to about 34,000 trees saved. In order to continue their effort toward sustainable environmental stewardship, the two daily newspapers that GPO prints, the Congressional Record and the Federal Register, are being produced on 40% postconsumer waste recycled newsprint. In 2008, GPO also installed a solvent recovery system. As a result, GPO has reduced its hazardous waste in this area by 90%.

GPO's Style Manual

GPO publishes the United States 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.marker 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 D. Roosevelt (whose papers were privately printed).

In 2008, GPO revised its Style Manual for the first time in eight years. The new manual includes a more contemporary and readable format, URLs for further information, an expanded glossary of computer terms, new and updated entries in the Useful Tables chapter, an updated list of foreign country information, a completely revamped Capitalization chapter, a new section on GPO’s online initiatives, and inclusion of many suggestions from users.

Congressional Record Printed on 100% Recycled Paper

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the U.S. Congress achieved a major milestone in their joint effort to reduce the Federal Government’s carbon footprint. GPO began printing the Congressional Record on 100% recycled paper, which will reduce the Nation’s paper landfill waste across the country. The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of Congress, and it is printed by GPO everyday that Congress is in session. GPO has been testing 100% recycled paper during the past year. Those tests showed no difference in printability or run-ability as compared to the 40% post-consumer waste recycled paper GPO has been using for years.Public Printer Bob Tapella presented Speaker Nancy Pelosi with copies of the Congressional Record printed on 100% recycled paper. The Speaker congratulated Public Printer Tapella and all GPO employees for their efforts to green the Capitol complex and help reduce the overall environmental impact of the U.S. Congress.

Public Printers of the United States

By law, the Public Printer heads GPO. The position of Public Printer traces its roots back to Benjamin Franklin and the period before the American Revolution, when he served as "publick printer," whose job was to produce official government documents for Pennsylvania and other colonies.

Public Printers:
  1. Almon M. Clapp (1876-1877)
  2. John D. Defrees (1877-1882)
  3. Sterling P. Rounds (1882-1886)
  4. Thomas E. Benedict (1886-1889)
  5. Frank W. Palmer (1889-1894)
  6. Thomas E. Benedict (1894-1897)
  7. Frank W. Palmer (1897-1905), O.J. Ricketts (Acting, 1905-1905)
  8. Charles A. Stillings (1905-1908), William S. Rossiter (Acting, 1908-1908), Capt. Henry T. Brian (Acting, 1908-1908)
  9. John S. Leech (1908-1908)
  10. Samuel B. Donnelly (1908-1913)
  11. Cornelius Ford (1913-1921)
  12. George H. Carter (1921-1934)
  13. Augustus E. Giegengack (1934-1948), John J. Deviny (Acting, 1948-1948)
  14. John J. Deviny (1948-1953), Phillip L. Cole (Acting, 1953-1953)
  15. Raymond Blattenberger (1953-1961), John M. Wilson (Acting, 1961-1961), Felix E. Cristofane (Acting, 1961-1961)
  16. James L. Harrison (1961-1970)
  17. Adolphus N. Spence (1970-1972), Harry J. Humphrey (Acting, 1972-1973), L.T. Golden (Acting Deputy, 1973-1973)
  18. Thomas F. McCormick (1973-1977)
  19. John J. Boyle (1977-1980), Samuel Saylor (Acting, 1980-1981)
  20. Danford L. Sawyer, Jr. (1981-1984), William J. Barrett (Acting, 1984-1984)
  21. Ralph E. Kennickell, Jr. (1984-1989)
  22. Robert Houk (1990-1993), Michael F. DiMario (Acting, 1993-1993)
  23. Michael F. DiMario (1993-2002)
  24. Bruce James (2002-2007), William H. Turri (Acting, 2007-2007)
  25. Robert C. Tapella (2007-present)

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

Notable GPO publications

See also


External links

:Category:United States

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