A government publication is informational matter which is published as an individual document at Government expense, or as required by law according to 44 USC 1901. Many government documents are made available to the public through the depository libraries of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) whose collective mission is to provide free use of documents to the general public without impediments.
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) distributes documents at no cost through the FDLP to its depository libraries, and in turn, these libraries must comply with the provisions of Title 44 of the U.S. Code as well as other guidelines issued by the GPO. The libraries of the FDLP bear the costs of processing, collection development & maintenance, and access services. The FDLP is a partnership between GPO and participating depository libraries.
Government documents include official court reports, congressional documents for legislative history, official statutes & regulations, and many other categories of material, increasingly including many publications now available in electronic formats. The future of the FDLP will be intertwined with emerging technologies and the U.S. government's commitment to releasing more information in electronic format only.