A U.S. government document may be broadly defined as any publication (in print, on microfiche, or electronic) issued at government expense or published under the authority of a governmental body. Included are official papers that record the actions or deliberations of government (such as the Congressional Record), informational publications (like the many statistical compilations of the Bureau of the Census), and reports of research done under government contract.
The United States Government, often through the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and its predecessor agencies has provided open access to much U.S. information since 1790.
The official handbook of the federal government, the U.S. Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees.