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History

A timeline of GPO's history of providing online access to electronic government information.

In the 1990's

Screenshot of the GPO Access website homepage in 1999.

June 8, 1993- Congress passed the GPO Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act (Public Law 103-40) which expanded GPO’s mission to provide electronic access to Federal Government information, leading to the launch of GPO Access.

June 8, 1994- GPO Access launched and included the Congressional Record, Congressional Record Index, Enrolled Bills, and the Federal Register. GPO Access launched with 3 applications and grew to 45 by the time FDsys was developed. GPO Access went on be America’s source for Government information online for more than 15 years until FDsys was launched.

December 1995- GPO Access became free to all users. Previously, GPO Access was only available by subscription but free to Federal depository libraries.

June 1998- GPO Access was named one of just 15 ‘‘Best Feds on the Web’’ by Government Executive magazine.

1999- GPO Access was selected as one of the top 50 legal research web sites for 1999 by Law Office Computing magazine, and was named best research site for laws and best Government site overall by the newsletter legal.online. It was also chosen as the first recipient of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Public Access to Government Information Award. GPO and DOE jointly earned a Hammer Award from Vice President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government for the ‘‘Information Bridge,’’ a project that made available thousands of unclassified DOE scientific and technical reports in electronic image format via GPO Access.


First Decade of the 2000's

Screenshot of the GPO Access website homepage in 2004.

April 2003- In response to user feedback, GPO unveiled a major redesign of GPO Access. This interface introduced a consistent design and a means of navigating throughout the site.

May 2003- GPO formed a working group to begin to transform GPO into the digital age. During 2003-2004, GPO gathered research and information in an initiative to create a state-of-the-art digital platform for ingesting, storing, authenticating, and providing public access to Government information. This system was eventually named the Future Digital System, or FDsys for short.

August 2003- The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Government Printing Office (GPO) signed an agreement to establish an affiliated relationship. The agreement, which was amended in 2012, ensures that the documents available on FDsys, the GPO web site that provides free online public access to more than 250,000 federal government titles, will be available permanently. Although other affiliated archive agreements evolved over time to include electronic records, this agreement was the first of its kind between NARA and another government agency to specifically address electronic government records.

October 2004- GPO unveiled the concept for what would eventually become FDsys at the Fall Depository Library Council meeting. It was described as a “world-class system to manage official government information” and a “concept for the next generation information life cycle management system for official government information.”

August 2006- GPO announces development of “a world-class Future Digital System” as a “major step towards ensuring the American public has a one-stop site to access Government information that is authentic, version-controlled and permanently available.”

January 2008- GPO authenticates the first ever online Budget of the U.S. Government (FY 2009) by digital signature.

March 2008- GPO authenticated Public and Private Laws following a beta period.

October 2008- System’s name changed from working name during its development phase (Future Digital System) to its official new name (Federal Digital System).

Screenshot of the FDsys website homepage in 2009.

January 15, 2009- FDsys public website was launched as a beta in parallel with the existing GPO Access site. The site initially included content and XML metadata files for Congressional Bills, Calendars, Committee Prints, Hearings, Reports, Documents, Congressional Directory, Congressional Record, Public Laws, and United States Code. FDsys launched with more than 154,000 documents accessible. As part of FDsys, GPO began digitally signing all PDF files as part of the FDsys workflow.

FDsys offered key enhancements to GPO Access including:

  • Easily search across multiple publications or collections of Government publications from a single search box
  • Perform an advanced search against robust metadata about each publication from a single advanced search page
  • Construct complex search queries using advanced Boolean and field operators
  • Refine and narrow searches by applying filters, sorting search results, and searching within search results
  • View more information about a publication and access multiple file formats from a “More Information” Web page and access metadata or information about Government publications in standard formats such as MODS and PREMIS

July 2009- FDsys was named one of “10 Great Government Web Sites” by Government Computer News.

October 2009- GPO and NARA worked together to convert the test of the Federal Register into XML format for bulk download through the FDsys bulk data repository, making it GPO’s first XML bulk data set.


Second Decade of the 2000's

December 2010- FDsys replaced the legacy GPO Access website and became GPO's system of record.

October 2011- The U.S. Courts Opinions collection launched on FDsys with 3 courts. A total of 29 courts were made available by the end of FY12.

November 2011- GPO launched their first mobile web app with the Mobile Member Guide.

January 30, 2012-The first FDsys audio content, the JFK Flight Deck Audio Recording, was made available on behalf of NARA.

February 7, 2012- FDsys achieved record number of visits totaling more than 140,000 to the site over a five-day period. This record was accomplished after GPO supported NARA in releasing the post-President Kennedy assassination audio tape recording on FDsys the previous week.

February 13, 2012- GPO made the Budget app available.

March 2012- GPO Access was sunset and redirects to FDsys were enabled.

June 2012- FDsys reached a milestone of 200 million retrievals of content. GPO made the FDsys API Link Service available. Presidential Documents mobile app made available.

September 2012- GPO received a Digital Government Achievement Award for developing the FY 13 Budget app.

February 2013- Budget of the United States Government App for FY14 released.

May 2013- FDsys reached a milestone of 500 million retrievals of content.

September 2013- Enhancements made to the Constitution Annotated, which was released as a digitally-signed, searchable PDF with linked table of contents, table of cases, and index along with GPO's Seal of Authenticity on every page. Mobile Member Guide App for the 113th Congress made available.

January 2014- House Bill Summaries made available in XML for bulk download.

April 2014- FDsys reached a milestone of 1 billion retrievals of content. Privacy Act Issuance made available in XML for bulk download.

June 2014- Court of International Trade Opinions made available.

September 2014- Content Processing Framework Update to Support Digital Signatures.

December 2014- Section 1301 of H.R. 83 redesignated the Government Printing Office as the Government Publishing Office.

January 2015- Senate Bills and Bill Summaries XML Bulk Data made available.

March 2015- GPO joined GitHub.

August 2015- eCFR XML Bulk Data was released on FDsys.

September 2015- GPO was awarded a Digital Government Achievement Award in the Government to Government category for a partnership with Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for making available the U.S. Courts Opinions collection on FDsys.

February 3, 2016- GPO launched the redesigned govinfo website in beta. govinfo functionality enhances the way stakeholders can interact with the site, strengthening GPO’s position as the central location for access to Federal government information. In addition to a redesigned, mobile-friendly website with a modern look and feel, govinfo offers key enhancements including:

  • improved navigation based on extensive user feedback and usability testing,
  • additional options for browsing content collections and for sharing pages on social media,
  • implementation of a new open-source search engine, and
  • enhanced functionality that links related documents together, making it easier for users to navigate quickly to relevant content; related documents connect information together within the various legislative and rulemaking processes without the need for users to do separate searches.