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Government Resources: FDsys

This guide will assist you in locating government document tools to assist in your research needs.

What is FDsys?

What does FDsys stand for?
FDsys is GPO’s Federal Digital System - America’s Authentic Government Information

What is the URL for FDsys?
Anyone can access FDsys at

What is FDsys?
FDsys provides free online access to official Federal Government publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. Through FDsys, you are able to:

  • Search for documents and publications
    — FDsys provides advanced search capabilities and the ability to refine and narrow your search for quick access to the information you need.
  • Browse for documents and publications
    — FDsys offers browsing by collection, Congressional committee, and date.
  • Access metadata about documents and publications
  • — FDsys presents information about Government publications in standard XML formats.
  • Download documents and publications in multiple renditions or file formats
    — With FDsys, download a single file or download content and metadata packaged together in a compressed file

    FDsys enables GPO to manage Government publications from Congress and Federal agencies that are submitted to GPO in digital form, gathered from Federal Web sites, and created by scanning previously printed publications. Through FDsys, GPO is utilizing new technologies and methods for acquiring, authenticating, preserving, and providing access to Government publications in digital form.

FDsys is:

  • A Content Management System:
    FDsys provides free online access to official Federal Government publications and securely controls digital content throughout its lifecycle to ensure content integrity and authenticity.
  • A Preservation Repository:
    The repository guarantees long-term preservation and access to digital Government content. To meet this critical need for continued access to Federal Government information, FDsys follows archival system 
  • An Advanced Search Engine:
    FDsys combines modern search technology with extensive metadata creation to ensure the highest quality search experience.

What is the history behind Government information online from GPO?
In 1993, Congress passed the U.S. Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act (Public Law 103-40), which expanded GPO’s mission to provide electronic access to Federal Government information. In June 1994, GPO launched GPO Access, which provides online access to information from all three branches of the Federal Government. For more than 15 years GPO Access was America’s source for Government information online, but in 2009 GPO unveiled the next generation of Government information online with the Federal Digital System (FDsys).

Why use FDsys?

  • Access is free.
  • About 50 different collections of Federal Government information are available.
  • FDsys is easy to use.
  • FDsys offers authentic, digitally signed PDF documents.
  • Information is preserved for permanent public access.
  • Search multiple publications at once.
  • Conduct complex searches.
  • Narrow, sort, and filter search results.
  • Access documents in multiple file formats.
  • Access metadata in standard XML formats.
  • Browse by collection, Congressional committee, and date.
  • Utilize a searchable online help system.


With permission from: Anita Etheridge, Tennessee State University