GPO Access to FDsys Transition


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, and in January 2009 GPO unveiled the next generation of Government information online with its Federal Digital System (FDsys). December 20, 2010 began the countdown to the shut-down of GPO Access when FDsys became GPO’s official system of record for free access to information and publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. In November 2011, GPO Access entered its “archive only” state and transitioned its status to historical reference archive. From that point forward, FDsys was GPO’s only resource for access to current, updated information. On March 16, 2012, after 16 years of Keeping America Informed, GPO Access was shut down. In honor of the Father of the Constitution, James Madison’s, birthday, GPO chose his birthday, March 16th, for the momentous occasion. URL redirects were enabled as of March 16th to send users to the FDsys equivalent of GPO Access resources. In other cases, where one-to-one redirects were not possible due to differences in site layout, users have been redirected to the best available FDsys equivalent or the FDsys homepage at

FDsys is:

  • 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.
  • Preservation Repository
    The repository guarantees long-term preservation and access to digital Government content. To meet this critical need for permanent access to Federal Government information, FDsys follows archival system standards.
  • An Advanced Search Engine
    FDsys combines modern search technology with extensive metadata creation to ensure the highest quality search experience.

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 provides information about Government publications in standard XML formats.
  • Download documents and publications in multiple renditions or file formats: With FDsys, users can download a single file or download content and metadata packaged together in a compressed file.

Benefits of FDsys

In keeping with GPO’s mission of Keeping America Informed, FDsys continues to give the American people a one-stop site to authentic, published Government information, while enhancing the searching and browsing capabilities found on GPO Access.

FDsys provides key enhancements to GPO Access that will allow users to:

  • 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.
  • Retrieve individual Government documents and publications in seconds directly from each search result.
  • View more information about a publication and access multiple file formats from a "More Information" Web page that is available from each search result.
  • Access metadata or information about Government publications in standard formats such as MODS and PREMIS.
  • Download content and metadata packaged together as a single ZIP file.
  • Browse for a specific Government publication and browse within the publication using its table of contents.
  • Utilize enhanced help options including context specific field level help and a searchable online help system.

Effect on Federal Depository Libraries

As GPO transitioned from GPO Access to FDsys, depository libraries needed to update literature, presentations, Web pages, and other materials that were used to promote, teach, or utilize GPO Access. In addition, staff needed to learn the features and capabilities of FDsys. For instance:


Libraries should have planned for the following changes:

  • Replacing uses of the GPO Access name and logo to the FDsys branding.
  • Updating screenshots of GPO Access pages to reflect the FDsys pages.

New FDsys brochures and promotional materials were made available in spring 2012.

Web Links

URL redirects were enabled to send users to the FDsys equivalent of GPO Access resources on March 16, 2012. In other cases, where one-to-one redirects were not possible due to differences in site layout, users have been redirected to the best available FDsys equivalent or the FDsys homepage. Libraries were asked to update their bookmarks in spring 2012.

The transition from GPO Access to FDsys did not in any way affect the operation of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) and PURLs in regard to record or resource retrieval.

Bookmarking in FDsys

All links in FDsys can be bookmarked, including links to search results, browse pages, individual documents, and “more information” pages.

Learn About FDsys Features and Functionality

In order to effectively point users to the Federal information on FDsys, librarians should learn more about the features and functionality that are available. Use the following resources to learn more about FDsys:

  • About FDsys
  • Training Manual

FDsys training videos will also be available in the coming months from,, and

If you are in the Washington, D.C. area and would like to attend an Introduction to FDsys or Advanced Navigation in FDsys class at GPO, please visit for more information.

Finally, if you would like to request an FDsys class at your institution and you are in the Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. area, please use askGPO to make your request. Visit , and click on the Ask a Question tab. Choose “FDsys: Federal Digital System” as the category and “FDsys Training” as the sub-category. Also in the coming months, GPO will be offering live, virtual training on FDsys.


FDsys Promotional Graphics

FDsys logo graphics are provided for use on your Web site or for use in printed educational and public relations materials you develop. The graphics are available in a variety of formats, depending on whether the images are needed for print or electronic format. View and download the FDsys logo graphics here.