Circular Letter No. 1010

July 11, 2018

TO: Printing and Publishing Officials of the Federal Government

SUBJECT: Use of GPO Form 3868, Notification of Intent to Publish

Title 44 of the U.S. Code requires Federal agencies to inform the Superintendent of Documents of ALL publications to be printed. This notification allows the Superintendent of Documents to assess publications for inclusion in the Federal Depository Library Program (44 U.S.C. §§1901-1916), the Cataloging & Indexing Program (44 U.S.C. §§1710-1711), and the Publication and Information Sales Program (44 U.S.C. §1702, 1705-1708). Exceptions to this requirement are:

  • Publications which are classified for reasons of national security.
  • Publications which contain personally identifiable information (PII).

How to Advise the Superintendent of Documents of an Agency’s Intent to Publish

The primary means of notifying the Superintendent of Documents of a forthcoming publication is GPO Form 3868 Notification of Intent to Publish:

Agencies should send the completed form to the shared [email protected] email box at least 30 days prior to submission of the job for printing and binding through the Government Publishing Office (GPO) or other authorized channels (e.g., in-house, on waiver).

Individual copies of GPO Form 3868 do not need to be prepared for documents if they are produced regularly under a term contract (e.g., dated (i.e., regularly issued) periodicals, which are part of an annual subscription service). However, if a publication is printed under a “general usage” or miscellaneous publication contract, a Form 3868 should be submitted for each individual title published.

The Purpose of Notifying the Superintendent of Documents via the GPO Form 3868

The information on the GPO Form 3868 will be used for two purposes:

1. To assess the publication for the Superintendent of Documents’ Public Information Programs, and to determine quantity requirements.

Federal Depository Library Program
Under Title 44, Chapter 19 of the U.S. Code the Superintendent of Documents distributes U.S. Government publications to a network of over 1,100 depository libraries throughout the United States and its territories. The agency does not bear the cost of depository copies if the document is printed through GPO. Agencies must provide a full, accurate description of the publication on GPO Form 3868 so that GPO has sufficient information to order the correct depository quantity, and thereby avoid later back-to-press costs to the U.S. Government. The actual number of copies distributed depends on the type and content of the publication.

Note: If publications are not printed through GPO, 44 U.S.C. §§ 1710, 1902-1903 and OMB Circular A-130 "Managing Federal Information as a Strategic Resource" require agencies to furnish copies of those Government publications to GPO for distribution.

Cataloging & Indexing Program
The Superintendent of Documents is required to create a “comprehensive index of public documents,” including “every document issued or published … not confidential in character,” (44 U.S.C. §§1710-1711 and 44 U.S.C. §4101(a)). The goal of the Cataloging and Indexing Program is to develop a comprehensive and authoritative national bibliography of U.S. Government publications to increase the visibility and use of Government information products, and to develop a premier destination for information searchers. Historically, the national bibliography was issued as a printed catalog called the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. In 2004, this paper publication was replaced by an online searchable catalog, the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP).

If a publication is not selected for the Federal Depository Library Program, we will request 1 copy for Cataloging & Indexing.

2. To assess the Publication for the Superintendent of Documents’ Publication and Information Sales Program.

This information is used to determine whether to include the publication in the Publication and Information Sales Program. The Superintendent of Documents sells 5,500 different titles, both publications and subscriptions, to the public. When a publication is included in the Publication and Information Sales Program, our Marketing Staff can use the information supplied on the GPO Form 3868 to assist them in marketing your publication to the appropriate audience.

Personnel from the Public Information Programs and Publication and Information Sales areas will provide the publishing agency with copy requirements.

If you have any questions, please contact the GPO Publication and Information Sales and Federal Depository Library Program via the shared [email protected] email box.


Managing Director, Customer Services

Superintendent of Documents

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