From county planning documents to the legal code of a nation, government documents are generated both to accomplish the work of government and to reach out to constituencies. They can take nearly any format: pamphlets, technical reports, full-size books, periodicals, data tables, electronic databases, websites. Now many documents intended for public use are freely available on the Internet.
The sheer volume and variety of documents is staggering. The U.S. Government Printing Office is the largest publisher in the world (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awser2/federal_deposit.html). Keeping track of this information and preserving it are ever more challenging concerns. In the United States documents intended for the public that are not available online can often be found through libraries designated as federal and state documents depositories.