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Federal Document Authentication–What level is appropriate?

As I am sure you know, we at GPO have been talking with the library community for several years now about our authentication efforts. This year, we were able to move beyond the discussion phase and implement authentication technology into some of our top GPO Access applications. In early 2008, we integrated an Automated PDF Signing system into our GPO Access workflows, and we successfully released the digitally signed and certified FY 09 Budget of the United States and 110th Congress Public and Private Laws documents on GPO Access. Digitally signing these publications was just the stepping stone for implementing our authentication initiative. Upon approval from publishing agencies, all publications ingested into the Federal Digital System (FDsys) will be digitally signed and certified in the future.

In addition, we will implement authentication technology at the granular level. Granular content, as described in relation to the FDsys, is content that is broken into smaller content units such as chapters, parts, or sections. Our next challenge is to identify at what level of granularity content should be authenticated and digitally certified for each content format. I am very interested in feedback on your thoughts on the level of granularity GPO should authenticate content to share with the team developing FDsys. I am also interested in learning more about your opinions and expectations for the future in relation to GPO’s authentication initiative. For more background on our authentication initiative, please visit

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