Sources of GPO Cataloging Records

GPO makes its cataloging records available to libraries in a number of ways. Most of these options are free of charge to libraries.

  • CGP on GitHub
  • Cataloging Record Distribution Program (CRDP)
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)
  • Z39.50
  • OCLC (membership required)

In addition, there are several other sources for obtaining GPO’s records.

  • Documents Data Miner2 (DDM2)
  • Commercial vendors

Please note - GPO has discontinued the GPO Cataloging Data Subscription Service.

CGP on GitHub

GPO provides files of the bibliographic records of the CGP on its CGP on GitHub repository. Beginning in October 2017, GPO initiated the service by posting a sample set of over 8,000 bibliographic records in character-set UTF-8. 

A GitHub account is not required for downloading the records and viewing the descriptions of the record sets.

About the records

The records in the CGP and GitHub bibliographically capture the history of the Federal Government through its operational information products. The data sets available via GitHub contain records produced by GPO staff according to national standards such as Resource Description & Access (RDA) and Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2), and include GPO Historic Shelflist project brief bibliographic records, and other retrospective records. The MARC records are available in both UTF-8 character-set (Unicode compliant) and MARC-8 character-set. A description of the record sets is provided in a readme file.

Two groups of records are posted:

  • Group 1
    • A monthly set of new and updated records from the previous month.
    • Each set is posted by the tenth of each month and will remain in the repository for at least six months.
  • Group 2
    • A cumulative set of previously posted monthly record sets.
    • This record set will be refreshed every six months.

For information about obtaining a complete file of all CGP records, please send us your inquiry through askGPO.  

The following steps are taken to download a record set from the CGP on GitHub repository:

  1. When you open up the repository, you will see a “clone or download” button on the right-hand part of the page:
    sources git 1

  2. When you single-click on the green button, you will see the following expansion of the button:
    sources git 2

  3. Click on “Download ZIP”.
  4. The browser may have the following prompt at the bottom:
    sourcegit 3

  5. Click on “Save”.
  6. A zip file including the following files will be downloaded to your PC or Laptop.
    • Monthly files of the previous six months in MARC-8 and UTF-8
    • Current monthly file in MARC-8 and UTF-8
    • README file
  7. Unzip the file with WinZip or another zip utility, and get the file you need. 


GPO wants to know what you think of this service and how you use these files. We ask that you to send your feedback via the Issues section of the GitHub repository or by submitting your comments via askGPO, selecting the category “Federal Depository Libraries” and then the subcategory “Cataloging.”

Cataloging Record Distribution Program (CRDP)

Federal depository libraries are eligible to participate in the Cataloging Record Distribution Program (CRDP). Since 2009, GPO has contracted with MARCIVE, Inc. to provide a monthly batch of bibliographic records to each participating library. The records may include those matching each participating library’s FDLP item number selection profile and GPO Historical Shelflist records. New libraries are typically added each October, the beginning of the fiscal year. Contact GPO to learn if there are vacancies or a wait list to join. The CRDP is available at no cost to the library.

The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)

From the CGP, you can send up to 20 catalog records per email at no cost. You may select from various email formats, including MARC tags, and various types of encodings. The processes for obtaining records from the CGP is described in the “Working with Results” section of the CGP help page.

The New Titles page of the CGP offers lists of various types and formats of records, such as electronic resources, serials, and integrated resources, compiled in the previous week, two weeks, month, and three months, from which you can make selections to email to yourself.  


Z39.50 is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ National Information Standards Organization (NISO) communications protocol. It is used to search and retrieve bibliographic records in online databases of library holdings. It also allows you to download bibliographic records in MARC format and load into your library’s bibliographical database at no cost. There is a limit of 10,000 records per download.


GPO creates new bibliographic records and adapts existing records in OCLC, the global library cooperative. Your library must be a member of OCLC in order to export GPO records from this system into your local catalog.