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The World Factbook, also known as the CIA World Factbook,[1] is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official print version is available from the Government Printing Office. Other companies—such as Skyhorse Publishing—also print a paper edition. The Factbook is available in the form of a website that is partially updated every week. It is also available for download for use off-line. It provides a two- to three-page summary of the demographics, geography, communications, government, economy, and military of each of 267 international entities[2] including U.S.-recognized countries, dependencies, and other areas in the world.

The World Factbook is prepared by the CIA for the use of U.S. government officials, and its style, format, coverage, and content are primarily designed to meet their requirements.[3] However, it is frequently used as a resource for academic research papers and news articles.[4] As a work of the U.S. government, it is in the public domain in the United States.[5]

Sources

Cover of the U.S. government print edition of The World Factbook (2016–17 edition)

In researching the Factbook, the CIA uses the sources listed below. Other public and private sources are also consulted.[3]

Copyright

The World Factbook website as it appeared in December 2014

Because the Factbook is in the public domain, people are free under United States law to redistribute it or parts of it in any way that they like, without permission of the CIA.[3] However, the CIA requests that it be ci

The World Factbook is prepared by the CIA for the use of U.S. government officials, and its style, format, coverage, and content are primarily designed to meet their requirements.[3] However, it is frequently used as a resource for academic research papers and news articles.[4] As a work of the U.S. government, it is in the public domain in the United States.[5]

In researching the Factbook, the CIA uses the sources listed below. Other public and private sources are also consulted.[3]

Copyright

public domain, people are free under United States law to redistribute it or parts of it in any way that they like, without permission of the CIA.[3] However, the CIA requests that it be cited when the Factbook is used.[5] Copying the official seal of the CIA without permission is prohibited by U.S. federal law—specifically, the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 (50 U.S.C. § 403m).

Frequency of updates and availability

Before November 2001 The World Factbook website was updated yearly;[6] from 2004 to 2010 it was updated every two weeks;[6] since 2010 it has been updated weekly.[7] Generally, information currently available as of January 1 of the current year[8] is used in preparing the Factbook.

Government edition

The first classified edition of Factbook was published in August 1962, and the first unclassified version in June 1971.[9] The World Factbook was first available to the public in print in 1975.[9] In 2008 the CIA discontinued printing the Factbook themselves, instead turning printing responsibilities over to the Government Printing Office.[10] This happened due to a CIA decision to "focus Factbook resources" on the online edition.[11] The Factbook has been on the World Wide Web since October 1994.[12] The web version receives an average of six million visits per month;[4] it can also be downloaded.[13] The official printed version is sold[14] by the Government Printing Office and National Technical Information Service. In past years, the Factbook was available on CD-ROM,[15] microfiche,[16] magnetic tape,[16] and floppy disk.[16]

Reprints and older editions online

The first The first classified edition of Factbook was published in August 1962, and the first unclassified version in June 1971.[9] The World Factbook was first available to the public in print in 1975.[9] In 2008 the CIA discontinued printing the Factbook themselves, instead turning printing responsibilities over to the Government Printing Office.[10] This happened due to a CIA decision to "focus Factbook resources" on the online edition.[11] The Factbook has been on the World Wide Web since October 1994.[12] The web version receives an average of six million visits per month;[4] it can also be downloaded.[13] The official printed version is sold[14] by the Government Printing Office and National Technical Information Service. In past years, the Factbook was available on CD-ROM,[15] microfiche,[16] magnetic tape,[16] and floppy disk.[16]

Reprints and older editions online