a record created or received by a government official or agency as part of their official duty or function
a record preserved in a government archives for future reference; public archives
a record that is the property of the citizens of a state or nation
Each state and the federal government have their own legal definition of a public record. These definitions are typically found within open record laws, such as the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). While public records document the actions and responsibilities of government, they also serve to protect the rights of citizens. It should be noted that a public record does not always imply public access to that record. Open record laws often include exemptions that provide access restrictions to protect an individual’s right to privacy, to ensure public safety, and to allow for the deliberative process.