Glossary search


Narrower Term: 

n. ~ 1. A work that expresses some thought in language, signs, or symbols and that is reproduced for distribution.

- v. ~ 2. The act of publishing such a work.


Although traditionally associated with books and magazines, publication includes motion pictures, websites, CD-ROMs, videotapes, sound recordings, and other document formats. 'Publication' connotes a work that is widely distributed, especially by a commercial publisher. However, it also includes works of limited distribution, such as those issued by a vanity press. Similarly, a single copy of a dissertation deposited as a public record in a library may be considered published because it is available (distributed) to the public.

Works of limited distribution that have the physical characteristic of a publications, such as a binding and title page, are described as quasi-publications or near-print documents. The rise of on-demand printing using sophisticated desktop publishing software and high-quality printers is blurring the distinction between quasi-publications and publications.

Publication has a preservation function by increasing the chances that at least one copy will be preserved if other copies are damaged or destroyed.

(USC, 17 USC 101) Copyright · The distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.