Documents, files, or pieces of information that are available to the public. Public records are kept by official US authorities, such as courts, vital records offices, law enforcement agencies, etc. Within the umbrella of public records, there are also government records (records about individuals, government entities, and corporations), which are not always public. The release of government records is regulated by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Gaining access to public records is possible through the authorities that maintain such records or through an online public records search directory.