what's a white paper?

Subject: what's a white paper?
From: Amy Maclin <MACLINA -at- ORAU -dot- GOV>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 09:59:00 -0500

Many, many thanks to everyone who so graciously responded to my comma
question. Everyone in the editorial departments here can now get on
with their lives...

My next question is a little more complicated. What is a "white
paper"? Webster defines it as "a government report on any subject"
or "a detailed or authoritative report." Can anyone give me a more
in-depth answer? I'm particularly interested in the origin of the
term "white paper" and any guidance on writing and/or formatting one.

Any help would be, as always, greatly appreciated.

Amy Maclin
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
maclina -at- orau -dot- gov

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