public record n: a record required by law to be made and kept:
a : a record made by a public officer or a government agency in the course of the performance of a duty
b : a record filed in a public office NOTE: Public records are subject to inspection, examination, and copying by any member of the public.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.