White Paper Law and Legal Definition
A white paper is generally an authoritative report. It often states an entity's position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a general explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology. Typically, a white paper explains the results, conclusions, or construction resulting from a collaborative effort by a group. It seeks to contain unbiased information and analysis regarding a business problem that a target group may be facing.
It is thought that the term arose in England to distinguish short government reports from longer, more detailed ones that were bound in blue covers and referred to as "blue books". A shorter government publication providing a report or position about something was bound in white paper, leading to the term "a white paper."
In information technology, a white paper is often a paper written by a top product designer which explains the philosophy and use of a product in a marketplace or technology setting. In government, a white paper usually refers to a policy or position paper.