Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FOIAonline: A Multi-Agency FOIA Repository

Books in shelves
FOIAonline is a federal government multi-agency site that allows the public to submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to participating agencies, track the progress of an agency’s response to a request, search for information previously made available, and report on the progress of FOIA requests. 

If you register for a free account, you can  track the progress of FOIA requests, communicate directly with staff handling the request, and receive records electronically rather than by mail.

Limitations to FOIAonline
  • The content only goes back to the site’s launch date, Oct. 1, 2012, or Dec. 10, 2012 for certain agencies
  • Only certain federal agencies participate in the site
  • Only portions of the participating agencies have actually implemented FOIAonline 

Agencies participating in FOIAonline include:
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Labor Relations Authority
  • National Archives and Records Administration Office of General Counsel
  • The Treasury Department's -- note the Treasure Department only participates partially--it provides records of requests and appeals but makes the actual FOIA documents available only to the requestor. The Treasury Department’s separate FOIA program.

Agencies NOT participating in FOIAonline
  • The Internal Revenue Service
  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
  • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Feeling excited about FOIA? You can learn how to do your own requests, or find other previously requested material, at the National Security Archive.

The Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library housed at The George Washington University. It collects and publishes declassified documents acquired via FOIA request (searchable here); it also provides an extremely thorough tutorial on how to get the most from a FOIA request.

Previous Gallagher Blogs posts on FOIA topics:

EFF’s FOIA Documents Archive, May 20, 2010

Freedom of Information Website, March 16, 2011

The Lowdown on Public Records, May 4, 2011

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