Category Archives: Best practices

Check out the next FOIA Requester Roundtable on FOIA Libraries

Did you know that agencies are required under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 USC § 552(a)(2), to make available to the public five categories of records: final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions and orders, made in adjudicated … Continue reading

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Dealing with Surplus in a Time of Scarcity: Reducing FOIA Backlogs

  There’s a great deal of pressure on agencies to reduce the number of FOIA requests in their backlogs. The FOIA community talks a lot about backlogs, but mostly in numbers, not in terms of how some agencies have succeeded … Continue reading

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Don’t shut your eyes to the importance of FOIA regulations

Freedom of Information Act regulations sound like a sure cure for insomnia, but if FOIA were a movie, their role would be a real sleeper. We at OGIS recognize that well-crafted FOIA regulations are key to an effective agency FOIA … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Best practices, definitions and concepts, FOIA in the news, Ombudsman, Plain Language, Regulations | Leave a comment

Records Management Directive Shifts Into Gear

It’s common wisdom in the library and information science community that if you have something and you can’t find it, you don’t have it. This principle is as true for agencies’ records as it is in university libraries, and it … Continue reading

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A Peek Inside the Sausage Factory

While many (correctly) associate OGIS with mediation services to resolve FOIA disputes, those services are not the full extent of our mandate. Congress created OGIS to also review agencies’ FOIA policies, procedures and compliance. Sounds great, but how does OGIS … Continue reading

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Civil War-era Pension Records: An OGIS Case Study

When University of California–Los Angeles economics professor Dora Costa started looking at aging processes and extreme longevity, she knew military files of Civil War veterans would be crucial to her research. Costa planned to compare medical records and life histories … Continue reading

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Checking it Twice: Appeals Provide Necessary Second Look

The FOIA process, as with much in life, provides an opportunity to give our actions a second look. After all, most of us don’t file a major report without asking someone to proofread for errors, right? Or walk out the … Continue reading

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Back to (FOIA) School: Requester Categories vs. Fee Waivers

It’s back-to-school time—you can practically hear the rumbling of school buses and smell the new No. 2 pencils. As students across the country turn their focus from the swimming pool and summer camp toward reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, what better … Continue reading

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Government-wide Records Directive Addresses Electronic Records

By the end of the decade, Federal agencies must digitize management of electronic records—including the millions of emails sent and received each year—according to a new records directive introduced last week. With a focus on a digital transition, the Managing … Continue reading

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Got Appeals?

The administrative appeal process is an integral part of FOIA. Federal agencies received almost 10,000 FOIA appeals in the year ending September 30, 2010. FOIA sets forth two requirements pertaining to the appeal process: (1) agencies must notify requesters of … Continue reading

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