Category Archives: definitions and concepts

The 411 on FOIA & the White House

Quick FOIA quiz: Is the White House subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? Yes. And no. It depends on the function of a particular White House office. Offices within the Executive Office of the President that “wield … … Continue reading

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Providing Consent

  Repeat OGIS customers may wonder why we sometimes ask them to provide consent to discuss their requests with agencies and other times we don’t. We recently contacted a requester whose consent we had asked for a few weeks earlier … Continue reading

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Throwback Thursday: Thinking about Exemption 4

We get many requests for assistance related to FOIA Exemption 4, which protects from disclosure commercial and financial information provided to the government. For example, over the last few months we have heard from requesters frustrated about delays related to … Continue reading

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The Business of Search

Composing a successful FOIA request can be tricky. Agencies are responsible for a mind-boggling amount of information, and finding a record amid years and years of accumulated documents can feel like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack (though … Continue reading

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Untangling Fees

FOIA fees can quickly snarl into knots for agency FOIA professionals and requesters alike. Untangling those knots takes work, but one of the best tools for the task is communication. That’s the central theme that emerged from a recent FOIA … Continue reading

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Announcing OGIS’s 2012 Report

We are pleased to share OGIS’s 2012 report, Office of Government Information Services: Building a Bridge Between FOIA Requesters & Federal Agencies. We hope that you will read about our accomplishments over the past year and our thoughts for the … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, definitions and concepts, Mediation services, OGIS's Reports, Ombudsman, Records Management, Sunshine Week 2013 | Leave a comment

In Good Company

A few of us from OGIS recently attended a presentation by the Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group, an organization for Federal employees who work in the area of alternative dispute resolution. The title of the presentation was “How an … Continue reading

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Thinking about FOIA Libraries

On January 21, 2013, representatives of 12 agencies and several requester groups gathered to discuss online FOIA “libraries.” The Attorney General’s 2009 FOIA Memorandum encouraged agencies to post information online in advance of a formal request. Many agencies’ FOIA regulations … 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