FOIA and NARA’s Federal Records Centers

We sometimes hear from FOIA requesters and agency personnel who are confused about why a FOIA request for records at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is not processed by NARA. The answer has to do with whether the federal agency or NARA has legal custody of the records, and requires a brief explanation. … Continue reading FOIA and NARA’s Federal Records Centers

Highlighting Great Customer Service at USCIS

Each year we include a few case studies in our Annual Report to highlight the way that we can help assist FOIA requesters and agencies in resolving FOIA disputes. Today, we want to share one of the case studies from our Fiscal Year 2017 Report that shows how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided … Continue reading Highlighting Great Customer Service at USCIS

Tips for Avoiding FOIA Lawsuits

Last week our mediation team facilitator, Christa Lemelin, gave a five minute lightning talk at the Department of Commerce Sunshine Week celebration about common mistakes agencies make that could increase the likelihood of a FOIA requester filing a lawsuit against the agency. Here is a brief summary of the three mistakes she shared with the … Continue reading Tips for Avoiding FOIA Lawsuits

OGIS Releases FOIA Compliance Self-Assessment Survey Results

We are excited to announce the release of our analysis and observations of FOIA compliance issues based on the responses to FOIA questions included in the 2016 Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA). The RMSA is a sophisticated agency self-assessment program developed and managed by the National Archives and Records Administration Office of the Chief Records Officer … Continue reading OGIS Releases FOIA Compliance Self-Assessment Survey Results

DOJ Releases FOIA Website Guidance 2.0

The Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP) recently issued updated guidance for agency FOIA webpages. The guidance provides helpful recommendations for agencies to ensure that requesters can find useful resources and information. OIP’s guidance suggests that agencies ensure that members of the public can easily locate agency FOIA webpages by including a clear … Continue reading DOJ Releases FOIA Website Guidance 2.0

OGIS Joins in Thanksgiving 2017

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we want to take some time to give thanks for the many individuals who have worked with us over the past year to help improve the FOIA process. In particular, we want to recognize the members of the Chief FOIA Officers Council and the FOIA Advisory Committee. Earlier this year … Continue reading OGIS Joins in Thanksgiving 2017

Making it Easier for OGIS to Assist You with Resolving Your FOIA Disputes

Over the last few years we have made a concerted effort to highlight the relatively simple step that agencies can take to make it easier for OGIS to fulfill its statutory responsibilities to both resolve FOIA disputes between requesters and agencies as well as conduct agency assessment compliance reviews. This simple step involves publishing a … Continue reading Making it Easier for OGIS to Assist You with Resolving Your FOIA Disputes

Useful Resources for Veterans Records

We often receive requests for assistance to obtain access to veterans’ medical and service records of those men and women who have served our country in the armed forces.  These requests come from the veterans themselves, from their family members, and from interested researchers, historians, scholars and journalists. The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in … Continue reading Useful Resources for Veterans Records

National Archives Releases New JFK Records

Last week there was a surge of excitement surrounding the National Archives’ release of new government records concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (JFK). We thought this might be a good opportunity to join our colleagues in celebrating the release of this new historical material, and explain how the release of these records … Continue reading National Archives Releases New JFK Records