Accessing Freedom of Information Act


This website is intended for everyday people who may need some guidance in getting information from the U.S. Government using the federal Freedom of Information Act, which is also called FOIA. This sight focuses on the online resources that are available because federal agencies have been moving toward increasing online FIOA access since 2009 (The National Security Archive, 2011).

FOIA is the federal law that guarantees that anyone can access information created or gathered by the executive branch of the federal government

Anyone interested in FOIA is welcome to uses this site including but not limited to public library users, librarians, community groups, and government watchdog or other organizations with an interest in accessing government information.

Although there are a number of websites devoted to access to public records, this site pulls together the best practices from both the federal government and from non-government organizations, such as professional groups for journalists and historians. It also is up-to-date as of summer 2011, which many sites including many federal agency FOIA webpages are not.

This site takes pains to write about government and legal issues withhout jargon.

At this time, this website does not address access to information from the federal Legislative and Judicial branches. There are some options under the FOIA Links that may help with access to those branches.

A complete list of sources used on this web site is on the References page. Submit any feedback, suggestions, or questions on the Contact page. 

“The principles embodied in the FOIA distinguish our democracy from a totalitarian government.”

- Honorable John N. Erlenborn U.S. House of Representatives, 1965-1984,
 (Feinberg et. al, 1986, p 609)