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Freedom of Information: Selected Resources

United States

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)  5 U.S.C. 552, gives the public the right to request government records from Executive agencies.   The Privacy Act allows individuals to view and correct personal records that the federal government maintains about their lives and activities.

  • A Citizen's Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Government Records (U.S. Congress House. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) . 2012

    Provides an excellent overview of the FOIA and Privacy Act with sample letters for requesting information.

  • National Freedom of Information Coalition.  Federal Resources
    Data covers access to professionals, legal guides, first amendment information, government resources, organizations, and publications.  Also has an automatic FOIA request letter generator

  • (U.S. Department of Justice)
    Provides background information about FOIA, tutorials for using the law. Statistics measure the numbers of requests, exemption, appeals, processing times, fee waivers, and backlogs.
  • FOIA Administrative and Legal Contacts at Federal Agencies

    A listing of FOIA administrative and legal contacts at federal agencies.

  • United States Department of Justice.  Office of Information Policy.  FOIA Resources.
    “As part of its oversight and guidance responsibilities, OIP reviews inquires made by the public raising issues regarding agencies' compliance with the FOIA statute and the Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines.”

  • Your Right To Federal Records: Questions and Answers on the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act (Published jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget)  July 2011

    Explains the history of FOIA, the application process, and the appeals process in the event of a denial.


State and Local

New York State

  • Committee on Open Government (New York State)
    Provides information pertaining to New York State's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) as well as the Open Meetings Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law. Links pertain to advisory opinions; laws and regulations; publications; and frequently asked questions.
  • University at Buffalo.   Judicial Affairs and Student Advocacy

    Freedom of Information Law Requests
    Describes how to make a FOIL request for records held by the State University of New York at Buffalo. It includes a description of the available records, the request procedure, and the appeals process in the event of a denial.

Other States

  • National Freedom of Information Coalition  State FO I
    Links to freedom of information laws and related resources in the states.