FOI Center

FOI Center at the Missouri School of Journalism


The Freedom of Information Center is a reference and research library in the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism on the campus of the University of Missouri.

Established in 1958, the FOI Center and its founders were central to the effort to enact a national Freedom of Information Act. Four of the people associated with the Center have been named to the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame.

The FOI Center possesses the oldest and most comprehensive Freedom of Information library in the world, with a collection of more than one million articles and documents about access to information at the state, federal and local levels.

Read a bit more about the Center, or get started below.

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FEDERAL SAMPLE FOIA REQUEST LETTERS -- While not an exhaustive collection, we've included samples for requests, appeals, and fee waivers, as well as Privacy Act letters for access, appeals, and amending records.

STATE SAMPLE FOIA REQUEST LETTERS -- Most states’ FOI laws require that public records requests be made in writing. We've assembled sample letter templates for each state that you can use for preparing and submitting your open records request under your state’s public disclosure laws.

AUDITS AND OPEN RECORDS SURVEYS -- The first FOI audit we've a record of was conducted by the Oakland Tribune and the First Amendment Project in 1992 to test how well 30 Bay Area agencies were complying with the California Public Records Act.

FOIA THE FOIAs -- One of the best things you can do when starting your FOIA request is finding out what other FOIA requesters are asking the government. This section shows you how to go about that, and includes an example of FOIA logs from the Persian Gulf War.

MEDIA LAW GUIDE -- Don't be intimidated: anyone can become familiar enough with the law to make a difference. We've assembled an array of links on a wide variety of legal subjects.

FIGHTING CITY HALL -- The late Dr. Ernest Morgan, a former professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, wrote this terrific piece on informal methods for gaining access to meetings and records more than 30 years ago.

INTERNATIONAL FOI LAWS -- Freedom of information is a global phenomenon these days. FOI advocates all over the globe are creating advocacy groups. We’ve assembled links to FOI laws, academic studies and news of note from all over the world here.

FOI CENTER FILE INDEX -- The FOI Center File Index is a roadmap to the content of research files that have been compiled since the Center was opened in 1958. The Index begins by examining controls imposed by the government—including our own—at every level.

HISTORICAL FILE INDEX -- Since the FOI Center covered the broadest aspects of the Freedom of Information movement, our files have outgrown our ability to store them onsite. Many files are now stored with the University Archives and by prior arrangement may be examined by researchers.