National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

FOI Resources

Research Archives

Some of the early researchers were central to the effort to enact a national Freedom of Information Act. Four of the people associated with the early research have been named to the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame.

Below are archival resources that are still relevant to today’s work in FOI and helpful to those pursuing help and education at the state, federal and local levels. Key materials include:

FEDERAL SAMPLE FOIA REQUEST LETTERS — While not an exhaustive collection, the reference includes 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. Find 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 recorded FOI audit 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. Research the 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. Research links to FOI laws, academic studies and news of note from all over the world here.

FOI CENTER FILE INDEX — The FOI Reference and Research Library file index is a road map to the content of research files that have been compiled since the Library was opened in 1958. The Index begins by examining controls imposed by the government—including our own—at every level.

For historical information, follow the links below: