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Finding Information on the Freedom of Information Act

Originally enacted in 1966, The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives US citizens the right to access to government information. The act covers agencies of the executive branch of the government. Certain types of documents are exempted by the act, including personnel and medical files, files focused solely on the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency, and those that would jeopardize the nation’s security.

According to the Department of Justice, a total of 704,394 requests for information were received in 2013, and increase from 2012’s 651,254. Their FOIA website provides access to the agency’s annual FIOA reports, the data from which is downloadable.

Individual states have their own regulations for accessing government information. The Guidebook to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts by Cornish F. Hitchcock (Dewey Library / Law: KF 5753 G852X) includes a CDRom with the complete laws for all 50 states.

The University Libraries have many resources on FIOA. We have a large selection of books on the topic, including:

Federal information Disclosure. James T. O’Reilly. Eagan, MN: West, 2012. Dewey Library / Law: KF 5753 O732X.

The Right to Know: Your Guide to Using and Defending Freedom of Information Law in the United States by Jacqueline Klosek. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2009. Dewey Library / KF 5753 K58 2009.

Fundamentals of Government Information: Mining, Finding, Evaluating, and Using Government Resources by Eric J. Forte, Cassandra J. Hartnett and Andrea L. Sevetson. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2011. Dewey Library / ZA 5055 U6 F67 2011.

Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings edited by Susan L. Maret and Jan Goldman. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2009. Dewey Library / JK 468 S4 G68 2009.

Freedom of Information: The News the Media Use by Shannon E. Martin. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. Dewey Library / PN 4745 M37 2008.

The Bush-Cheney Administration’s Assault on Open Government by Bruce P. Montgomery. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008. Dewey Library / KF 5753 M655 2008.

Who Needs to Know?: The State of Public Access to Federal Government Information by Patrice McDermott. Lanham, MD: Bernan Press, c\2007. Dewey Library / KF 5753 M43X 2007.

We also have a large selection of government documents on FIOA, including:

Too Many Secrets: Overclassification as a Barrier to Critical Information Sharing: Hearing before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations of the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Eighth Congress, Second Session, August 24, 2004. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 2005. University Library and Online / GovDoc: J 85 Y 4.G 74/7:B 27/3.

Openness in Government and Freedom of Information: Examining the Open Government Act of 2005: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, First Session, March 15, 2005.
Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 2005. University Library and Online / GovDoc: J 85 Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG.109-69.

Information Policy in the 21st Century: A Review of the Freedom of Information Act: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance, and Accountability of the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, First Session, May 11, 2005. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 2005. University Library and Online / GovDoc: J 85 Y 4.G 74/7:IN 3/33.

Information Management: Update on Freedom of Information Act Implementation Status: Report to the Ranking Minority Member, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate. Washington: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2004. Online / GovDoc: J 85 GA 1.13:GAO-04-257.

For more information on this and other topics in criminal justice, contact bibliographer Dick Irving at rirving@albany.edu or 442-3698.

Blog post created by Cary Gouldin