November 26, 2020

New Resource: Federal Agencies Launch New Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Online System, User Guide Available

From a NARA Announcement:

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the Department of Commerce (DOC), have partnered to develop an online system aimed at expanding public access to information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

FOIAonline (http://FOIAonline.Regulations.gov), formerly known as the FOIA Module, is available as of today (October 1). It offers the public one place to submit FOIA requests, track their progress, communicate with the processing agency, search other requests, access previously released responsive documents and file appeals with participating agencies.

For agencies, FOIAonline provides a secure website to receive and store requests, assign and process requests, post responses, generate metrics, manage records electronically, create management reports and electronically generate the annual report required from each agency by FOIA.

EPA began looking at the feasibility of a FOIA portal in 2010 with the idea of leveraging Regulations.gov, the Federal rulemaking portal that allows people to comment on Federal regulations and other agency regulatory actions. EPA administers Regulations.gov, which launched in 2002 and now has 38 partner agencies that govern and financially support the program. By leveraging the infrastructure of Regulations.gov, FOIAonline avoided many start-up costs, resulting in a total of $1.3 million to launch and an estimated cost avoidance of $200 million over the next five years if broadly adopted.

Agencies Currently Participating

EPA – U.S Environmental Protection Agency
MSPB – Merit Systems Protection Board
DOC – U.S. Department of Commerce
FLRA – Federal Labor Relations Authority
NARA – National Archives and Records Administration

Read the Complete Announcement

Search FOIA Requests

See Also: FOIA Glossary (via FOIAOnline)

See Also: FOIA Online Training Tools

Computer Based Training (CBT)

FOIAonline Public User Guide

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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