June 15, 2021

State of New York Debuts Open Foil NY, a Centralized Location to File Requests, View Documents Released Under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

From the Niagara Gazette: 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new website that he says will make it easier for the public and the press to access records from various state entities under New York’s Freedom of Information Law.

The website, called Open Foil NY, offers a centralized online location to file FOIL requests with 59 state agencies and public authorities and was lauded by Cuomo as offering, for the first time, a uniform method to submit requests for government records through a single website.

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From Launch Announcement:

In addition to providing a single point of access to request records from New York State agencies and authorities, Open FOIL NY offers many additional features and benefits including:

  • An open-access online form to request records from up to three agencies simultaneously, leading the nation in providing easy public access to multiple state agencies;
  • Access to FOIL resources and contact information for 59 State executive agencies and authorities, and information on New York State’s Freedom of Information Law; and
  • Direct access to a growing body of online information and resources, including agency reading rooms and Open Data NY.

No other state provides such a comprehensive experience for the public to easily access multiple agencies, government records and data. Prior to the launch of Open FOIL NY, there was no centralized location to obtain agency-specific information, no standardized form, and the FOIL experience varied from State agency to agency. Open FOIL NY now provides New Yorkers with a consistent and convenient experience for requesting public records and obtaining information.

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In the next phase of Open FOIL NY, State agencies will be able to use software designed and built by the Office of Information Technology Services to process records requests more efficiently. The computer program will be made available to State executive agencies and authorities on a rolling basis over the next 12 months, streamlining FOIL request processing and saving State resources by:

  • Simplifying collection and review of agency records;
  • Facilitating FOIL request processing; and
  • Enabling quick identification of frequently requested records that should be considered for proactive public release.

In addition, individual agency FOIL websites will soon refresh their content to provide a more user-friendly interface and ensure consistency across State agencies.

Open FOIL NY will also include an online tracking system, which is planned to launch in early 2019. The system will enable users to submit, track, and receive digital records relating to their FOIL requests by creating a My Open FOIL NY account through my.ny.gov.

Direct to Open FOIL NY

Direct to Open FOIL NY Reading Room

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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