“FOIA.gov, the government’s central resource for information about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), was updated today with a new Search Tool that helps the public more quickly locate commonly requested information. This update reflects one of the most significant improvements to the site since the release of the National FOIA Portal in 2018 and fulfills one of the Department of Justice’s commitments made in the United States Fifth Open Government National Action Plan.
The Search Tool is designed to simplify the process of making FOIA requests and finding federal government documents. It can help a user connect with the right agency to make a request or find publicly available information quickly and easily. With over 100 agencies subject to FOIA and hundreds of FOIA offices, it can often be difficult for the public to find information efficiently. We developed the search tool after in-depth research and information gathering from agencies and public users to help identify the best solution. Through these efforts, we identified six topical areas that comprise the largest portion of FOIA requests. These “common topics” launch users into logic-based pathways that ask a series of questions to help get the user to the right place. Alternatively, users can enter their own search terms. The tool relies on a combination of logic and machine learning to provide a user with publicly available documents and/or a suggestion of where to request information. Click here to learn more about how the Search Tool works….”