Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Freedom of Information Act (Federal) Research Guide

This guide discusses how to use the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, to obtain records from federal government agencies when those records are not published in the Federal Register or distributed by the Government Publishing Office.


Key to Icons

  • Georgetown only
  • On Westlaw
  • On Lexis
  • On Bloomberg
  • PDF
  • More Info (hover)
  • Preeminent Treatise
  • Study Aid

Advocacy Organizations

The organizations listed below monitor agency compliance with FOIA and developments in FOIA law; they also advocate for improved agency compliance.

  • Office of Government Information Services
    • OGIS is a place where anyone can ask for FOIA assistance. In other words, they serve as the FOIA ombudsman.
  • Federation of American Scientists
    • The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) provides science-based analysis of and solutions to protect against catastrophic threats to national and international security. Specifically, FAS works to illuminate government secrecy practices.
  • George Washington University National Security Archive's FOIA collection
    • A collection of FOIA resources, links to articles and blog posts about FOIA, and guides to making FOIA requests.
  • MuckRock
    • MuckRock helps anyone file, track and share public records requests, using a mix of software and hands-on help to make the process as easy and transparent as possible.
  • National Freedom of Information Coalition
    • NFOIC is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of state and regional affiliates representing 35 states and the District of Columbia. Its members include citizen-driven nonprofit FOI organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys. NFOIC is located at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.
  • National Security Archive
    • Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a wide range of functions: investigative journalism center, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents, leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets.
  • Open the Government
    • Open the Government is an inclusive, nonpartisan coalition that works to strengthen our democracy and empower the public by advancing policies that create a more open, accountable, and responsive government.
  • Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
    • The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
    • In the last four decades the Reporters Committee has played a role in virtually every significant press freedom case that has come before the Supreme Court - including Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, U.S. v. Moussaoui, and Carpenter v. U.S. - as well as in hundreds of cases in federal and state courts that affect press rights.
  • TRACfed (Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse Federal)
    • TRACfed's core purpose is to make information about the federal government's enforcement and regulatory effort more accessible to the public. Provides information on government spending and programs in all areas. TRACfed covers six areas: criminal, civil and administrative enforcement, federal employees, federal funds, and community context.