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University at Buffalo Libraries

Freedom of Information: Selected Resources

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives the public the right to request government records from Executive agencies.

United States

Citizen's Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Government Records (U.S. Congress House. Committee on Government Reform)
Provides an excellent overview of the FOIA and Privacy Acts with sample letters for requesting information. The Privacy Act allows individuals to view and correct personal records the federal governments maintains about their lives and activities.

Federal Resources (National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC))
Data covers access to professionals, first amendment information, government resources, organizations, and publications. (U.S. Department of Justice)
Provides background information about FOIA, tutorials for using the law. Statistics measure the numbers of requests, exemption, appeals, processing times, fee waivers, and backlogs.

Freedom of Information Act Text (U.S. Department of Justice)
Reproduces the text of the Freedom of Information Act.

Principal FOIA Contacts at Federal Agencies (U.S. Department of Justice)
A directory to FOIA officers in federal agencies.  Contact the relevant FOIA officer when making information requests.  See for additional FOIA contacts.

Your Right To Federal Records: Questions and Answers on the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act (Published jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. General Services Administration)
Lockwood Documents US GS 1.2: F 31/ 2/ 2004
Explains the history of FOIA, the application process, and the appeals process in the event of a denial.

State and Local

Committee on Open Government (New York State)
Provides information pertaining to New York State's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) as well as the Open Meetings Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law. Links pertain to advisory opinions; laws and regulations; publications; and frequently asked questions.

Freedom of Information Law Requests (University at Buffalo)
Describes how to make a FOIL request for records held by the State University of New York at Buffalo. It includes a description of the available records, the request procedure, and the appeals process in the event of a denial.

State FOI(National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC))
Links to state freedom of information laws and related resources in states.


Access to Documents (European Commission) 
Links lead to relevant background, a citizen's guide, a register of documents, legal acts, reports, case law, and rules of member states.

Canada: Access to Information And Privacy (Canada. Department of Justice)
Links to information about the Canadian Access to Information and Privacy Acts. See also Info Source Publications (, a directory of available records.

Freedom of Information Center: International FOI Laws (National Freedom of Information Coalition)
Links to the freedom of information statutes of countries worldwide.