FOIA and Finding Data

FOIA and Finding Data


MuckRock: FOIA 101 Guides Open Knowledge Foundation
Lists of about 600 data portals.

SPLC: FOIA Letter Generator
Great for generating requests with this form. Also has a FERPA letter generator.

MuckRock: State-by-State Public Records Laws


Google Dataset Search
Search for data in this Google search tool.

US Local Data Portals
This Github account lists dozens of portals.
A list of nearly 600 data portals from around the world.

Better Data Portals
Keyword search across data sets for Socrata data portals

Our World in Data
Datasets and charts on nearly 300 different topics from around the world.

Portal of studies and research for data viz.

Search engine designed specifically for finding tables, charts, and graphs online.

Whatcha_got (Github Repo)
A command line tool that lets you do keyword searches of public data portals without knowing which data sets are available or what fields they contain. For example, you could search Chicago’s data portal for the address of a business and the name of its owner, and get results from inspections, lobbyist records, contracts, etc. It accepts multiple keywords and removes duplicate records. You could then run the same search on a different city/state/entity as long as they also use Socrata.

Open Addresses
Community-hosted data on Github. Street names, house numbers and postal codes, when combined with geographic coordinates, are the hub that connects digital to physical places. It’s crowdsourced, so fact-check the data.

Google Public Data Explorer

Datasets Every Government Reporter Should Have

ProgrammableWeb: API Directory
Search the largest API directory on the web.

For more training videos, visit our YouTube page. Open Knowledge Foundation
Lists of about 600 data portals.




The FOIA Machine
Automate your FOIA requests.

Amazon 990 Filings
Machine-readable data from certain electronic 990 forms filed with the IRS from 2011 to present are available for anyone to use via Amazon S3.

RCFP Open Government Guide

Great collection of state-by-state resources from The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

SPJ: FOI Step-by-Step Guides

Send hundreds of similar FOIA requests and organize the responses all using the Google suite.
Deduplicate and find matches in your Excel spreadsheet or database.
From the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, this is a one-stop management tool for public-records projects and filing FOIA requests.

Department of Justice FOIA Page

Division I College Sports FOIA Directory – The Intercollegiate
List of PIOs for each Division I athletic department.

SPLC: FOIA Letter Generator
Great for generating requests with this form. Also has a FERPA letter generator.
Provides electronic copies of thousands of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and fun stuff and government bloopers, they’re all here.

Launched in October 2016 in Beta, this offers a page of tools, links and resources on using FOIA.

WRAL: How to Submit a Public Records Request Like a Pro

FOIA 101
Slideshow of tips from Jared Rutecki, investigative reporter from Better Government Association in Chicago. Federal FOIA Requests

MuckRock: State-by-State Public Records Laws

FOIA Wiki: FOIA Basics
A good primer for newbies.

FOIA Predictor
Use this browser app to predict success of your FOIA request.

Tips and tools for making successful FOIA requests.

This free and collaborative resource on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act is provided by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, with contributions from The FOIA Project at TRAC, MuckRock, The National Security Archive, FOIA Mapper, Open the Government, and users. Remember to double-check anything you find here as anyone can edit the Wiki.

From its site: “MuckRock makes it easy file Freedom of Information requests, taking out the hassle and only updating you with the results. No need to stamp an envelope, look up an agency address or learn how to properly draft a legal demand: Just type what you’re interested in, click submit and then receive your documents scanned, searchable and sharable. We’ll even help you analyze them.”

FOIA laws from more than 100 countries.

Country-specific resources.

MuckRock: FOIA 101 Guides

Global Right to Information Rating

Gov Book: FOIA Contacts in Chicago
List of contacts curated by The Chicago Reporter.

MuckRock: Guide to State Public Records Laws

FOIAFest 2018 Resources
Links, handouts, tools and more from the Chicago FOIAFest event.

SGI FOIA Storybase
Searchable database of stories generated from FOIA.

National Security Archive
Combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents.

The FOIA Project
Its goal: provide the public with timely and complete information about every instance in which the federal government grants or withholds records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

DePaul University: FOIA Resources for Journalists
How to file a FOIA and state FOIA laws.

The Associated Press and Freedom of Information
Provides journalists with a simpler way to access 2010 Census data.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Guides
Resources on public documents, First Amendment, privacy and more.

National FOI Coalition

Society of Professional Journalists: Freedom of Information Resources

ACLU Free Speech Resources

The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

National Security Archive: Freedom of Information Act Resources
From George Washington University.

FOIA Illinois
Blog and resources for filing FOIAs. Twitter handle is @foiaillinois.

American Library Association: Key Principles on Government Information

U.S. Department of Justice Freedom of Information Act Information

ProPublica: How Much Stimulus Money is Your County Receiving?

Student Press Law Center: FOIA Letter Generator
Just fill in the blanks.

FIRE: Guide to Free Speech on Campus
Book/ebook from the Foundation of Individual Rights on Campus.

Investigative Dashboard
A treasure drove of research and public records tools, both U.S. and abroad.

Washington Post Training Videos: How to be a Journalist
Series of videos on basics of reporting, FOIAs and more.

FOIA Shaming
A fantastic Tumblr blog that shines a spotlight on universities that stonewall FOIA requests. Share it on social media.

The FOI Advocate

No One Uses Email Anymore
A great slideshow of tips from an IRE 19 panel on how government officials are using private chat apps to communicate rather than email. Makes it harder to FOIA and track those discussions.


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