Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)

Chief FOIA Officers Council (CFOC) Technology Committee FOIA Searches Working Group

Last Updated: January 24, 2021

Members:   Eric Stein
                        Natasha Alcantara
                        Zarinah Akbar
                        Heather Thompson

Objective: This working group is focused on how technology is both used and considered when conducting FOIA searches in responses to FOIA requests from the public.  It will seek to identify best search practices throughout the federal FOIA community, as well as best practices used to find data and information in the private sector.  Specific FOIA search topics to be addressed include how technology can assist with adequacy of search, documenting searches, and how technology is considered when thinking about how and where to search (i.e., central databases, decentralized databases, social media platforms, etc.). 

Proposed Deliverables and Target Deadlines:

  1. Examine how search is done at other government agencies with a focus on technology - Target deadline: February 28, 2021
    This is a research deliverable.  Review existing documents and reports, talk to FOIA professionals who are open to sharing their experiences, etc.
  2. Develop a paper about search and technology considerations for FOIA professionals. Topics may include: FOIA search requirements; how to identify data and records systems in agencies; how to get information out of data and records systems at agencies; how to mitigate problems; how to work with large volumes of electronic records and data.  - Target Deadline:  April 5, 2021
  3. Building off the paper in #2 above, host an event for FOIA professionals to discuss best practices and challenges in using technology to do searches or on any of the topics covered in #2 above. - Target Deadline:  August 27, 2021
  4. Participate in the Vendor Day held by the Technology Committee/Office of Information Policy (OIP)/Office of Government Information Services (OGIS).