Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)

Sunshine Week 2016


Mark your calendars to join experts in Open Government, technology and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in celebrating FOIA's 50th anniversary and Sunshine Week on Monday, March 14 from 1 - 4:30 pm in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives.

The copy of the FOIA signed by President Johnson will be available for viewing before and for the first portion of the event.

Speakers include Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, Senator Patrick Leahy, plus experts from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Archives, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, American University, MuckRock, GovTrack, Demand Progress, U.S. Digital Strategy, 18F, and the New America Foundation.


Sunshine Week 2016 at the National Archives -- Agenda

Monday, March 14 1:00 - 4:30 pm

William G. McGowan Theater

Watch video of the event here

Please enter the building using the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue. The copy of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) signed by President Johnson will be available for viewing before and during the first portion of the event.


 Welcome by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero


 Using Technology to Open Government from the Outside

    • Michael Morisy, Founder, MuckRock
    • Laurenellen McCann, Civic Innovation Fellow, Open Technology Institute
    • Josh Tauberer, Founder, GovTrack
    • Moderator: Miriam Nisbet, First Director. Office of Government Information Services



 Technology and Innovation from Inside Government

    • Sabrina Williams, United States Digital Service
    • Pam Wright, Chief Innovation Officer, National Archives
    • David Zvenyach, Acquisition Management Director, 18F
    •  Moderator: Sean Vitka, Counsel, Demand Progress

Talks on the Future of Technology and Open Government

  • Andrew Lih, Associate Professor, American University School of Communications
  • Archon Fung, Academic Dean and Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Megan Smith, United Stated Chief Technology Officer (by video)



 Keynote Address by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Introduction by the Archivist of the United States


 Recent FOIA Litigation


David S. Ferriero

David S. Ferriero was confirmed as 10th Archivist of the United States on November 6, 2009. Early in 2010 he committed the National Archives and Records Administration to the principles of Open Government—transparency, participation, and collaboration. To better position NARA to fulfill these goals, Mr. Ferriero initiated an agency transformation in 2010. The transformation restructured the organization and set goals to further our mission, meet the needs of those who rely on us, and find new, creative ways to approach the agency's work.

Openness and access drive NARA's actions in a variety of ways. The agency has embraced a number of social media tools—Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, Tumblr, and others—to reach a wider and broader audience. NARA uses this digital engagement as a two-way street. Early in his tenure, Mr. Ferriero celebrated the contributions of "citizen archivists," and he encourages public participation in identifying historical Federal records and sharing knowledge about them.

Access and protection go hand in hand, and NARA has taken steps to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy access to Federal records. In August 2012, NARA produced the Managing Government Records Directive to modernize and improve Federal records management practices. Mr. Ferriero also instituted new security measures to deter theft or mishandling of records.

Several new facilities, designed to protect the records and improve access to them, have been opened since 2010. The George W. Bush Presidential Library became the 13th Presidential Library under NARA's administration. The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, moved into a newly constructed building that is better equipped to preserve the millions of veterans records in its care. And the National Archives at New York and the National Archives at Denver moved to new locations. In Washington, DC, the National Archives Museum's visitors entrance was reconfigured, and the new David M. Rubenstein Gallery opened in December 2013.

Previously, Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL). He was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service for users, creating the largest public library system in the United States and one of the largest research libraries in the world. Mr. Ferriero was in charge of collection strategy; conservation; digital experience; reference and research services; and education, programming, and exhibitions.

Before joining the NYPL in 2004, Mr. Ferriero served in top positions at two of the nation's major academic libraries, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, and Duke University in Durham, NC. In those positions, he led major initiatives including the expansion of facilities, the adoption of digital technologies, and a reengineering of printing and publications.

Mr. Ferriero earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from Northeastern University in Boston and a master's degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science, also in Boston. Mr. Ferriero served as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War.

Archon Fung

Archon Fung is the Academic Dean and Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research explores policies, practices, and institutional designs that deepen the quality of democratic governance. He focuses upon public participation, deliberation, and transparency. He co-directs the Transparency Policy Project and leads democratic governance programs of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Kennedy School. His books include Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency (Cambridge University Press, with Mary Graham and David Weil) and Empowered Participation: Reinventing Urban Democracy (Princeton University Press). He has authored five books, four edited collections, and over fifty articles appearing in professional journals. He received two S.B.s — in philosophy and physics — and his Ph.D. in political science from MIT.

Richard Huff

Richard L. Huff, as a member of the Senior Executive Service, served as one of two co-directors of the Office of Information and Privacy since the Office's creation in 1982 until his retirement in 2005. He was the official designated by the Attorney General to act on all administrative appeals from denials under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act of 1974 by Department of Justice components. (The Department averaged over 3000 such administrative appeals each year.) He litigated and supervised FOIA cases at the district and appellate level and has testified before Congress at the subcommittee and committee levels on the implementation of the 1996 Electronic FOIA Amendments and on the interface between the FOIA and the Privacy Act.

While at the Department of Justice he oversaw the development of the “Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview,” the Department of Justice’s 1100-page treatise that was updated and distributed on paper every other year to more than 22,000 recipients and online to thousands more. He has also published several legal articles, including "A Preliminary Analysis of the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Reform Act," and most recently he co-authored “Freedom of Information Act Access to Personal Information Contained in Government Records: Public Property or Protected Information?”

Mr. Huff came to the Department of Justice in 1976 after serving seven years on active duty in the Army; during his last reserve assignment he was assigned to the Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School where he taught FOIA and Privacy Act subjects to military graduate students. He is now a retired colonel in the Army Reserve and an honorary member of the Army Judge Advocate General’s School Faculty.

Since retiring Mr. Huff has made one-, two-, and three-day training presentations for the Departments of Justice, Army, Navy, Commerce, Treasury, Homeland Security, as well as for the EPA, SEC, FDA, and the American Society of Access Professionals and the Graduate School, USA (formerly USDA Graduate School).

Mr. Huff received a B.A. from Stanford, an M.A. from St. Mary's University, a Juris Doctor from Hastings College of the Law, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University.

Senator Patrick Leahy

Patrick Leahy was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and remains the only Democrat elected to this office from Vermont.  At 34, he was the youngest U.S. Senator ever to be elected from the Green Mountain State.

Leahy was born in Montpelier and grew up across from the Statehouse.  A graduate of Saint Michael's College in Colchester (1961), he received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1964).  He served for eight years as State's Attorney in Chittenden County where he gained a national reputation for his law enforcement activities and was selected as one of three outstanding prosecutors in the United States in 1974. 

Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is the senior-most member of the Appropriations Committee and of the Agriculture Committee. Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. He ranks first in seniority in the Senate.

Active on human rights issues, Leahy is the leading U.S. officeholder in the international campaign against the production, export and use of anti-personnel landmines.  In 1992, Leahy wrote the first law by any government to ban the export of these weapons.  He led efforts in Congress to aid mine victims by creating a special fund in the foreign aid budget, and the Leahy War Victims Fund now provides up to $14 million of relief to these victims each year.  He was instrumental in establishing programs to support humanitarian demining and played a key role in pushing for an international treaty banning anti-personnel mines.  He also wrote and enacted civilian war victims relief programs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Leahy headed the Senate's negotiations on the 2001 anti-terrorism bill, the USA PATRIOT Act.  He added checks and balances to the bill to protect civil liberties, provisions to triple staffing along the U.S.-Canada border, to authorize domestic preparedness grants to states, and to facilitate the hiring of new FBI translators.

Leahy's Judiciary Committee investigation into the mass firings of U.S. Attorneys and of White House attempts to exert political influence over the Justice Department led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Department's entire top rank of political appointees in 2008.

Leahy is the chief sponsor of the Innocence Protection Act, which addresses flaws in the administration of capital punishment.  Parts of Leahy's death penalty reform package, which were enacted in 2004, help reduce the risks that innocent people are executed by providing for post-conviction DNA testing and better access to competent legal counsel. 

A leader on Internet and technology issues, Leahy was the second senator to post a homepage.  His website consistently has been named one of the Senate's best, and a leading Internet magazine called Leahy the most "Net-friendly" member of Congress.  He has been the Senate's leading champion of open government and of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and in 1996 was installed in the FOIA Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts.  He is one of only two politicians ever awarded the John Peter Zenger Press Freedom Award.  An avid and accomplished photographer, Leahy’s photography has been published in USA TODAY, The New York Times, Time Magazine and Roll Call.

Leahy has crusaded for the protection of privacy rights, copyright protections and freedom of speech on the Internet.  He was a co-founder and remains a co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.  Leahy has taken the lead on several privacy issues, including drafting legislation to address data and email privacy and security and leading the effort to enact privacy safeguards for electronic health records.

Always ranked among the top environmental legislators by the nation's foremost conservation organizations, Leahy successfully opposed attempts to allow oil and gas exploration in wildlife refuges in the United States, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge in Vermont.  Leahy helped secure more than $70 million in federal funds to clean up Lake Champlain and spearheaded congressional efforts to tackle the dangers of mercury pollution.  He worked to add more than 125,000 acres to the Green Mountain National Forest, an accomplishment matched by few lawmakers of any era. 

Leahy led bipartisan efforts to streamline the Department of Agriculture, and the 1994 Leahy-Lugar bill reorganized the U.S. Department of Agriculture by closing 1100 offices and saving more than $2 billion.  Leahy led the successful effort to extend the Conservation Reserve Program, which assists farmers in meeting environmental objectives without reducing income.  Leahy's Farms for the Future program -- now the Farmland Protection Program, which was created in the 1990 Farm Bill -- helped preserve more than 350 Vermont farms.  He played a crucial role in enactment and implementation of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact and also worked with others in the Vermont Congressional Delegation in establishing the Milk Income Loss Compensation (MILC) program, modeled on the Compact.  Leahy also is the father of the national organic standards and labeling program, which took effect in October 2002.

Leahy co-chairs the Senate National Guard Caucus and led in ensuring that members of the National Guard in Vermont and across the nation receive the necessary resources to fulfill their heightened missions after 9/11.  In 2003 the National Guard Association presented Leahy with its highest individual honor, the Harry S. Truman Award, for his "sustained contributions of exceptional and far-reaching magnitude to the defense and security of the United States in a manner worthy of recognition at the national level."

Patrick Leahy has been married to Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy since 1962.  They have a daughter, two sons, and five grandchildren.  The Leahys live on a tree farm in Middlesex, Vermont.

Andrew Lih

Andrew Lih is an associate professor of journalism at American University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Wikipedia Revolution: How a bunch of nobodies created the world’s greatest encyclopedia and is a noted expert in online collaboration and digital news innovation. He is the recipient of a 2015 Knight Foundation grant for creating Wikipedia learning spaces for open source content, in association with the US National Archives and Records Administration.

A veteran of AT&T Bell Laboratories, he was a principal/founder of Mediabridge Infosystems, creator of the first online New York City guide ( ). He has degrees in computer science from Columbia University, where he helped start the new media program at the School of Journalism in 1995. His multimedia reporting of China and the 2008 Summer Olympics has appeared in the Wall Street Journal newspaper and web site.

He is a regular contributor to the MediaShift weekly podcast. He has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), the Online News Association, TEDx, Wikimania and Wikisym and his work and commentary has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz and The Washington Post.

Laurenellen McCann

Laurenellen McCann (@elle_mccann) is a social practice artist, organizer, and recovered policy wonk. Their work focuses on community-led approaches to governance and social innovation, emphasizing creativity and collaboration online and offline. In 2014, they started the movement to bring these practices into civic technology under the banner, “build with, not for”. Currently, Laurenellen works with New America , directing a ground-breaking initiative on civic life in Washington, DC. In past lives, they were a Civic Innovation Fellow at the Open Technology Institute, a consultant with the Smart Chicago Collaborative, and the founding director of the Sunlight Foundation’s state and local team. Laurenellen sits on the Advisory Board of the DC Funk Parade and recently co-founded a dinosaur co-op. (Long story.) In 2013, TIME Magazine named her one of 30 people under 30 changing the world. More at

Michael Morisy

Michael Morisy is the co-founder of MuckRock and manages the site's general operations. In 2014-2015, he was named a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe, where he launched the paper's technology vertical BetaBoston. He previously contributed to the New York Daily News' Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers. 

Miriam Nisbet

Miriam Nisbet was the founding Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Created by the 2007 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, OGIS is the federal FOIA ombudsman office, charged with providing mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and federal agencies and with improving FOIA administration. Miriam retired in November 2014. She previously worked for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the American Library Association, NARA, and the US Department of Justice. She is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and North Carolina and was elected to the American Law Institute in 2005.

Megan Smith

In September 2014, President Obama named Megan Smith the United States Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this role, she serves as an Assistant to the President. As U.S. CTO, Smith focuses on how technology policy, data and innovation can advance the future of our nation.

Megan Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. She most recently served as a Vice President at Google, first leading New Business Development -- where she managed early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations, and technology licensing across Google’s global engineering and product teams for nine years -- and later serving as a VP in the leadership team at Google[x] -- where she co-created the company’s “SolveForX” innovation community project as well as its “WomenTechmakers” tech-diversity initiative and worked on a range of other projects. During her tenure she led the company’s acquisitions of major platforms such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Picasa, and also served as GM of during its engineering transition, adding Google Crisis Response, Google for Nonprofits, and Earth Outreach/Engine, and increased employee engagement.

Megan previously served as CEO of PlanetOut, a leading LGBT online community in the early days of the web, where the team broke through many barriers and partnered closely with AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, and other major web players. Megan was part of designing early smartphone technologies at General Magic and worked on multimedia products at Apple Japan.

Over the years, Megan has contributed to a wide range of engineering projects, including an award-winning bicycle lock, space station construction program, and solar cookstoves. She was a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student team that designed, built, and raced a solar car 2000 miles across the Australian outback.  

Megan has served on the boards of MIT, MIT Media Lab, MIT Technology Review, and Vital Voices; as a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid; and as an advisor to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Malala Fund, which she co-founded. She holds a bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she completed her master's thesis work at the MIT Media Lab.

Joshua Tauberer

Joshua Tauberer is a civic hacker and entrepreneur., which he launched in 2004, helps millions of individuals track and understand the activities of the U.S. Congress, and it was the first website to create open data for Congress. He is also a co-founder of, a political crowdfunding tool. He is a member of the DC government's open government advisory group, author of Open Government Data: The Book, and co-organizer of the yearly Open Data Day DC conference. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sean Vitka

Sean Vitka serves as counsel for Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, and is a fellow at X-Lab. He works on surveillance, technology and transparency policy. Sean has worked at the Sunlight Foundation, CREDO Action, the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown Law, and was a 2013 Google Policy Fellow. His writing on surveillance, economics and technology has been published in a variety of places including Ars Technica, The Chicago Tribune, Slate, and The Washington Post.

Sabrina Williams

Sabrina Williams is a Digital Services Expert with the US Digital Service (USDS) team at the White House. In her role with USDS, she has worked on projects with several agencies, including serving as the product lead for College Scorecard. Prior to joining USDS in October 2015, Sabrina was a software engineer at Google where she worked on Google Cloud Print, Google Glass, and the Display Ads platform. Prior to Google, she was at HP for 6 years. She graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Computer Science.

Pamela Wright

Ms. Wright is the Chief Innovation Officer for the U.S. National Archives. As such, she is responsible for igniting innovation projects across the Agency as well as formulating and implementing NARA's strategic direction for providing online public access to NARA holdings. She directs an office with 70 staff members, who work in the divisions for digitization, digital engagement, project management, the Innovation Hub, and lifecycle authorities and standards. She leads the Agency’s social media, online catalog, lifecycle policy, digitization, and web services programs.  She is the Agency’s representative to the White House Open Government Working Group and was recently named as co-chair. She and her staff chair numerous cross-office working groups at the National Archives, including the Innovation Council, the Digital Governance Board, the Social Media Working Group, the Open Government Working Group, and the Online Public Access Integrated Project Team, which have been responsible for launching ground-breaking digital projects across the agency. She holds degrees in English and history from the University of Montana, and was a staff historian and lead researcher for a private consulting firm before joining the National Archives.

David Zvenyach

"I've been a government lawyer who has written code," says Dave. "I'm a coder who has written legal briefs." Now at 18F (and, as he's quick to remind everyone, not working in a legal capacity), Dave most recently served as the general counsel to the Council of the District of Columbia. Before that, he served as chief of staff to D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh and clerked for a federal district judge. He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin ­ Madison and a law degree from the George Washington University Law School.

"Over the course of my career in public service, I have developed a well of empathy for government employees trying to get things done," he says. "But I also have a sense of urgency honed through work in local government and experience in software development, where I have witnessed huge changes/progress in short amounts of time."

Dave is currently focused on ways to improve the ways the government purchases digital services.

"Historically, the government has not been a particularly good purchaser or provider of digital services," he says. "It has led to bad websites, needless expense for taxpayers, unhappy government employees, and vendors who bear high risks while working with the government. My goal is to help the government buy better, through time­ tested techniques, best practices, and a little innovation."