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New FOIA Guide & Privacy Act Overview to Be Published in May

Continuing with its Freedom of Information Act reference volume publication cycle, the Office of Information and Privacy will publish the next edition of the Department of Justice's Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview in May of this year.

The Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview contains the "Justice Department Guide to the Freedom of Information Act," a detailed discussion of the FOIA's substantive and procedural aspects that has become the primary FOIA reference volume worldwide; the "Privacy Act Overview," an overview discussion of the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 that is prepared by OIP in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget; and the texts of the two statutes, as amended. It is designed to serve as a single reference volume for both FOIA and Privacy Act matters. The new 2004 edition of the Guide & Overview will replace its current edition, which was published in May 2002.

This will be the twentieth edition of the "FOIA Guide" prepared by the Office of Information and Privacy. Previously known as the "Short Guide to the FOIA," it was published as part of the Justice Department's former Freedom of Information Case List volume in September of each year, until it grew to a point in the early 1990s at which its continued development required separate publication treatment. To accommodate that the Office of Information and Privacy in 1992 detached the "FOIA Guide," added the "Privacy Act Overview," and created a combined FOIA and Privacy Act reference volume, the Guide & Overview, that stood separate from the Case List. See FOIA Update, Vol. XIII, No. 2, at 2. With the more recent development by OIP of comprehensive summaries of FOIA decisions, now available electronically through FOIA Post, publication of the Case List has been discontinued. See FOIA Post, "Compilations of FOIA Decisions Now Cover Past Fifteen Years" (posted 12/31/03).

The Office of Information and Privacy routinely distributes a courtesy copy of the Guide & Overview publication to each principal FOIA officer at each federal agency, to various congressional offices, and to other interested parties. All federal agencies wishing to order additional copies of the Guide & Overview should "ride" the Justice Department's primary requisition orders through the Government Printing Office. In advance of the publication date this year, OIP will prepare for all agencies a "rider" letter that contains detailed instructions on this requisition process, as it has done in the past. As was the case two years ago, this instruction letter will be made available through FOIA Post. All agencies should take special care to note, however, that this year for the first time this letter will be disseminated to all agencies through FOIA Post only; in other words, this "rider" letter no longer will be sent to each agency by mail.

Lastly, the Office of Information and Privacy will conduct a special FOIA-training program, its "FOIA Guide Seminar," upon completion of its work on the 2004 edition of the Guide & Overview. As in past years, a special prepublication copy of "Justice Department Guide to the FOIA" will be printed and provided to all attendees. This program, which is designed primarily for the access professional or agency official who needs only a periodic update on current FOIA case law and policy developments, is now tentatively scheduled to be held during the week of June 14, pending the completion of arrangements for it to be held in the amphitheater of the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center Building in Washington, D.C., the location at which it was held in 2000 and 2002. The date for the seminar will be announced through FOIA Post as soon as it is confirmed. See FOIA Post, "FOIA Training Opportunities, Fiscal Year 2004" (posted 7/23/03). Once the date for this program is confirmed and announced, agency FOIA personnel may call (202) 514-3642 to register for it.

Questions regarding any Justice Department FOIA publication, or about ordering such publications through the Government Printing Office, can be directed to OIP's publications editor, Pamela Maida, at (202) 514-5105. Questions regarding any Justice Department FOIA-training program may be directed to OIP's training officer, Bertina Adams Cleveland, at (202) 514-1010.   (posted 1/23/04)

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