Exploring the Benefits of Leveraging Digital Tools for FOIA Administration

February 11, 2013

On February 21st, the Office of Information Policy (OIP) will be hosting a seminar to discuss the use of digital tools in the administration of the FOIA.  The panel session will bring together OIP Director Melanie Ann Pustay with representatives from the Justice Department’s Civil Division and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to discuss the benefits that digital tools can bring to FOIA administration.

As noted in the Justice Department’s Open Government Plan version 2.0:

One of the most common delays in the processing of FOIA requests across the government is the time spent by FOIA personnel searching for, de-duplicating, and conducting initial responsiveness review on records, much of which is done by hand or using off-the-shelf software with limited capabilities for advanced document review and redaction. All of these steps must take place before a FOIA professional can even begin to review records for the application of FOIA exemptions and for ultimate release to FOIA requesters.

Using OIP’s unique dual position as both the government’s lead FOIA policy office, and as a processing and implementation office within DOJ, the plan announced that OIP was partnering with the Civil Division, with the support of the Justice Management Division, on a digital-FOIA pilot program.  The purpose of the pilot was to leverage existing resources to “conduct precise searches, to de-duplicate records, and to sort and organize [located] records electronically in advance of their review” by OIP FOIA professionals.  Test cases processed by OIP using the pilot program were compared to control cases using current OIP processes to measure and compare efficiency and speed in processing.

Next week, Director Pustay will be joined by Allison Stanton and Joshua Wood of the Civil Division to discuss the findings of this pilot program.  Additionally, Joan Fina of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will discuss her agency’s successful experience in using digital tools to help manage an unprecedented demand for documents.  The details for this training are:

Exploring the Benefits of Leveraging Digital Tools for FOIA Administration
Department of Justice, Robert F. Kennedy Building
10th and Constitution Ave., NW – 7th Floor Conference Room
February 21, 2013, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

This session is open to all federal employees.  Registration is required.  You will need a picture ID to enter the building for this seminar.

If you are interested in attending this event, you can register by e-mailing your name and phone number to OIP’s Training Officer, Bertina Adams Cleveland, at DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov.  If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact Ms. Adams at (202) 514-1010.

Topic(s): 
FOIA Post