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Compilations of FOIA Decisions Now Cover Past Fifteen Years

With the posting on this date of the Office of Information and Privacy's "Compiled FOIA Decisions" list for the first half of 1989, see FOIA Post, "Compiled FOIA Decisions (Received January-June 1989)" (posted 12/31/03), the twenty-fourth in a series of such retrospective case compilations, FOIA Post now contains summaries of all Freedom of Information Act decisions issued during the twelve-year period immediately prior to its establishment in early 2001. When combined with the quarterly compilations prepared by OIP during the twelve quarters of the past three years, this means that these FOIA case summaries now cover a fifteen-year period, extending from 1989 through 2003.

When FOIA Post was established in 2001, OIP began this reference project with the goal of preparing comprehensive case summaries prospectively, on a quarterly basis, and covering some recent years retrospectively as well. Due to the project's popularity and success, as of mid-2002, OIP announced plans to extend it further. See FOIA Post, "Compilations of FOIA Decisions Now Reach Back Five Years" (posted 8/30/02). Now that these goals have been met and even surpassed, OIP's plans for this continuing project are as follows:

• publication of a final retrospective compilation of all available summaries for pre-1989 decisions, in a single posting;

• consolidation of all summaries for the years prior to 2004 into a single case compilation, to be both alphabetized in the aggregate and divided according to type of court, in order to facilitate their use as a single reference and research tool;

• development of a specialized search engine that will permit keyword searches throughout this new consolidated research compilation; and

• continued publication of summaries of new FOIA decisions, on a quarterly basis, with all such new case summaries to be integrated into the new consolidated compilation each year.

Additionally, as FOIA Post completes its third year, with more than a hundred items posted on a range of different topics, OIP plans to develop an overall search engine for it that will permit it to be used as a comprehensive reference and research tool -- just as its predecessor publication, FOIA Update (searchable at, currently can be used to electronically search through twenty years of FOIA guidance issued during the 1980s and 1990s.

With these FOIA reference material plans for the coming year, OIP also plans to discontinue publication of the Department of Justice's Freedom of Information Case List, a compilation of case citations that was published most recently in the years 1998 and 2002. OIP's principal reference volume, the Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview, will of course continue to be published on its regular two-year cycle, with the next edition of it to be published in May 2004.   (posted 12/31/03)

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