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U.S. Federal Documents: FOIA: Freedom of Information Act

Northwestern University Libraries have been a U.S. Federal Depository Library since 1876. Our collection includes materials in paper, microfiche, CD-ROM, DVD formats and online formats. This guide is based on a similar guide by Kelly Smith at UCSD.

How to Make a FOIA Request

Making a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is complicated and takes time.  Use the resources of the following agencies and organizations to make your request as strong as possible.  Use the resources on the Declassified Documents page of this guide to verify that the documents you need have not already been released.

FOIA Contacts - individuals in the various state agencies to contact about FOIA requests

What follows is not a complete list of individual state agency pages related to FOIA.  If the agency you need is not listed here, a google search structured as follows will find the relevant web page (substitute the name of the agency of interest):

"freedom of information act" site:illinois.gov  "public health"

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Materials Made Available by FOIA Requests

Federal agencies are required to provide an electronic reading room for materials released.  For those not linked below, try this search in google:

"electronic reading room" site:agencyurl   |  for example:  "electronic reading room" site:fbi.gov