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Introducing Interactive Agency Pages

by Greg Munno on February 4th, 2015

A new FOIA Project feature allows users to generate a dashboard of FOIA metrics for every federal agency that has been sued under the Freedom of Information Act since 2001.

Free, open to the public, and available at, users can search for any of these 640 agencies. Depending on whether the agency has been sued under FOIA and how frequently, the page will load varying amounts of information, including:

  • A brief description of the searched-for agency’s mission;
  • An interactive map that displays where in the U.S. each FOIA lawsuit against the agency has been filed;
  • An interactive chart that shows the number of FOIA lawsuits filed against the agency in each fiscal year since 2001;
  • A “by the numbers” snapshot of the lawsuits against the agency, the time to resolve them, and the number still pending;
  • Quick links to FOIA Project’s case and appeals search tools, which gives users access to more than 22,127 court documents from more than 7,639 federal district and circuit FOIA court cases;
  • A submission form that allows users to inform us of cases of improper withholding so that we can feature them on

The FOIA Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit effort to document and expose instances of improper withholding under FOIA. The Project seeks to create a climate that leads to full compliance with FOIA and ends the improper withholding of public records. It receives funding from the CS Fund/Warsh-Mott Legacy, The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, OpentheGovernment.Org, and others. FOIA Project is administered by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a joint research center of the Newhouse and Whitman Schools at Syracuse University.

The new interactive agency pages were built by TRAC computer scientist Michael Hasan. Some of the features, such as an HTML5 map of where FOIA cases against an agency have been filed, are particularly rich. Users can filter to see cases filed, or to isolate cases that have been closed. They also can filter by year. Cases are represented on the map by dots. Hover over a dot, and you generate a list of cases filed in that location. Click on one of the case listings, and it takes you to a summary page about the case, which includes links to the docket and other documents the FOIA Project has on that particular suit. The interactive tool draws from the Project’s comprehensive database of every FOIA lawsuit filed against a government agency since Oct. 1, 2000.

The pages allow for users who have an interest in a specific agency to quickly hone in on the data and cases specific to that agency, TRAC Co-Director Dr. Susan Long said.

“These pages customize the FOIA Project’s offerings for users covering, researching or otherwise interested in a specific government entity,” Long said. “It also brings us one step closer to meeting a Project goal of being able to evaluate each agency’s FOIA performance and to present those findings to the public. We’ll build on these pages as we develop additional indicators of agency activity and performance.”

Agency Page

A screen capture of the new agency FOIA metrics page for the Department of Justice. Click on the image to be taken to the actual tool.

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