1. FOIA request - Freedom of Information
Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request
for access to records concerning a third party,
an organization, or a particular topic of interest.
2. Initial request - a request to a federal
agency for access to records under the Freedom of
3. Appeal - a request to a federal agency
asking that it review at a higher administrative
level a full denial or partial denial of access
to records under the Freedom of Information Act,
or any other FOIA determination such as a matter
pertaining to fees.
4. Processed request or appeal - a request
or appeal for which an agency has taken a final
action on the request or appeal in all respects.
5. Multi-track processing - a system in
which simple requests requiring relatively minimal
review are placed in one processing track and more
voluminous and complex requests are placed in one
or more other tracks. Requests in each track are
processed on a first-in/first-out basis. A requester
who has an urgent need for records may request expedited
processing (see below).
6. Expedited processing - an agency will
process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when
a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency
for the records which warrants prioritization of
his or her request over other requests that were
7. Simple request- a FOIA request that an
agency using multi-track processing places in its
fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume
and/or simplicity of the records requested.
8. Complex request - a FOIA request that
an agency using multi-track processing places in
a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity
of records requested.
9. Grant - an agency decision to disclose
all records in full response to a FOIA request.
10. Partial grant - an agency to disclose
a record in part in response to a FOIA request,
deleting information determined to be exempt under
one or more of the FOIA's exemptions; or a decision
to disclose some records in their entireties, but
to withhold others in whole or in part.
11. Denial an agency decision not
to release any part of a record or records in response
to a FOIA request because all the information in
the requested records is determined by the agency
to be exempt under one or more of the FOIAs
exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such
as: no record is located in response to a FOIA request).
12. Time Limits - the time period in the
Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond
to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from
proper receipt of a "perfected" FOIA request).
13. "Perfected" request - a FOIA
request for records which adequately describes the
records sought, which has been received by the FOIA
office of the agency component in possession of
the records, and for which there is no remaining
question about the payment of applicable fees.
14. Exemption 3 statute - a separate federal
statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain
type of information and authorizing its withholding
under FOIA subsection (b)(3).
15. Median number - the middle, not average,
number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median
number is 7.
16. Average number - the number obtained
by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the
quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of
3, 7, and 14, the average number is eight.