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Freedom of Information Day 2012 at SIBL — Wrap-Up

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Thursday, March 15 was Freedom of Information Day here at SIBL. I would like to offer a big round of thanks (I'd add a round of applause, but don't have the audio file) to our speaker this year, Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy organization Public Citizen. His informative and inspiring presentation was very much appreciated!

With Weissman's permission, I have attached a copy of his PowerPoint slides (with some changes made to pages containing copyrighted materials) for those who were not able to attend. I expect you will find it quite informative, especially as it pertains to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its implementation.

I've included below a couple of brief notes for the topics discussed. Given the detail and clarity of the attached slides, I'm not adding much. Please do take a look, and check out Public Citizen's website (including its FOIA page) for more information. 

  • FOIA is one of the key areas where Public Citizen acts: it litigates FOIA cases more often than any other organization, and participates in all Supreme Court cases on FOIA.
  • The Obama campaign promised to loosen restrictions on the use of FOIA from the Bush II era, and despite some progress, it has disappointingly not lived up to expectations, and in some cases even displayed worsened behavior. (See the slides on exemptions and delays.)

United States Court House,Foley Square, Digital ID 1557900, New York Public LibraryHere are some citations or links to a few cases mentioned on the slides where Public Citizen has worked on FOIA issues:

A quick note — already it's time for a trip to the Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia, for the Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (formerly Depository Libraries) conference next week. I'll plan to report on that event, especially any new developments we learn of, in this space in early April.

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