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Digging through the Government Attic

I love the [[Freedom_of_Information_Act_(United_States)|Freedom of Information Act (United States)]] (FOIA)! It’s a vital tool to researchers, journalists and the public — so much so that there are now several sites that try to help manage the sometimes long and arduous FOIA process (see MuckRock and FOIA Machine). So I’m constantly on the lookout for sites that post FOIA’d documents that I can add to my FOIA web harvesting archive.

One such site that has long had a place in my govt documents heart is the Government Attic. This is a truly amazing site in which to “rummage.” The site has posted thousands of documents(!) from their many FOIA requests including:

  • FOIA logs (FOIAs about FOIAs are really handy!)
  • documents across a wide swath of government activity like Inspector Generals of various agencies
  • internal agency Websites
  • agencies’ self-identified interesting documents
  • FBI high visibility memos
  • DoD resale activities border review (reviews which videos and magazines could be sold on military bases)
  • a compilation of FBI documents concerning the security of telephone services, 1952-1995 (this one was so interesting that I have stored a local copy and had it cataloged for our library!).

They also have a Links page which includes information about FOIA, guides on how to submit FOIA requests, etc.

Bottom line, this is a fascinating site to which all research libraries should at least link. You never know when a student, faculty or researcher will ask you about how to access obscure historic government documents. One could get lost “rummaging through the Government Attic.” And this is a good thing! Please post in the comments any documents you find particularly intriguing or compelling. That’ll really help to “seed the cloud” with pointers to critical but obscure government documents.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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