A national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information is celebrated in March. Sunshine Week was created by journalists to shed light on government, and athough freedom of the press is at its core, the public’s right to understand what its government is doing — and why — is what propels the movement.

In an effort to assist citizens to work effectively with government, links are provided below to secure government information.

Infographic shows drop in backlogged FOI requests, but a smaller share of full requests being granted.

U.S. Government

www.Ethics.gov: Online search for wide variety of federal records including White House visitor logs, travel reports, lobbying disclosure data, political contribution filings and other federal disclosure documents.

Office of Government Information Services: OGIS, created by Congress, reviews Freedom of Information Act policies and works with the requesters and agencies when there are disputes.

Office of Information Policy: Justice Department unit that provides guidance to agencies on compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. It provides information on FOIA litigation, guidelines to agencies and various reports.

Guide to the Freedom of Information Act: Justice Department’s guide to agencies on procedural requirements, use of exemptions, and litigation considerations. It provides a detailed analysis of the key judicial opinions on the FOIA.

www.FOIA.Gov: A Department of Justice site providing general information and data on the Freedom of Information Act, including annual reports from the various departments and agencies on their performance in handling FOIA requests.

President Obama’s memorandum on FOIA: Obama signed this momorandum when he took office. It calls on all agencies, in handling information requests, to adopt a presumption in favor of openness.

More information can be found at sunshineweek.org.

Attorney General Holder’s directive on FOIA: The attorney general’s follow up to the president’s above mentioned memorandum. It reverses previous guidance to agencies and tells agencies not to deny a FOIA request simply because they can legally do so.

www.Data.gov: The federal government’s dashboard. Find information and links on what agencies have designated as high value, databases. It also lists states and cities with similar database websites and highlights apps developed by citizen data users to manipulate specific data sets.