OMB's FOIA regulations are located at 5 CFR 1303 and can be found on the OMB
Home Page referenced in the "Background Information Regarding Report" section above. A
copy is also provided at Attachment B.
Definitions of Terms Used in the Report
1. FOIA/PA request -- Freedom of Information Act/Privacy 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. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests
are also treated as FOIA requests. (All requests for access to records, regardless of which law is
cited by the requester, are included in this report.)
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
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 the 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
requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization
of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.
7. Simple request -- a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its
fastest (nonexpedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of 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 in response to a FOIA request.
10. Partial grant -- an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA
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 FOIA's exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as
because 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
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 or agency component in
possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of
14. Exemption 3 statute -- a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain
information and authorizing its with holding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).
15. Median number -- the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the
number is 7.
16. Average number -- the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by
quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.
OMB's FOIA regulations can be found at
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