Editor's Note

The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

OK, now this is COOL!

From the folks at WikiFoia:

One main purpose of the site is to provide an extensive and growing "How To" guide for practical, concrete assistance for regular citizens who are thinking about filing an open records request in any state.

We're also collecting news, resources, legal information, breaking court cases, and more, including a space for considerable information about the open records landscape in each state.

Using a Wiki format allows anyone who drops in to add or edit information. We hope that as it grows, open records advocates in each state will use the easy-to-edit features of a Wiki to create a growing library of information.

Most of us are aware of the basic idea of a Wiki—they allow a group of people with a common interest to collaborate on creating informational content online. Wikipedia is the best known example.

With WikiFoia, people who are interested in using or learning about state sunshine laws can come together to share their wisdom and experiences. Some citizens feel quite intimidated by the open records process and wonder if they should leave it up to reporters and attorneys to do that kind of work.

With WikiFoia we hope to create a fairly informal and collaborative environment that reduces the "FOIA is only for experts" fear.

Also, since open records are constantly under review and revision, we hope that this online community—where anyone can add new information--will become a place well-suited to keeping up with those changes.

Additionally, we are collecting ideas for "internet-based transparency reforms"—an emerging area of citizen activism to encourage school districts, cities and counties to post a significant amount of information online to reduce the need for FOIA requests. (One school district in Illinois is considering a proposal to post every open records request it receives online, along with the requested documents.)

Please take a look at www.WikiFoia.org . Your comments and insights are welcomed. If you maintain an open records website, we'd appreciate it if you would consider adding a link to the WikiFoia. If the WikiFoia doesn't already include a link to your website, please feel free to add your links and any information you'd like to share.

For more information or any questions, please e-mail info@WikiFoia.org .

Thank you!

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