1. FOIA/PA Request - Freedom of
Information/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 there requester, are included in
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
level a 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
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 when a
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
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
request, 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 other in whole or in
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
records is located in response to a FOIA request).
12. Time limits - the time period in the
Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond
to a 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 applicable fees.
14. Exemption 3 statute - a separate federal
statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type
of information and authorizing its withholding under
FOIA subsection (b)(3).
15. Median number - the middle, not average,
number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median
number is 7.
16. Average number - the number obtained by
dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the
quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3,
7, and 14, the average number is 8.