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Reading Room Search Tips
FOIA Reading Room:

All records are stored as a repository, in the FOIA Reading Room, in the appropriate format, where paper copies of all documents are available for inspection and copying. FOIAXpress posts information to the FOIA Reading Room on a scheduled basis or on demand, where individual requesters can download the requisite information without having to make a formal FOIA request. The FOIA Reading Room is updated on a timely basis, based on the frequency of the request received by the agency.

  1. Final opinions and orders made in adjudicating cases;

  2. Final statements of policy and interpretations which have not been published in the Federal Register;

  3. Administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;

  4. Copies of records that have been the subject of a FOIA request that are of sufficient public interest or curiosity that the agency believes other persons are likely to request them; and

  5. Agency' s statistical report, which includes such information as the number of requests received by the agency, the amount of time taken to process requests, the total amount of fees collected by the agency, information regarding the backlog of pending requests, and other information about the agency' s handling of FOIA requests. Beside these categories, other documents may also be available in the FOIA Reading Room. You can view or download any document(s) in the FOIA Reading Room.

To search and view documents in the FOIA Reading Room:

  1. Click on the Reading Room link on the left side panel

  2. Select the Document Type under which the document is listed.

  3. Enter the Document Name, Published Date, search text and/or custom field information for the document then click Search. Click the Clear button to remove any previously entered values.

  4. All documents are displayed by the document name, published date and the number of pages contained. Click on the document name to view the document information.

  5. You can also choose to download the document, which is in a zipped format, to your local/network drive and unzip it to view.

  6. If the document is in a PDF format then you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader version 8.0 or higher to be able to view/read the document.

  7. Click the Back button to return to the Reading Room screen.


  • All document types are selected by default. Therefore, make sure to select the correct document type.

  • By default, the Document Name field will contain an asterisk. The asterisk causes the system to retrieve all documents based on the search criteria.

  • Entering the document name provides a more precise result.

  • When you enter a word or phrase in the Document Name field, the system will search the name of all documents for matches. When you enter a word or phrase in the Content Search field, the system will search the content of all documents for matches.

  • Click the Clear button to remove information entered in the search fields.

Basic Rules for Formulating Queries

  • You can type text in upper- or lowercase.

  • You can search for any combination of letters (a-z) and numbers (0-9).

  • Symbols such as / \ @ " ' + ^ # : . are ignored during a search.

  • To search for a complete phrase, use double quotes. For example, the query "administrative appeal" will fetch documents that exclusively contain the phrase administrative appeal. Typing the phrase without the double quotes (e.g. administrative appeal) will fetch documents that contain the separate words administrative and appeal.

Note: Do not use the pipe "|", ampersand "&", or exclamation point "!" as wild card expressions.

Using Boolean Operators

  • The AND, OR operators enable you to precisely define your search by creating a relationship between search terms

  • The AND operator locates documents containing all words in any order. For example, reading AND room will fetch documents with both the words "reading" and "room" present at different places in the documents.

  • The OR operator locates documents containing either of the two words. For example, reading OR room will fetch documents that contain either the word "reading" or the word "room".

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