School of Security and Global Studies

Document Type

Student Paper

Program Name

Legal Studies

Publication Date



Nearly a half-century ago, Congress passed a seminal piece of legislation giving its citizenry unprecedented access to federal government records. The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, which was signed by President Johnson in 1966 and went into effect the following year, allowed Americans access to previously-unreleased federal agency records not falling under one of nine defined exemptions. To ensure access to these federal records, as well as to ensure the preservation of the history of the United States government, numerous statutes have been instituted to assure that federal records are preserved, organized, and curated in a way that is helpful to both the agencies that created them and to the general public. These statutes, which govern records management by federal agencies, allow the National Archives and Records Administration to approve schedules for the maintenance and disposal of federal records, and to acquire those records that it deems to have permanent value. In examining the history of federal agency records management, the different regulations that govern this management, and the modern challenges faced by federal agency records managers, we gain a greater understanding of this immense and multifaceted endeavor and its value to American society.



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