(The top image is a snapshot of the DOJ homepage today 10/13/2005, the bottom image is the DOJ homepage archived by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on 11/30/2004. Click on the thumbnails to expand the snapshots.)
Freedom of Information Act maven Michael Ravnitzky noticed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) website redesign has at least one major flaw: there is no link to FOIA information from the DOJ homepage anymore, "contrary to a DOJ internal policy that emphatically recommended that every agency provide a FOIA link on its home page."
Ravnitzky found that the DOJ FOIA information is still available. There is just no way to navigate there easily from the Justice Department homepage.
A clear link to an agency's public FOIA information from an agency's homepage is standard practice across government agencies and is encouraged by the Justice Department in a 1998 document by Pamela Maida and former DOJ Office of Information Policy Senior Counsel Michael H. Hughes. To quote from that document:
All FOIA home pages have specific addresses (URLs), lengthy cites of letters and symbols, which when entered in the location field will bring a user directly to an agency's FOIA home page. This is convenient and expedient, but it assumes that a user has otherwise been able to find your FOIA home page's address. However, most typically these addresses are not readily at hand. When agencies design their FOIA home pages, therefore, they should be concerned with making their FOIA home pages easily accessible from the agency's home page.
Web users need to be able to access your FOIA home page quickly and simply from your agency's home page. This point cannot be made too emphatically.
Therefore, on your agency's home page there should be a link that is unquestionably the link to your FOIA site. [emphasis POGO's]
The Justice Department should immediately add a link to its FOIA information.
MORE: DOJ has added a link to its FOIA information on October 14, 2005, the day after this blog went up. The link is located on the bottom of DOJ's frontpage (note: our screenshot above does not show the bottom of the DOJ page).