Home Who's Reisner? Journalism Florida International University Other Stuff
Database & Public Records Reporting/JOU3121 | News Workshop/JOU 3113



Sample Electronic Records Request

Note how the letter quotes the law in a way that is firm, but not obnoxious. Also note that it is very specific. It can be modified in many ways. For example, if you don't know exactly what the data contain, you could write a letter asking for the record layout.





Pursuant to the Florida Open Public Records Act, Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, I am writing to request an electronic copy of [PRECISELY SPECIFY WHAT IT IS YOU WANT], along with any associated documentation, record layouts, data dictionaries or code sheets.


Chapter 119.085 states in part that, "Each agency that maintains a public record in an electronic record keeping system shall provide to any person, pursuant to this chapter, a copy of any public record in the system... An agency must provide a copy of the record in the medium requested if the agency maintains the record in that medium..."


If you refuse to provide this information, Chapter 119 requires you advise me in writing and indicate the applicable exemption to the Public Records Act. Please state the precise reasons for your decision, as required by Section119.07(2)(a).


If the exemption you are claiming only applies to a portion of a record or records, Chapter 119.07(2)(a) requires that you redact or delete that which is exempt and provide a copy of the reminder.. Please state in writing the applicable exemption to the Public Records Act that requires you to redact that portion of the record(s).


Please provide the records on a floppy disk, CD-Rom or DVD, in Excel or Access format, along with all documentation, forms, record layouts, data dictionaries and code sheets.


If the records are not kept in those formats or if the computer system will not permit you to save the records in those formats, I will accept the records in any conventional computer including but not limited to Lotus, Quattro, dBase, FoxPro and  FileMaker or in such ASCII text formats as comma-delimited, comma-separated variable, tab-delimited and fixed width. Please contact me should you only be able to provide the records on 9-track tape and/or in EBCDIC.


I agree to pay the actual cost of duplication as defined in Section119.07(1)(a), up to $[FILL IN AMOUNT].


However, if you expect that complying with this request will require "extensive use'' of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance as defined in Section 119.07(1)(b), please provide a detailed written estimate and justification of all costs.


I request that these records be available by [DATE]. If you have any questionsor need more information to expedite this request, please call me at [INSERT PHONE NUMBER].







Home | Who's Reisner? | Journalism | Florida International University | Other Stuff