Create your ode to openness with #FOIApoetry

A heavily redacted document that reveals a poem using the Sunlight Foundation's FOIA Poetry tool.
Image via #FOIApoetry.

As an advocate for the public’s right to know, we know that you care a lot about the Freedom of Information Act and its long history of liberating information. But how often do you get to experience FOIA firsthand?

That’s why we made #FOIApoetry, a new Sunlight tool to allow anyone to craft a verse of poetry using real FOIA documents. Just scroll over redacted portions of the text to reveal and build your #FOIApoetry, one word at a time. Share your creation using #FOIApoetry

We hope this playful site brings attention to the serious issue plaguing our freedom of information laws. As part of this year’s Sunshine Week, we’re calling on Congress (and you to call Congress!) to codify the presumption of openness, improve digital address to publicly released records, strengthen the Office of Government Information Services and require agencies to update their FOIA regulations.

We’ll be sharing some of the best creations through our Twitter account, so tweet those compositions! Also, be sure to bring your FOIA poetry favorites to tonight’s happy hour presenting the winners of “The Foilies” with EFF and MuckRock.

#FOIApoetry uses original responses to FOIA requests made available by the National Security Archive. We transcribed all nonredacted words in the document so we could layer HTML over the original PDF image to create the redacted-to-revealed effect seen on the site. We then aligned placeholders over sections that were real redactions. We were inspired by Austin Kleon’s great Newspaper Blackout project that created original poetry by redacting newspapers with a permanent marker.