Name that organization!
July 1, 2015 8:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting a group that will be pursuing Freedom of Information requests (mostly under state laws, not federal FOIA) to have genealogically and archivally relevant materials released from local and state archives and governments and put online for free access. But we need a name for this new group!

The group will primarily be Internet-based, with a free website and e-mail list to document the progress of our various requests under different state FOI laws. We will be providing how-to guides for other genealogists and archivists to pursue similar cases on their own initiative, and report back their results.

For example, out first FOIL target is the 1908-1929 City Clerk's office marriage license and affidavits index, currently held at the NYC Municipal Archives in Manhattan. It's not available anywhere else, not even on microfilm. We want to change that.

Future FOIL targets may include probate index databases that are currently only available onsite at local archives, or the New York State pre-1950 death index, which is only available on microfilms at select New York State libraries. (We'll be working on obtaining and releasing data from other states too, but New York has a particularly robust FOIL and is one of my personal interests.)

Basically, for any relevant information that is not restricted by privacy laws, we want to work to have it released and made freely available, rather than requiring archivists and genealogists to trek down to a specific far-away library or archive to access the data -- or worse, having that data become permanently paywalled in a for-profit database, i.e. suggestions? We could go with something like "Open Records Alliance", but that doesn't quite capture that this group will be specifically going after genealogically and archivally relevant materials, as opposed to say budget or police records. Or we could go with something a little more kitschy and fun, Justice League style. Something about "open data"?

The last time I asked AskMetafilter for help naming a project of mine I got some great suggestions, so I'm hoping that happens again... Thanks!
posted by Asparagirl to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
OpenFamily? Open Family Data? Free theTree (or Free Your Tree)? Family Tree Liberation Front? Know Your Forebears? Like The Mormons, But Without The Proselytizing? Ancestry Searchlight?

(There is already an Open Genealogy Alliance in the U.K., by the way, so steer clear of that name. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:11 AM on July 1, 2015

Open FOIL? Just spitballin' here...
posted by singmespanishtechno at 9:56 AM on July 1, 2015

FOIST: Freedom Of Information Strike Team!

You may need to get Chuck Norris on board to make that one work though...
posted by pipeski at 10:52 AM on July 1, 2015

Open Sesame
Olive Branch
File Patrol
Open Secrets
Future Reference
Doc in the Box/Dox in the Box
What's Up, Doc?
Paper Caper
Paper Chasers
Paper Tigers
Paper Trail
Document Detective Squad
posted by carmicha at 12:50 PM on July 1, 2015

posted by faineant at 10:40 PM on July 1, 2015

Kin FOIL Stats for the goofier members.
posted by faineant at 10:44 PM on July 1, 2015

Hmm... are you sure that is what you want to go with?

I'd say that, for a non profit, your name should be based on your marketing and funding sources, unless you are already funded. I'm not sure the kitschy angle is how I'd pursue that. I'd, if I was trying to get people to connect with your mission, make it about helping people find and claim their history.

Some thoughts:
Your Story
Find Past
Modern History
posted by gryftir at 11:17 PM on July 2, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! This post inspired a lot of brainstorming and I finally figured out a name. Check out "Reclaim The Records": We filed our first Petition in court against the New York City Department of Records and Information Services last week.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:35 AM on September 6, 2015

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