e-Discovery and Document Review: An Introduction

22 January 2016 by Anith Mathai general search

Buzzwords and acronyms. They’re everywhere, and they’re probably here to stay. The words and acronyms themselves may fade away into obsolescence, but the fact is that it’s getting harder to know a lot about a lot. Most of us are relegated to knowing a lot about a few things. Here at GoldFynch, we know a lot about e-Discovery/Document Review.

“e-Discovery” (short-hand for “electronic discovery”) or “document review”, are broad terms used to describe the collection of documents in an electronic format (such as .pdf, or .docx) followed by a search for information within those documents.

One example most can relate to is the classic email hunt:

_“I know I sent that e-mail on a Friday in January because there was snow on the ground…” _and thus begins an hour-long search through your personal, work, and rec volleyball league e-mail accounts for all messages sent on every Friday in January.

This is a great, albeit, simplified example of e-Discovery.

The hunt for the missing e-mail is solved in most e-mail platforms with basic search fields and filters. The real fun is when your search leads you to documents and folders that have come to you from outside your realm of familiarity;Here Be Dragons.

Unfamiliar formats add an extra layer of complexity that may require help, either in the form of an extra set of hands, a phone call to the original owner/creator of the file, or software created for just such a purpose.

The following circumstances have the potential to lead you on a foray into the world of e-discovery products (or a panic attack):

Unfamiliar File Types

Examples: CAD drawings, “.mbox”, “.tiff” The problem: Without owning a license to the specific software that recognizes this file type, the document may be impossible to open and therefore, impossible to review.

Unfamiliar Naming Structures

Examples: date (of what? the options are limitless) case number, check number, or any other internal (and completely foreign to you) numbering system last name, address, favorite color? The Problem: How to find what you need from the pantry when everything is organized by color rather food item? (Answer: you order take out)

Improperly Exported Documents

Example: A common way to export (because it’s often the easiest for the exporter) is to produce all documents in a single .pdf or image file The Problem: Many image file types make it difficult to conduct in-document text searches, so good luck finding what you need without spending a lot of time creating several separate .pdf files or requesting a new export in cases where that’s possible If you’ve encountered any of these circumstances, you may have already delved into the world of e-Discovery solutions. Unfortunately, many of the products available are designed for extremely large companies, require extensive training and licensing fees, and are otherwise intimidating to most people.

But wait…wasn’t the whole point of an e-Discovery solution to save time?

Isn’t the age of Big Data supposed to bring us more answers than questions? More simplicity than headaches? How is it that we can eradicate disease and communicate via video with people in Antarctica, but we can’t search through text in an unknown file format without downloading the license for Adobe Reader?

Fear not!

We here at GoldFynch agree that solutions should be just that: solutions.

Not a wormhole into a whole new galaxy of problems.