Understanding the Significance of Native Files in eDiscovery

21 February 2024 by ROSS eDiscovery native-files

Takeaway: Native files are the original unmodified versions of electronic documentation and they are quite the game-changer in legal tech. They carry the most authentic form of data, complete with all its metadata. Let’s explore the growing importance of native files in legal proceedings

What makes a native file so important?

Native files are like the DNA of digital documents – they’re the originals, untouched and unaltered. When we talk about native files in eDiscovery, we’re referring to files in their original format, be it a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, or an email. These files are more than just text and images; they contain rich metadata – that’s the data about the data. This metadata can include details like - who created it, when it was created, and the changes made over time.

Why does this matter in eDiscovery? Because in legal cases, the more information you have, the better. Metadata can sometimes reveal more about a document’s history and relevance than the document itself. It’s like having a background story for every file, which can be crucial in building a case. Native files offer this complete picture, making them invaluable in legal proceedings. So, when we use native files in eDiscovery, we’re not just looking at the surface content. We’re diving deep into the intricate details that could make a huge difference in the outcome of a legal matter. That’s the power of native files – they give you the whole story, not just the summary.

What are the other formats for eDiscovery files? And what are their limitations?

When comparing native files to other formats like PDFs and TIFFs in eDiscovery, it’s like comparing a full-fledged novel to its summary. These alternative formats, while useful, have limitations. For starters, when a native file is converted to a PDF or TIFF, it loses its rich metadata. This means you miss out on the hidden layers of information that could be pivotal in a legal case.

Moreover, these formats tend to be more static. They don’t show the dynamic nature of the original file, such as embedded links, formulas in spreadsheets, or the full functionality of an email thread. This can lead to a lack of context and depth in the presented evidence.

Additionally, there’s the issue of appearance. While PDFs and TIFFs maintain the visual aspect of documents, they can’t replicate the interactive elements of native files. For legal professionals, this means a missed opportunity to explore the document as it was originally intended to be seen and used. In essence, while alternative formats provide a snapshot, native files offer the complete picture. They preserve the integrity and complexity of the original documents, making them more suitable for thorough legal examination.

Why do we need Metadata for eDiscovery?

Metadata in eDiscovery is a game-changer. It’s like having a behind-the-scenes pass to every document in a legal case. Metadata includes crucial details like authorship, date of creation, modification history, and even the locations where the file was stored. This information can be a goldmine in legal scenarios, offering insights that the document itself might not reveal.

In eDiscovery, metadata can help establish authenticity, track changes, and provide a timeline of events – aspects vital for legal proceedings. For instance, knowing when a document was edited or by whom can shed light on its relevance and credibility. It’s not just about what the document says, but also about its journey and transformations.

Moreover, metadata can sometimes uncover hidden information, like deleted content, which can be pivotal in certain cases. It’s like having a detective’s lens, helping legal professionals see beyond the obvious and dive into the finer details that could sway a case.

In essence, metadata turns native files into a rich source of information, making them indispensable in the world of eDiscovery. It’s this depth of information that makes native files far more than just digital documents – they are key pieces of evidence in the digital age.

Why Native Files are Superior for Legal Proceedings

Native files hold a distinct edge in legal proceedings. Their superiority lies in their authenticity and functionality. Unlike converted files, native files retain their original format, ensuring that the evidence presented is as close to its original state as possible. This authenticity is crucial in legal contexts, where the integrity of evidence can be the deciding factor.

Another key advantage is their interactive nature. Native files often contain elements like hyperlinks, embedded objects, and dynamic content, which are lost in formats like PDFs and TIFFs. This functionality can be essential in understanding the context and intended use of a document.

Furthermore, native files are often easier and more efficient to review and manage in eDiscovery platforms. They allow for more sophisticated searches, including searching within the metadata, which can uncover vital information that might otherwise be missed.

Lastly, the security aspect of native files cannot be overstated. They are less prone to tampering compared to other formats, ensuring the evidence remains untainted and reliable.

In short, native files offer a comprehensive and authentic view of digital evidence, making them indispensable in legal cases. Their ability to convey the full story of a document sets them apart as the preferred choice in eDiscovery.

Looking for software that can handle and process native files for eDiscovery?

GoldFynch’s eDiscovery software offers robust solutions that seamlessly handle native files. Its platform simplifies the process of managing and analyzing these files, empowering legal professionals to leverage the full potential of native files’ authenticity and rich metadata in their legal cases.

Additionally, it’s easy to use and it’s just right for small and mid-sized law firms

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support (our average response time is 30 minutes).
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud

Want to know more about GoldFynch

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