Understanding Electronic Discovery

Though electronic discovery has become a fact of corporate life, it still seems to be an unknown realm for many seasoned and inexperienced litigators alike. This is because one can easily get lost in the maze of unique and specialized electronic discovery terms, which is constantly expanding. With courts adopting an intolerant attitude towards complacency, enterprises and organizations need to roll up their sleeves and get to know electronic discovery inside and out. To get a proper grasp of electronic discovery, it is essential for enterprises and organizations to familiarize themselves with the unique terms that are used frequently in the electronic discovery scene. The following are some electronic discovery terms that are commonly used.

Electronic Discovery Glossary

· Active Data
Active Data refers to the kind of information that can be easily accessed by the user without having to perform any kind of restoration, modification, or alteration. Active Data includes spreadsheets, email messages, word processing files, electronic calendars, programs and so on.

· Active Record
Those records that are referenced on a regular basis for day-to-day operational requirements are known as Active Records. These records are available in native application format and can be altered.

· Archival Data
Information that cannot be easily accessed by user is referred to as Archival Data. It is preserved by the enterprise or organization for storage and record keeping purposes and therefore is normally found stored on backup tapes or disks.

· Backup
Backup refers to the creation of a copy of the original data as a preventive measure. Backup data is useful when the original data is lost or damaged.

· Coding
Either a human or an automated process, coding is the process of attaching a code or tag to a document based on it’s content. Collecting case relevant information such as the author and the recipient of the document, the dates it was written, sent and received can help with coding as well.

· Computer Forensics
Computer Forensics refers to the use of specialized techniques for the recovery, authentication, and analysis of computer data that has been either deleted or destroyed.

· Data Compilation
·Data Compilation refers to the process of extracting or converting data to a readable format.

· De-Duplication
De-Duplication is the process of identifying or removing duplicate or additional copies from a document collection.

· Distributed Data
·Distributed Data, as the name implies, refers to the data belonging to an organization residing on various devices such as desktops, laptops, disks, CDs, PDAs and so on.

FRCP stands for Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which, as the name implies, are simply litigation laws.

· Hash
Hash is a digital thumbprint that can help indicate whether a document has been modified or not. When changes are made to a document its hash value is automatically changed, thus revealing document modification.

· Legacy Data
Legacy Data refers to data created or stored on hardware or software that is now out of use.

· Litigation Hold
Litigation Hold refers to a communication issued during or in anticipation of an audit, litigation, or investigation that signifies suspension of processing of records.

· Metadata
Metadata is vital information regarding a data set which reveals details that answer questions such as when and by whom it was created, received, modified, and how it was formatted.

· Native Format
Native Format refers to the source document recovered from a source computer or server that has not gone through any processing or conversion.

· Spoilation
Spoilation is simply the destruction of data, which might be useful for ongoing or anticipated litigation, audit, or investigation.

TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format, which is the most widely used file format for storing bit-mapped images.

Enterprises and organizations can no longer afford to have a complacent attitude towards electronic discovery, so studying an electronic discovery glossary is a good way to understand the process more thoroughly.

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