Last month we published a white paper on eDiscovery, which gave a brief overview on the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). Today, we want to dive into more details about the EDRM and how it pertains to imaging and LEADTOOLS in particular.
Information Governance, or Information Management, is arguably the most important part of eDiscovery for the business or client. Litigation is expensive, and good information management helps save costs in two ways. First, it will make sure that the proper information is saved in the first place. Not keeping relevant information is more likely to be penalized than shrugged off and excused. Second, if the information is stored and organized well, all of the following phases will go more smoothly, saving time and thus lowering costs.
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a huge part of this phase, and a major industry for software developers. In reality, most ECM software does more than just Information Management, but it all starts there. Developing a full-blown ECM is a huge undertaking as it will require efficient storage, indexing, searching, and potentially even viewing of information. Therefore a comprehensive imaging SDK such as LEADTOOLS can go a long way in relieving a development team’s expertise and responsibilities so they can focus on other core features like the database and user interface.
Applicable LEADTOOLS Technologies:
This second phase in the EDRM is the first active step in the legal process, as opposed to Information Management, which is more of a proactive step in getting prepared should litigation become necessary. Identification throws a wide net to gather every bit of information that has any potential relevance to the case.
This step is more easily accomplished with good information management since proper search terms and metadata can quickly gather ESI. Identification also applies to documents not yet stored electronically as there are still further opportunities to incorporate them in to the EDRM.
Preservation and Collection
The next two phases are closely related, thus their placement in a column in the EDRM. After documents are identified, they must be preserved. Preservation applies a legal hold on ESI that requires them to not undergo any changes throughout the remainder of the case. This is more challenging than it sounds because some documents might still be in use, or redactions may need to be made in an allowable manner.
Collection is the physical gathering of all ESI by a client into a transferrable medium for sharing with their legal counsel. This may be as simple as copying to a USB stick or external hard drive, but cloud services are quickly becoming the preferred method. Many clients upload their ESI to a third-party storage vendor or even host it directly from within their ECM solution.
Processing, Review, and Analysis
In another column of related phases, Processing, Review, and Analysis are performed collected ESI. A large amount of culling is done here as documents are looked at in closer detail. Now that a large batch of potentially relevant ESI has been collected, it can run through Processing to further simplify the remaining phases. Removing duplicates and normalizing documents into decided-upon format(s) are the major tasks accomplished during Processing.
Review takes a top-level look at the relevance of the ESI. Since the primary goal of Review is to organize the ESI based on general relevance, broad search queries and metadata are the main tools used.
If Review is akin to skimming through chapter headings, reading the back cover, and organizing books by its author and publish date, then Analysis is where one opens the book and read from cover to cover while taking notes in the margins.
By this point, each side has slimmed its collection of ESI down to what it deems relevant to the case. Before they can appear in court, opposing sides must share their ESI with one another and decide which ESI is usable in the case.
As implied by the name, the ESI is finally Presented in court. Though the ESI has gone through so many phases and filters up until this point, there is still some major roles for imaging to play. Software viewers may be called into use here and the many technologies that have preserved the ESI throughout the EDRM are still in effect.