How Searchable PDF Saves the Day in e-Discovery

By Peter Duff | August 24, 2010

1 minute read

Not having your documents easily searchable can be a real headache; it can even anger a judge in a criminal case (not a good idea!)  – just ask Nortel.

According to news sources earlier this year, the telecom company would not spend the money needed to improve the search aspect of its existing document management software used to organize some 23 million pages for e-discovery in a criminal prosecution of Nortel execs charged with fudging the books.

The defence for Nortel has argued that ‘fair trial’ rights were affected since there was no way to conduct effective database searches of the material. The judge didn’t buy it, saying, “Disclosure must be meaningful… in the electronic age, it must be accessible.” (The process got so crazy that the RCMP spent two years trying to correct the search problem, with no success.)

Too bad Nortel wasn’t using Adlib PDF conversion, publishing and recognition software; they could have quickly handed the judge fully searchable PDFs made from any document format. Some other high-profile legal teams are using Adlib solutions.

For example, the recovery corporation formed to deal with the most famous bankruptcy in American history uses Adlib Express for the streamlining of more than 2 million documents a day submitted for e-discovery in dozens of lawsuits. At the height of the litigation, the document processing needs were powered by some 160 servers set up in parallel to convert all the documents to searchable PDFs, creating the largest Oracle database instance in the world at the time to store the data.

As bad as the reality is for this failed corporation, this example demonstrates the vital role that automated document transformation plays in today’s world of (potentially crippling) mountains of raw information in the face of tight timelines and high compliancy demands.

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