eDiscovery and the PDF
By Jeff Brand | June 14, 2012
eDiscovery applications and search technology enable organizations to extract relevant information from the ever-increasing volumes of data spanning across an enterprise. This information would typically be found in documents of disparate formats, emails, images and more located throughout the enterprise in an unstructured manner on DM, KM, ECM applications, on network drives, personal computers, tablets, smartphones and PDAs.
This can be time consuming and costly, but did you know there are is a file format that can help increase the effectiveness of your eDiscovery solution while also reducing the time costs associated with uncovering the relevant information? Yes, it’s the PDF! Why?
Well, some key points to accelerating eDiscovery is to be proactive in the management of information and records so that they are easily and accurately uncovered by your eDiscovery tools. Meaning:
- Some companies invest heavily in enterprise and eDiscovery search tools. Ensuring your records and information are stored in a document format easily searchable like a PDF is essential to optimizing your investment in search. Scanned documents, images like TIFF’s and other legacy formats are not easily searchable and if not classified correctly, would be missed without manual intervention.
- Does the tool maintain an appropriate chain of evidence? A chain of evidence refers to being able to prove that the documents are unchanged from their time of collection. PDFs were designed secure the content.
- High fidelity PDF’s (Perfect PDF Renditions) are important for preserving valuable detailed evidence whether its detail pulled from photo evidence or where the accuracy of written data i.e. “6”s get confused with “0”s because of bad fidelity. This renders the information useless.
- If you are using eDiscovery in case management, PDF’s are the perfect format for assembling (merging) relevant documents into a single case file containing the right classification and metadata.
- Make sure the file format allows for easy annotation. Often, most of the information within the documents in a collection will be irrelevant or redundant. The people reviewing the documents need an easy way mark them up without modifying the original content then classify them either by name or metadata. Since the PDF secures the original content right down to the font and image, yet are easily marked up with annotation tools, the PDF works really well here.
Therefore, to provide a better system to handle potential e-discovery requests, consider a records management strategy to leverage the benefits of the PDF within your document lifecycle so your content is better prepared to support your eDiscovery needs. The costs and management of eDiscovery actions will be lowered and managed more effectively with increased use of the PDF!
About the Author