Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Do You Know these 17 E-Discovery Terms?

A knowledge of the basic vocabulary of e-discovery is essential for your litigation practice.

And not just you. It’s important that your entire team have a good working knowledge of e-discovery terms as well. They should know, for instance, the difference between active data and archival data, and exactly what is meant by the phrase “computer forensics.” 

“Though electronic discovery has become a fact of legal and corporate life, it still seems to be an unknown realm for many litigators,” according to this blogpost on the My Paralegal Place website. “This is because one can easily get lost in the maze of unique and specialized electronic discovery terms, which is constantly expanding.” 

Below are 17 key definitions from the blogpost Understanding Electronic Discovery Terms.

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Electronic Discovery Glossary

  1. Active Data. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Creation of a copy of the original data as a preventive measure. Backup data is useful when the original data is lost or damaged.
  5. Attaching a code or tag to a document based on its content. Either manually or automated. 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.
  6. Computer Forensics. The use of specialized techniques for the recovery, authentication, and analysis of computer data that has been either deleted or destroyed.
  7. Data Compilation. The process of extracting or converting data to a readable format.
  8. De-Duplication. The process of identifying or removing duplicate or additional copies from a document collection.
  9. Distributed Data. The data belonging to an organization residing on various devices such as desktops, laptops, disks, CDs, PDAs and so on.
  10. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  11. 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.
  12. Legacy Data. Data created or stored on hardware or software that is now out of use.
  13. Litigation Hold. A communication issued during or in anticipation of an audit, litigation, or investigation that signifies suspension of processing of records.
  14. 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.
  15. Native Format. The source document recovered from a source computer or server that has not gone through any processing or conversion.
  16. The destruction of data that might be useful for ongoing or anticipated litigation, audit, or investigation.
  17. TIFF. Tagged Image File Format, which is the most widely used file format for storing bit-mapped images.

Source: My Paralegal Place


Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which offers confidential, one-on-one consultations to sharpen your firm’s mission and design an excellent Law Life. Contact or 919-619-2441.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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