Whether using a services provider or a software solution, corporations and their law firms alike need to maintain control over all of the documents in any case. Reporting is an important control that can be exercised throughout the processing timeline. Information about processing can be extremely valuable in establishing a downstream review strategy. Valuable questions that can be asked of the service provider include:
- What reports and/or information are available from the system in place?
- How frequently are these reports produced?
- Do the corporation or law firm have immediate access to important project information?
Reports will allow both the consumer and the provider with the information necessary to effectively communicate and manage the project.
Media Analysis Reports
Media analysis reporting typically includes information regarding the number of files contained on a given piece of media, the type of files contained on the media, and the size of the data contained on the media. In some cases, directory lists of the file names are available. When tapes are the media type, these reports are called catalogues and contain similar information as well as information about when and how the tape backup was completed. This information is useful because it can be used to get a handle on how much data is available to be processed. Also, media analysis reporting has been used to determine whether it is necessary to restore or process particular pieces of media based on the information provided regarding what information was contained. As discussed previously, these reports help guide both cost and delivery schedule estimations.
Cases revolve around people, so the custodian list is critical. Being able to associate the data with particular custodians is also critical. Custodian level reports provide data volume by custodian. In addition, percentage and/or volume of data culled by deduplication, searching or other culling technique(s) is available. This information can be used to ensure all data for a particular custodian has been delivered as the legal team prepares for depositions.
Chain of Custody Reports
Chain of custody reporting can be made available on two levels: reports regarding physical media as well as reports on individual files. Both physical media and file level reporting are necessary to ensure a full chain of custody. On the physical level, chain of custody reporting begins at the time of the information is collected. For the purposes of processing, that chain of custody on the physical media must be continued as the media is received and continue until it is returned.
Once the information on the media has been uploaded to the computer network, file level reporting begins. By using an automated process, each file is able to be tracked throughout the process and can be reported on as necessary. There are reports that are commonly provided at particular points in the process.
Data Culling Reports
Data culling is the process of segregating files in a collection based on specific criteria, prior to processing those files. When files are not being delivered back to the client, reports allow the client a means to ensure that all data has been handled properly. To that end, deduplication reports include the name of the file, the location path of the file, as well as information regarding other instances of the same file. Depending on the size of the data collection, these reports can contain millions of entries, so they may be best provided in a database format.
Search and Filter reports contain similar file-level information as name and path location, and also contain specific information regarding the reason the file was segregated, as well information as to which search term or piece of metadata information the file was responsive. Search reports can also contain analysis regarding the search terms, the number of files responsive to the search, and the number of times those terms were contained within the files. Search reports can be used to validate search term choices. In some cases, these reports have been used to renegotiate search terms when the agreed-upon terms did not yield an expected result; either too many or too few files were responsive to particular terms. These reports can be used to substantiate that each and every file contained in the source media has been handled appropriately.
Status reports provide information regarding how quickly data collections are progressing through the automated process. These reports can be categorized in a number of ways; by piece of media or by custodian are the most common. Status reports are a great way to track the progress of the dataset being processed, so if there are any anomalies that arise that require a change be made to the delivery schedule, all the appropriate parties are informed as soon as possible. Status reports can also be used to refine cost estimates as more information regarding the number of files and/or the number of images resulting from the files can be tracked in real time.
Since source data is unstructured data, not all files are able to be rendered to image or viewed as a native file. Also, some files contain passwords that are unable to be overcome. These files are considered exception files. Exception reports provide file name and location information regarding these files, as well as the reason these files could not be delivered back to the client, such as an uncrackable password. These reports are another tool used to ensure that each and every file has been processed and managed.
When using an automated process to manage your electronic data collections, there are many ways to report on the data. Reports provide information to control the process. As litigation changes and new pieces of information become available, custom reports on the data may be necessary to validate or refute different theories. Working closely with the service providers or the people processing the data in-house, the legal team can slice the data in a variety of ways. As technologies develop and become more sophisticated, reports become an increasingly important tool to the litigation team.
Source: EDRM: (edrm.net)