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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don't Be Surprised By E-Discovery

E-discovery requires government agencies to know what electronic
documents they have and be able to find them quickly if someone requests
them for a court case. That's no small task considering the enormous
volume of electronic documents created by the typical organization.
Email messages and attachments represent a good chunk of the problem,
but word-processing documents, PDFs and other digital information also
contribute to the management challenge. The amended Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, which has heightened awareness of e-discovery, cover
a wide range of data types under the umbrella of electronically stored
information... E-discovery experts recommend establishing a taxonomy
and creating metadata tags for electronic information. The taxonomy
provides a general way to classify information, and metadata provides
detail on information to make searches more fruitful. The Electronic
Discovery Reference Model project devised an Extensible Markup Language
(XML) schema to consistently describe electronic information. [Penny]
Quirk said EDRM created the XML e-discovery standard to ensure that
consistent and common nomenclature is used for business records during
the e-discovery process; the project is scheduled for completion in this
year's second quarter... Electronic documents culled in e-discovery and
used in litigation demand special treatment: documents compiled in
significant cases at the Justice Department are kept as permanent records
of the government. Records in garden-variety cases in federal court are
considered temporary, but they might still be housed for a number of
years at one of the National Archive's Federal Records Centers. The
National Archives tapped Lockheed Martin in 2005 to build an Electronic
Records Archives system that will help the agency ingest electronic
records flagged for permanent storage; the aim now is to accept
government reco ds in any format, encapsulating each electronic document
in an XML metadata wrapper.


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