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Top E-Discovery Standardization Trends for 2011 and Beyond

Published by: CMS Wire

ZL Announces Its Top eDiscovery Standardization Trends for 2011 and Beyond

SAN JOSE, CA – Jan. 24, 2011 ZL Technologies, Inc., the leader in archiving and eDiscovery software for large organizations, today announced its top eDiscovery standardization trends for 2011 and beyond. The list is based on ZL’s participation on and surveys of leading industry experts, thought leaders, and standards-setting bodies. Based on these connections, ZL believes that eDiscovery software capabilities will become easier to measure and compare as vendor-neutral organizations establish common standards for capabilities and expertise. As in other technology fields, as eDiscovery technology matures, widely disparate solutions will tend to coalesce around sets of identified customer requirements. Individual tests in private proof-of-concept evaluations will be augmented with public tests using established benchmarks. These areas are being actively developed in the eDiscovery space and those interested in this area are well advised to keep up to date on the standardization processes. The Top Electronic Discovery Standardization Trends for 2011 include:
  1. Growth of Standards and Research Bodies: As an industry matures, the increase in standardization is often reflected in the number and depth of organizations in that field. In eDiscovery, there are a growing number of organizations that are contributing to the standardization of technology and knowledge. These organizations are comprised established organizations including The Sedona Conference, Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) Legal Track, Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (DESI) Workshop and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) as well as newer knowledge certification organizations, including the Association for Certified Electronic Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) and the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP). The growing number of organizations enables opportunities to both establish standards in new areas and collaborate to leverage work done by others. Of note, the DESI IV Workshop in 2011 will focus specifically on the standardization of eDiscovery search. To participate in DESI, please
  2. Moving Technology from Research to Practice The TREC Legal Track project has been on the forefront of legal technology research since its inception in 2006 and its findings are often cited by legal experts. In 2010, TREC Legal Track moved its research to the EDRM Enron Data Set 2.0. By combining a publicly available, unencumbered data set with published relevancy rankings, TREC’s valuable knowledge that can now be more easily used by organizations to test their own review technology with the same rigor as used in TREC research.
  3. Interoperability Standardization As organizations seek to leverage their investment in software tools, communications between solutions becomes more important. There are several standards that have been established and are being worked on including EDRM XML, EDRM Search XSD, and OASIS Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS). Establishment and use of standards will drive the industry forward as organizations look to make longer term use of their investments.
  4. Functionality Standardization,br> Archiving, eDiscovery, and records management capabilities are often tested by organizations; however, use of custom tests and proprietary data often results in one-off evaluations. Standardized tests and data sets will allow organizations to leverage their own past tests and third-party experiences when conducting their own evaluations. In addition to the DESI IV effort, EDRM is also running a complementary Testing Project to “create and publish peer reviewed testing protocols and create overall testing principals for the unique requirements of the discovery lifecycle.”
  5. Performance Measurement Standardization Some initial efforts towards performance standards have been established and published; however, to date they are private efforts that cannot be independently verified or reproduced. The EDRM Testing Project is also targeting performance standardization of various aspects of the EDRM process, and work in conjunction with the EDRM Data Set, Metrics, and Search projects.
  6. Knowledge Standardization eDiscovery covers a wide variety of technologies that are related to, but not fully addressed by, traditional certification bodies in the areas of computer forensics, information security or system administration. The Association for Certified Electronic Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) and the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) are offering initial certification programs to provide a common body of knowledge for industry professionals. Organizations such as these will help provide a common baseline of knowledge for industry practitioners to complement to field experience.
Much of the process and technology standardization in the market can be traced back to the initial EDRM meeting in 2005 which produced the seminal EDRM diagram as a means to visually understand the multi-stage eDiscovery process from different perspectives. Since then, the standards body has grown from one original project to eight working groups with participation from over 170 organizations. “As one of the leading standards organizations for eDiscovery, EDRM is at the forefront of enabling interoperability and measurability for eDiscovery software and processes. In 2010 we established and updated several standards including the EDRM Metrics Codes, EDRM Production Standard, EDRM XML, and EDRM Search XSL,” said George Socha, co-founder of EDRM and President of Socha Consulting. “EDRM also enables capability testing through the EDRM Data Set Project and the EDRM Testing Pilot Project which we launched in 2010. For the coming year, we look forward to extending our relationship with other standards organizations as well as to moving our own standards projects along.” Signaling the increasing maturity and importance of the eDiscovery industry, technical standards are being augmented with formal education and training programs being established to create a common body of knowledge for eDiscovery practitioners. William Hamilton, partner at Quarles & Brady and adjunct professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, said, “The eDiscovery industry is quickly moving from ‘best practices’ to ‘established practices.’ The maturation of the industry will drive forward the now lagging attorney eDiscovery competence. For too long, an astonishingly large number of practicing litigators have believed that eDiscovery is composed of ill-defined exotic practices guided by a loose set of amorphic, uncongealed disparate opinions suited only for mega-cases. The increased standardization in the industry will confine this attitude to history’s dust bin and push even the most benighted litigators to demonstrate eDiscovery competence.” The maturation of standardization organizations will accelerate the overall process of standardization by creating more opportunities for cooperation. “Cross-pollination of ideas, data, and capabilities between organizations is providing an extraordinary way to increase standardization, measurability and transparency in eDiscovery where there is much discussion of technology but little in the way of hard capability analysis and metrics. The partnership between EDRM and TREC Legal Track is an example of this cooperation where TREC Legal Track’s leading edge research is being made more accessible to the broader eDiscovery vendor community through use of the standard EDRM Data Sets,” said John Wang, product manager for ZL Technologies, project chair for EDRM, and participant leader for TREC Legal Track. “With ongoing cooperation in standardization and testing, there will be an increase in the rate that obscurity gives way to transparency as common, familiar processes are measured and research is more readily evaluated to drive innovation.”