Litigation Support glossary of Terms

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Learn How to Talk the Talk

Covering litigation support from A to Z.

Designed to help you come up to speed quickly on key terms and concepts, this glossary is your source for the words and phrases most commonly used in the fields of litigation support and document management.


A record or file associated with another record for the purpose of retention, transfer, processing, review, production and routine records management. There may be multiple attachments associated with a single “parent” or “master” record.

Bates Number

A sequential numbering system used to track documents and images as they are scanned or processed in production data sets to assign each page a unique production number.

Beginning Document Number or BegDoc#

The Bates Number is that which identifies the first page of a document or record.

Chain of Custody: Legal

Documentation and testimony regarding the possession, movement, handling and location of evidence from the time obtained to the time presented in court.

Chain of Custody: Management

Iron Mountain process that continually tracks and monitors the movement of media from the customer site to our vehicles, facilities, vaults, data repositories and back to the customer


Systematic arrangement of information in groups or categories according to established criteria.


Process of creating summary or keyword data from a document to create a fast-search index or database of documents for use in litigation.

Objective coding is an index of summary data from a document such as dates, author, recipient and title.

Subjective coding is document indexing of subjective data such as gleaned from templates, or from a subjective reading by someone familiar with the topic with more reliability regarding significance.

Bibliographic coding refers to coding document title/subject, document date and estimated date fields.

Comma Separated Value(CSV)

A record layout that separates data fields/values with a comma and typically encloses data in quotation marks.


Refers to changing information from one media format into another e.g. scanning a print document to create digital file.

Cull (verb)

To remove a document from the collection in process of review or produced as evidence.


Person having control of a network, computer or specific electronic files or owner of documents.

Data Extraction

The process of retrieving data from documents (hard copy or electronic). The process may be manual or electronic.


An integrated collection of logically related records or files consolidated into a common pool that provides data for multiple uses. Classification involves content type, for example: bibliographic, full-text, numeric or image.

Data Format

Organization of data according to structure or appearance of, for instance, a file, fields in a database record, a cell in a spreadsheet or the text in a word-processed document.

De-Duplication (De-Duping)

Refers to the elimination of redundant data. Duplicate data is deleted leaving one copy to be stored. De-duplication reduces storage capacity as only unique data is stored.


Process to straighten tilted images that are skewed when scanned or faxed. De-skewing is an image enhancement that can improve Optical Character Recognition (OCR) accuracy


Identifying, locating, securing and producing information and materials to obtain evidence for use in the legal process. Review of materials that may be relevant to issues at hand and/or may need to be disclosed to other parties. Evaluating evidence to prove or disprove facts, theories or allegations.


A collection of pages or files produced manually or by a software application, constituting a logical single communication of information, but more than a single stand-alone record. Examples include a fax cover (Parent), faxed letter (Child) and an attachment (Child).

Doc ID

A unique numeric identifier used by Iron Mountain’s Stratify Legal Discovery Service (and synonymous with a database key) within each project. Doc IDs are assigned incrementally to documents in each processed batch after the documents are hashed and clustered.

Document Type or Doc Type

Typical field used in bibliographical coding. Examples include: correspondence, memo, report and article.

Electronically Stored Information (ESI)

ESI refers to any information created, stored or best utilized on a computer, and can include electronic documents, emails, images, computer and network activity logs, cache and temporary Internet files, digital recordings, electronic voice mails, spreadsheets, telephone logs or any other information that can be stored in electronic format.

Electronic Discovery (eDiscovery)

Process of collecting, preparing, reviewing and producing ESI in the context of the legal process.

Electronic Document Management

For paper documents, involves imaging, indexing/coding and archiving of scanned documents/images, and thereafter electronically managing them across the life cycle.

End Document number or end Doc#

The last single page image of a document.

Field (or Data Field)

A place where data is stored. Commonly used to refer to a column in a database or a field in a data entry form or web form.

Full-Text Search

Ability to search ESI for specific words, numbers and/or combinations or patterns thereof.

Index/Coding Fields

Database fields used to categorize and organize documents. Often user-defined fields used for searches.

Legal Hold

Communication issued due to current or anticipated litigation, audit, investigation, etc. that suspends the normal disposition or processing of data/records.

Load File

The file used to import images and/or coding into a database. Load files are usually ASCII text files that contain information describing the location of images on a CD/DVD or hard drive and coding information extracted from eDiscovery or coded manually.

Logical Document Determination

(Also referred to as LDD or Logical Unitization) is a method of determining document boundaries using documented, practical methods that promote consistency and defensible practices. Often paper documents are stapled together without consideration of the document boundaries.


Handwritten notes in the margin of the page in documents.


The “data about data,” of any sort in any media. Every file in a file store has associated metadata that records: file creation date, last modified date and date the file (or metadata itself) was last accessed.

Native Format

The associated file structure of electronic documents defined by the original creating application.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

A technology that translates and converts printed matter on an image into a format that a computer can manipulate (ASCII codes, for example) rendering that text searchable.

Optical Word Recognition

This advanced technology, based on identifying words rather than characters, delivers a higher level of accuracy than OCR.


A single image of the equivalent of “one piece of paper.” One or several pages make up a “Document.”

PDF (Portable Document Format)

File format developed by Adobe®. PDF captures formatting information from a range of applications and allows viewing/printing as presented in their original application. PDF may be text-searchable or image-only.

Privilege Data Set

Universe of documents identified as responsive and/or relevant, but withheld from production on the grounds of privilege.

Production Number

A sequential number assigned to every page of a production for tracking and reference purposes. Often used in conjunction with a suffix or prefix to identify the producing party, the litigation or other relevant information. See also Bates Number.

Quality Control (QC)

Operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfil requirements for quality. This includes image quality (resolution, skew, speckle, legibility, etc.), and data quality (correct information in appropriate fields, validated data for dates, addresses, names/issues lists, etc.).

Record Custodian

Individual responsible for the physical storage and protection of records throughout their retention period. For electronic records, custodianship may not be a direct part of the records management function in all organizations.


Salvaging data from damaged, failed, corrupted or inaccessible storage media such as hard drives, storage tapes, CDs, etc.


Portion of an image/document intentionally concealed to prevent disclosure of specific portions. Often done to conceal/protect privileged portions or avoid production of irrelevant portions that may contain confidential, sensitive or proprietary information.

Retention Schedule

Comprehensive list that defines how long any given number of records series must be retained and requirements for disposition.


Culling process to produce a dataset of potentially responsive documents requiring evaluation for final selection of relevant and/or responsive docs and assertion of privilege, confidentiality, etc.

Service-Level Agreement

Contract that defines the technical support or business parameters that a service provider or outsourcing firm will provide its clients. Measures for performance and consequences for failure are outlined.


Deliberate or inadvertent modification, loss or destruction of evidence by a party on notice of litigation but has failed to take appropriate steps to preserve potentially relevant data.


Assembly of individually scanned pages into documents through physical unitization; uses staples, paper clips and folders to determine pages that belong together as documents. Logical unitization is human review of each page in an image collection using logical cues (page numbers, report titles) to determine pages that belong together as documents.


The automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which ESI or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action according to a set of procedural rules.

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