ESI Services for Document Search and eDiscovery
By: George Nicholas and Matthew Darby
Whether your investigatory needs to search electronically stored information (“ESI”) involve eDiscovery, compliance or management oversight a few general questions come to mind. Are the files in our set of electronic documents in a searchable format and if not how will we convert them into a searchable format? How will we deal with transcribing and searching video and audio files? How will the documents and media be indexed, what are the query options and who is trained to perform them? How will we extract the relevant information from query matches and access it in a user-friendly format? Is there a software platform that does all of this, how expensive is it and will we need the software regularly or occasionally? Yes, there is software to do some of the above and some of it is expensive and some businesses need it regularly and some occasionally. Is there an alternative? Yes. Apian Systems provides the ESI service for document search, extraction, analysis and eDiscovery discussed in this article.
Much of the software that customers license or subscribe to is comprised of “open source” components that are stitched together. Apian Systems’ utilizes various open source software tools to provide clients with an ESI search, extraction and analysis service. Ultimately, clients just want the end result of the service – to search and find what they are seeking and have the relevant information displayed in a useable format. And clients only pay for the ESI service when they need it. They don’t have to purchase monthly subscriptions or annual licenses for specialty software or train employees to use it.
We utilize an open source tool to evaluate files and, if needed, convert files into a searchable format. Another software tool is used to index files to allow for very fast searching of a vast number of documents and a large volume of data. Video and audio files are transcribed and made searchable utilizing a highly accurate machine transcription system. Next, we work with our clients to formulate the queries necessary to find the information sought. The information matches from queries are automatically extracted with surrounding sentences for context and placed in a spreadsheet matrix. The matrix may also contain other categories of extracted information requested by the client (e.g. titles, dates, etc.) and a link back to the document containing the query match for further review.
As an additional service Apian Systems will analyze each query match and provide a summary in the matrix of the relevance of the match in view of the purpose of the query (e.g. is this match the “smoking gun” document or not of much help). Finally, for the client that needs the use of our software tools and service regularly and brought “in-house” Apian Systems will provide the extended service of a full-time dedicated contractor.
George Nicholas is the Chief Executive Officer of Apian Systems and a lawyer.
Matthew Darby is the Chief Technology Officer of Apian Systems and a computer scientist.
DISCLAIMER. Apian Systems is not engaged in the practice of law and does not provide legal services or legal advice to any person or entity. All of our litigation related support, consulting or eDiscovery services are provided either for law firms or counsel within corporate legal departments and these particular services are provided for these clients at their request and direction. All discussions of laws, statutes or rules on this website or in our blog posts are provided for general educational purposes only and shall not constitute legal advice for any particular person or entity.