Electronic Discovery – E-mail, E-Docs, Loose Docs and Non-E-mail

When working with electronic discovery, there are a few terms that may seem very similar in name that we use in Litigation Support to describe electronic documents. They may also appear to overlap with each other because they actually do overlap in some ways. As I've mentioned before, in order to keep conversations about the data as clear as possible, we assign simple names to things.

What is E-mail?

E-mail can refer to any type of e-mail file or “e-mail container”. For instance, an e-mail can be a single file such as an Outlook MSG file. E-mail can also be an Outlook PST file or an Outlook OST file or an Outlook Exchange Mailbox Store. E-mail could be a Lotus Notes NSF file.

What are E-Docs (also called eDocs)?

The term eDocs typically refers to documents that are attached to an e-mail such as Microsoft Word files or Microsoft Excel files or Microsoft PowerPoint files or Adobe PDF files. However, eDocs could also be any of those same types of files that are not attached to an e-mail. For instance, a folder on a hard drive or server that contains these types of files. The term eDocs refers to many file types for many different applications, but the point is they are electronic files that could fall into the category of e-mail or loose docs and for the most part, they are documents created by end-users.

What are Loose Docs?

Loose Docs is a term that more specifically refers to eDocs that were stored within a folder structure on a hard drive or server. For example, the documents found in the My Documents folder on a computer or on a shared drive on a server would be considered loose docs. They specifically are not e-mail attachments and they are most often documents created by end-users.

What is Non-E-mail?

The term Non-E-mail spans across any and all electronic data that was collected with the exception of e-mail. Non-E-mail could include databases, voice mail, cell phone data, instant messages, database exports or any other type of data. Sometimes when we are discussing electronic discovery, we need to throw everything that is not e-mail into one bucket that we aptly call Non-E-mail.


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