Coming to “Terms” with Speaking Technical in eDiscovery

In our last two posts, we discussed Speaking Legal in eDiscovery with seven litigation stages and seven eDiscovery rules to know. Now it’s time to come to “terms” with Speaking Technical in eDiscovery, starting by learning the meaning of some very important terms!  Though you don’t have to become highly technical, a working knowledge of eDiscovery technical terms can make a difference throughout the lifecycle of your matters.

The Sedona Conference® Glossary of Terms

For those who don’t know, the Sedona Conference is a 501(c)(3) research and educational institute dedicated to the advanced study of law, with a mission to move the law forward in a reasoned and just way. The Sedona Conference Glossary, eDiscovery & Digital Information Management was first published in 2005 and the most recent iteration (Fifth Edition) was published in February 2020.

The Glossary is published as a tool to assist in the understanding and discussion of electronic discovery and electronic information management issues, allowing for more effective communication between user and provider, enhanced by the ability to compare “apples to apples” when selecting a provider. The Fifth Edition of the Glossary (which can be downloaded here) is comprised of almost 130 pages containing nearly 800 definitions of important technical terms to know in eDiscovery – it’s a very comprehensive resource for learning and referencing important eDiscovery and technology terms!

Understanding Important Terms in the Glossary

Of course, learning 800 term definitions is a challenge, especially when they are organized alphabetically instead of by technology concept. So, we’ve identified 63 important terms to know (and 23 related terms), organized by concepts, along with two terms that are commonly confused. Here are some great terms to start with in learning to Speak Technical in eDiscovery, along with the page number (from the PDF file, not the page number referenced in the document itself, to make them easier to find):

Data and Networking Terms:

  • Analog-7
  • Binary-13
  • Cloud Computing-18
  • Cluster (File)-19
  • Cylinder-26
  • Encoding-44
  • File Allocation Table (FAT)-48
  • Firewall-50
  • Fragmentation-52
  • Magnetic/Optical Storage Media-73
  • Master File Table-75
  • Near-Line Data Storage-81
  • New Technology File System (NTFS)-82
  • Platter-91
  • Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID)-102
  • Sector-107
  • Storage Area Network (SAN)-114

Forensics Related Terms:

  • Bit Stream Backup-14 (aka Forensic Copy and Mirror Image)
  • Forensics-51
  • ISO 27050-66
  • Latent Data-69
  • Page File/Paging File-87
  • Partition Waste Space-87
  • Slack Space-110
  • Swap File-115
  • Unallocated Clusters-122

Processing Terms:

  • Bates Number-12
  • Container File-23
  • De-Duplication (de-dupe)-32 (also read related terms Case De-Duplication-16 (aka Cross-Custodian De-Duplication and Horizontal De-Duplication), Custodian De-Duplication-25 (aka Vertical De-Duplication))
  • De-NIST-34
  • Document (or Document Family)-38 (also read related terms Attachment-9 and Message Unit-76)
  • Email Threading-44
  • Hash Coding-56 (also read Message-Digest Algorithm 5 (MD5)-76 and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1 and SHA-2)-107)
  • Load File-71
  • Metadata-76 (also read System-Generated Metadata-116 and User-Created Metadata-124)
  • Native Format-79
  • Near Duplicates-81
  • NIST List-82
  • Normalization-82
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)-85
  • Processing Exception-95 (aka Exception Files)
  • Unitization—Physical and Logical-123

Searching and AI/Machine Learning Terms:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)-9
  • Boolean Search-15
  • Concept Search-22
  • Confidence Interval-22 (aka Margin of Error)
  • Confidence Level-22
  • Contextual Search-23
  • Data Categorization-26
  • Dynamic Search-41
  • Elusion-43
  • F-Measure-51 (also read Precision-93 and Recall-99)
  • Fuzzy Search-53
  • Latent Semantic Indexing and Analysis-69
  • Machine Learning-73
  • Natural Language Search-80
  • Null Set Testing-83 (also read False Negative-47 and False Positive-47)
  • Pattern Recognition-88
  • Proximity Search-96
  • Sampling-106 (also read Random Sampling-99, Statistical Sampling-113 and Stratified Sampling-114)
  • Sentiment Analysis-108
  • Stop Words-113
  • Technology-Assisted Review-118 (aka Predictive Coding/Ranking)

Two Terms That Easily Get Confused:

  • Early Case Assessment (ECA)-41
  • Early Data Assessment (EDA)-41


When it comes to Speaking Technical in eDiscovery, a great place to start is knowing the terms and understanding what they mean! The Sedona Conference Glossary of Terms is a great resource to begin your quest for Speaking Technical in eDiscovery!

In the next post, we’ll continue our discussion of Speaking Technical in eDiscovery with a discussion of the role of digital forensics in eDiscovery!

For more information about Cobra’s eDiscovery services (including project management services), click here.

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