eDiscovery Daily Blog

A Marriage Made for eDiscovery: EDRM and ARMA


EDRM has been busy lately, with a new Model Code of Conduct drafted recently and now this announcement.

As discussed in our recent twopart series on eDiscovery standards, there is a growing movement to develop industry standards, frameworks, or reference models to help manage eDiscovery. This week, there was perhaps a major move in that direction as the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) and ARMA International announced that they would be collaborating on information governance guidelines for eDiscovery.  

According to EDRM, the partnership began at LegalTech in New York back in February when ARMA reached out to suggest working together. The plan is still vague, but together these two groups hope to provide a framework for records management in the eDiscovery context. “I don’t know where this partnership will take us, but it’s just silly that two groups with similar goals and ideals would work in isolation,” says George Socha, an eDiscovery consultant and one of the co-founders and co-managers of EDRM.

Two years ago, EDRM started its Information Governance Reference Model, providing a conceptual framework for information governance. Today, the Information Governance Reference Model is primarily a rough guide for developing information management programs. But EDRM, which is a relatively small volunteer effort, hopes that the weight of ARMA, which boasts 11,000 members, will help flesh out the framework.

By contrast, the Association for Information Management Professionals (ARMA) International is an established and relatively large and influential group claiming 11,000 members in 30 countries. ARMA international has developed its Generally Accepted Record-keeping Principles, or GARP, framework to provide best practices for information management. The framework is designed generally for records-keeping management, but has been designed to account for the demands of eDiscovery. Though ARMA’s core constituency is records managers, the demands of litigation have been driving many of the group’s recent initiatives. 

Interestingly, as we’ve noted previously, ARMA has previously described the EDRM effort as falling “short of describing standards or best practices that can be applied to the complex issues surrounding the creation, management, and governance of electronic information.” However, the organization clearly believes EDRM’s network of experienced litigators and IT professionals will help it address the demands of eDiscovery.

If broad industry standards efforts are going to be developed, it will take more such efforts like this that cut across industries and bring expertise from different areas into alignment. Socha believes that though the EDRM and ARMA have traditionally served different groups, they have both realized that they are concerned with many of the same problems.  “A lot of the root causes of eDiscovery issues come from a failure to have your electronic house in order,” says Socha. “What the Information Governance Reference Model and GARP are about is addressing that issue.”

So, what do you think? Does the EDRM need ARMA? Or vice versa? Please share any comments you might have or if you'd like to know more about a particular topic.