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Wish There Were Better Standards for Production of Native Files? Enough is ENF! – eDiscovery Trends

At the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) annual meeting back in May, I provided updates for several of the EDRM projects, two of which (Metrics and Jobs) have already made significant announcements since the meeting.  Another project, the new Native Files project, has recently released two white papers authored by EDRM member Wade Peterson (of Bowman and Brooke LLP) proposing the creation and adoption of a new ENF (encapsulated native file) standard for the production of native files.

In Can Native File Productions be ENF (Enough)?, Peterson presents the conceptual framework for defining the new standard.  This white paper includes several sections, such as:

  • Background: Describes the historical background regarding traditional document productions as either paper, TIFF or PDF;
  • Executive Overview: Describes the problem (outdated standards defined almost two decades ago) and the purpose of the paper (to present a conceptual framework for defining a new, up-to-date standard that reflects “3-dimensional” native documents);
  • Challenges: A list of several challenges facing litigation support professionals today when producing documents, including these: “Courts and opposing counsel are increasingly demanding ‘native file productions’”, “Native files can be altered (either intentionally or not)” and “Native files cannot be redacted”;
  • Solution: The stated goal to develop a new standard for document productions, which addresses today’s concerns, has an open architecture to meet future requirements and is eventually adopted by courts as the legal standard;
  • Architecture: A detailed description of the architecture “framework for ‘encapsulating’ native files in sort of an envelope metaphor”, with a diagram to illustrate the framework;
  • Enhancements to the Standard: A discussion of possible enhancements that could be incorporated into the open-architecture standard;
  • Overcoming Obstacles: A discussion of potential obstacles as well as processes and tools needed to support this standard;
  • Conclusion: A summary call to construct a new document production standard to replace the standards “defined well over 20 years ago to produce documents which didn’t even exist 20 years ago”;
  • Author: A bio of the author, Wade Peterson.

In This is Just About ENF, Wade illustrates a sample ENF, describes some of its elements, and describes the operation of a basic utility to view ENF files.  It shows a sample XML representation of a sample ENF, describes Attributes, potential Vendor enhancements to ENF files, includes a detailed description of the Native Files element of the ENF, discusses Areas of Concern when dealing with native files and illustrates a very basic viewing tool, which he refers to as “viewENF”.

The two white papers reflect quite a bit of thought and effort to begin the process to create and adopt a new standard for addressing a growing problem – the production of a diverse collection of native files.  It will be interesting how the effort progresses to gain support for this proposed new standard.

So, what do you think?  Does this proposed standard appear to be a promising solution to the native file production issue?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.