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The ghosts and monsters lurking in your electronic documents

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  1. 1. Metadata The Ghosts & Monsters Lurking in Your Electronically Stored Information
  2. 2. Louellen S. Coker <ul><li>Owner of Content Solutions </li></ul><ul><li>MA- Technical Communications </li></ul>Writing Document Design Editing Graphic Design Photography Web Design Public Relations SEO/SEM
  3. 3. What is the origin of metadata? <ul><li>In December 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures were amended to define what constitutes electronically stored information (ESI). The definition is provided in Rule 34(a): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What is metadata anyway? <ul><li>“ Data about data” </li></ul><ul><li>Date, time, author, history, and more that’s hidden in the background of all ESI </li></ul><ul><li>In layman’s terms, it’s similar to your cholesterol levels—sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad </li></ul>
  5. 6. When is metadata good for you? <ul><li>Authentication </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration/Commenting </li></ul><ul><li>Making your information findable via keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Version identification </li></ul><ul><li>Chronological information </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of authors </li></ul><ul><li>Copyrights </li></ul>
  6. 7. When is metadata bad for you? <ul><li>When opposing counsel turns on tracking and happens to discover key points and/or weaknesses in your case </li></ul><ul><li>When you modify your template forms by copying and pasting select from one document to another </li></ul><ul><li>Redactions done inappropriately </li></ul><ul><li>When you maliciously alter/remove metadata from ESI turned over in the discovery process </li></ul>
  7. 8. Can you avoid creating metadata? <ul><li>NO, but you can minimize it </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with a new document each time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change your save preferences to “ Remove personal information from file properties on save. ” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remove identifying information from the document’s property summary (File > Properties > Summary) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn off fast save </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remove the information you don’t want to share </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Can you remove metadata?
  9. 10. Does it work? <ul><li>MOSTLY! </li></ul><ul><li>(they come out at night … mostly!) </li></ul>
  10. 11. Is there a better way? <ul><li>Word processing software companies offer free downloads that remove deeper metadata (you get what you pay for) </li></ul><ul><li>Companies that are devoted to providing you with software “scrubbers” (can be quite costly) </li></ul><ul><li>Saving as a Portable Document Format (pdf) </li></ul>
  11. 12. Now what? <ul><li>Be aware of your duty to your client, opposing counsel and yourself (Do your research!) </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce (or strengthen) protective policies into your workflow </li></ul><ul><li>Train (and retrain) your staff about the important role metadata can/does play in your practice </li></ul>
  12. 13. Questions

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