As companies become more global, they increasingly need to deal with issues of global e-Discovery. The data they store may be subject to different rules and regulations, making it more difficult to search, review and collect information. Two industry drivers are working to push for increased standardization in this area.

A Call for Standardization

In June 2011, the University of Pittsburgh is expected to host the fourth Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (DESI) workshop. It is intended to provide a platform for discussion of an “open standard governing the elements of a state-of-the-art search for electronic evidence” in the context of civil discovery. Bringing together a variety of e-Discovery stakeholders and practitioners from law, government and industry, DESI IV will attempt to reconcile the need for standards with a consensus for recommendations for further work. A call for submissions is open until April.

More Opportunities for Cooperation

In anticipation of DESI IV, e-Discovery vendor ZL Technologies has released its summary of e-Discovery standardization trends, based on surveys of leading industry experts, thought leaders, and standards-setting bodies. Among the insights highlighted include a growth of standards and research groups, such as DESI and the Sedona Conference; a transition from technology to research and practice; and a more concerted effort in general to standardize functionality, performance measurement and knowledge.

While the issue of standardization within the e-Discovery industry is hardly new, it’s definitely emerging, and industry professionals are increasingly required to demonstrate e-Discovery competence. In addition, the growth and maturation of organizations dedicated to advancing the process of standardizations is bound to create more opportunities for cooperation. According to John Wang, product manager for ZL Technologies,

"Cross-pollination of ideas, data, and capabilities between organizations is providing an extraordinary way to increase standardization, measurability and transparency in e-Discovery, where there is much discussion of technology but little in the way of hard capability analysis and metrics."

Like many industries, e-Discovery is finding that the key to efficient and effective policies is through transparency and collaboration. Like W3C oversees web design usability and accessibility standards or how NIST aims to regulate the design processes and usability of electronic health records, e-Discovery may eventually be governed in much the same way.