It was in 2006 that the justice system saw the importance of electronic communication and record and accepted it as evidence in courts. Since then courts have also made it mandatory for all companies to preserve their electronic documents, emails, IMs and even voicemails, in order to present them in court as evidence. Failure to present this data may result in severe actions.

During pre-trial phase, each party demands documents and other evidences, which can help during the litigation. If you have a good document retention policy in place, you shouldn’t have a problem. You can present the “documents” asked for. So what are these documents and what is document retention policy?

To get a better idea of all the documents needed for e-discovery let’s take example of Vioxx Products Liability Litigation in which the court ordered all parties to present relevant evidence including:

– Writings, records, files, correspondence, reports, memoranda, calendars, diaries, minutes, electronic messages, voice mail, e-mail, telephone message records or logs, computer and network activity logs, hard drives, backup data, removable computer storage media such as tapes, discs and cards, printouts, document image files, Web pages, databases, spreadsheets, software, books, ledgers, journals, orders, invoices, bills, vouchers, checks statements, worksheets, summaries, compilations, computations, charts, diagrams, graphic presentations, drawings, films, charts, digital or chemical process photographs, video, phonographic, tape or digital recordings or transcripts thereof, drafts, jottings and notes, studies or drafts of studies or other similar such material

In context of e-discovery, document also includes all the document versions and properties associated with documents, files and emails. So what are these properties? Some of the associated properties are:

• Active data
• Archives
• Backup and deleted data
• Distributed and migrated data
• Metadata and tags
• Off-line data

There are many tools that can help in e-discovery and document management software is touted to be one of these tools. This software can help preserve electronic data such as documents, document versions and emails and all the properties associated with them.
However, be careful in choosing the software as some of them don’t provide certain e-discovery tools such as back-up and restore, version control and document profiling. Docsvault has all the above-mentioned tools and unlike some of the expensive e-discovery software, it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.