In a recent Law Technology News article there was a good discussion that captured my attention. E-Discovery Technical Standard at Crossroads lays outs some interesting arguments about why the call for standardization in eDiscovery is a bit like putting the cart before the horse.

Let’s begin with a definition of the standards that are being called for. EDRM-XML was called for by the EDRM organization to standardize the sharing of data especially as related to load data.  The ideal is that building on open source code provides greater accessibility.  In an ideal world everyone would take this to heart and embrace this model and as the industry grew everyone would be on the same page.

Now I’m not a Pollyanna but I have my doubts as to whether or not even she would buy into that ideal.  The adoption rates and availability of the EDRM-XML from eDiscovery technology companies is low.  EDRM continues to work on it but as the article points out a 2010 upgrade has been delayed until at least 2012.  That seems to point to development issues – a not uncommon problem when it comes to some open source solutions.

There may be a bright spot in this call for standardization if you buy into the theory presented by Dera Nevin:

She added that EDRM as an organization needs to do better at externally communicating the advantages of electronic document exchange — “There’s wars to be fought on a whole bunch of fronts. It’s one thing to say, you’ve been working on this for 3.5 years, give up, but it’s way too soon to give up because we’re still fighting the fight of getting people to use electronic exchange of documents in the first place.”

Open source and eDiscovery, two very hot tech trends combined with a push for standardization seems to make sense. But then again when does technology and sense really stand up to the test of implementation and usability.

Constance Ard November 2, 2011