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If you deal with digital information at all, you’ve undoubtedly heard of metadata. But do you know exactly what it is? And do you understand the importance of it as it relates to litigation? To help unpack this often confusing term, we’ve put together the following metadata explanation for your review.
Cases involving online evidence have continued to increase at a rapid pace, aiding cases all the way from workplace harassment to copyright infringement. Digital evidence relevant to all these cases can come in a variety of forms; such as tweets, social media chat logs, instagram images, web pages, blog posts, Linkedin connections and a litany of others. But just like this evidence can make a case, it can also break the case.
What is Metadata? As our online activity skyrockets, so does the trail of valuable information that we leave behind when browsing, clicking, and sharing information. This is particularly true of social media platforms, where high frequency, personal and professional interactions can generate a huge amount of associated incidental data. This digital DNA of our online actions is what’s known as metadata. In simple terms, metadata is “a set of data that describes and gives information about other data.” How Does Metadata Relate To eDiscovery? In the world of digital evidence, metadata has a key role to play. It acts to give valuable information about a piece of content, beyond the element of the post, email, webpage or message that is visible to the naked eye. It’s this capacity to give the examiner a deeper contextual understanding of the content being invested that makes metadata so valuable – it helps paint a complete picture, for example, shedding light on user-added tracked changes or notes. In the world of digital evidence, there are 4 primary types: