Folders vs. Document Fields/Tags

This technical note describes the differences between Folders and Document Fields/Tags in the Lexbe eDiscovery Platform (LEP) and best practices for organizing and retrieving documents in a case.

Folders in LEP

Folders (and sub-folders) in LEP
 act as virtual file locations for documents, like folders or directories on a Windows or Mac. Folders and documents react the same way in LEP as they do on a local PC or Network.

Nested Folder-Structure

LEP does not map to folders during document upload.  If there is a nested folder structure in the container file (e.g., Zip, PST), the paths will automatically be mapped to the Source FilePath.  
Use Saved and Shared Filters to organize and work with sub-folder structures.  

Fields/Tags and Filters in LEP

LEP includes built-in fields (Responsive, Confidential, Key Document, etc.).  Admin Users may also set up an unlimited number of custom fields (tags).  See Manage Custom Doc Fields for more information.  Built-in and custom fields may be assigned using multidoc edit and retrieved using Filters and Saved Filters. 

One Place or Many Places

A key disadvantage of using Folders in a litigation database is that a single document often needs to be identified with many tags. 
For example, one file can be tagged as a Hot document, identified with deponents Smith and Jones, and liability issue: negligence.  This can be done easily with Fields/Tags, but cannot be done with Folders without duplicating the file.  Duplication of files in LEP or any litigation database program should be avoided as it leads to inconsistent coding and other problems. 

Folders are one-dimensional (cannot multi-tag) and work well as long as there is only one criterion for the case and for the documents (e.g. Transcripts). However, if one transcript with exhibits needs to belong to multiple categories such as Transcripts, Transcripts to Send to Client, the use of Folders results in problems.

Folders vs. Doc Fields

   Advantages  Disadvantages


Folders are familiar and simple, if not very functional.

Folders can be created automatically in LEP
 on upload of a ZIP compressed file containing an existing folder structureThe upload will carry over the same sub-folders titles. See Management>Manage Folders for more information.

A sub-folder and all of its contents can be moved to another location without using multidoc edit.

A document can only live in one folder at a time. If the same document needs to be located in multiple folders it will be necessary to re-upload the same file, introducing duplicates, which should be avoided.

Use of Folders can encourage users to create duplicates of files to get desired file organization.

Finding documents in highly nested folders is difficult.

Users cannot apply Search within sub-folders.

Doc Fields

Multidimensional coding. One document can have many tags as needed without creating duplicates in the case.

Display multiple Coding fields at the same time in Browse, Search or the Document Viewer.

Filter or apply searches to multiple criteria to group documents. Filters, particularly if saved and named, act a lot like a folder, but with more functionality and without the restrictions.

When uploading Native files, LEP 
automatically extracts metadata and codes to built-in fields.  For example, Outlook email Sender, Date Sent, Date Received, etc. is automatically extracted and fielded to built-in fields in LEP.

Coding may be included in a case from a load file (e.g., Concordance or Summation) and these will be coded to fields, not folders.

The original folder path of a document when uploaded from a Zip is saved read-only on the Original File Path field and can be accessed and filtered on and saved filters can be created.

They can be
accessed from the Browse, Search, Document Viewer and Case>Add Case Documents pages.

More work to set up than Folders, so Folders may be adequate in small, simple cases.

Folders can be automatically created on upload but Fields/Tags and Saved Filters cannot.

Duplicates - Why Not?

Exact file duplicates can cause problems in a litigation database. This is because duplicates require individual coding and can complicate review and increase storage space. Worse, duplicates can lead to inconsistent coding as all versions may not be coded exactly the same. This is a particularly a problem with privilege review and some but not all versions of a file may be identified as privileged.

Pinned Filters - Combined Advantage To Folders and Custom Doc Fields

Any filters applied from the Browse and Search pages are automatically saved under the Filter Quick Links section and preserved on the list view under the Recent section.  The user may rename and Pin the filter hyperlinks to separate and keep track of the most used filters.  Pinned filters look a lot like Folders, but without the disadvantages.

Filtering on the Source Filepath to find the Original Folder Structure

During an eDiscovery job upload, we retain and field the Source File Path, which often includes the original folder structure. The user may filter on the original folder name to retrieve files that were within that folders. This retains the original structure for evidence purposes and cannot be moved. The retrieved filter can be saved and retrieved later.