3 min read

So, You Want DIY eDiscovery? Last But Not Least: Production

Featured Image

Continuing our series on DIY eDiscovery (data loading, search and analytics), requesting, receiving, and loading productions should be easy to do yourself but is often derailed by the requested or received format. Here, we'll discuss the ins and outs of production specifications, share practical tips on how to fix productions that don't meet the specifications, and how to re-request a production if necessary. Finally, some enhancements can be done ahead of time to normalize data and streamline the production process.

Production Types

There are three major production types: load files, image files, and native files (depending on what type of data is being produced). Load files help you understand loose, image, text, and native files. Load files are typically in DAT, OPT, or LST format and include metadata. Without a DAT file, you're missing critical information like parent-child relationships, original file name, or original file path that aren't included in image or native files. OPT references images files, and LST references text files where text is too big to be in a DAT. Image files can be multipage or single page and come as PDF, TIF, or JPG. Native file productions include many different file types in their original format. Understanding differences among the production types help you identify other data you might be missing.

Production Time Savers

There are several steps you can take to ensure production occurs on the appropriate schedule. The primary time saver is understanding the production format you want and the format the opposing party has requested. Agreeing on the format and the timeframe early in the eDiscovery process are two significant factors in a successful production. That answers the what and when, and who is the next consideration – either have a vendor do the production, or you do it, but not both. It’s very difficult to ensure consistency with multiple parties involved. Having templates ready for production will assist with last-minute litigation needs.

Using a Production Standard

eDiscovery productions are not new, so working from established guidelines can give you a solid head start. For example, Avansic has a recommended production standard document you can use to support the process. To learn even more about considerations for a production standard, you can watch Avansic's recent webinar.

Inbound Productions

Before loading a received production to a review platform, check for any text errors, missing metadata, and missing native documents. While loading, the field matching process is crucial; some tools will detect errors and won't let you load bad data, which is particularly helpful if you are frequently loading productions in your eDiscovery projects. All exceptions should be handled at this stage to proceed smoothly through the rest of the process. De-duplication takes place in this step as well.

Outbound Productions

Before creating a production, the following three steps will help. First, check the images to make sure they have all formed properly. Second, if there are documents that haven't imaged well, produce them as natives. Third, check any redactions, especially if they are in areas normally produced in a DAT file, because redacted information can still exist in DAT and TXT files.

When creating productions, be careful breaking document families apart. Don't remove documents from a production before sending it to the opposing party – this creates a gap in numbering and is the most common mistake in productions. If you ultimately have to remove anything, be sure to re-number the production.

Using templates helps this step tremendously and can reduce or eliminate the need for a checklist.


Following extensive efforts to analyze and review electronically stored information (ESI) for an eDiscovery project, the resulting data must be produced and delivered in a reasonable and accessible form. This allows a case to continue with both sides able to take effective steps forward. Having a set of production standards will help with both parts of the process, and having ready-made templates in your tool can mean the difference between a missed and a made deadline.