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Emails are one of the most commonly reviewed data types during investigations and civil litigations. This form of digital communication is one the widest used to date, whether this be emails sent from your computer or your mobile phone.
When viewing your emails within Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail etc., you have the ability to look through a chain of emails that have been replied to or forwarded by various participants. This is known as email threading, combining the entire email conversation into one. We are used to seeing this form of email threading within our mailboxes every day, so why should it be any different when reviewing these within a review platform?
More than 96% of CYFOR’s hosted Relativity cases involve emails, which requires reviewers to work their way through each email until they find what they are looking for. Relativity offer an analytical feature called Email Threading, which organises email conversations in an orderly sequence, then provides the most inclusive emails within the thread group, ensuring reviewers are not reviewing duplicate data and are seeing the full picture when it comes to the lifecycle of an email.
One of the most exciting features that Relativity now offers in 9.5 is the ability to visualise these email threads to identify what messages were sent, who replied, whether this was forwarded, or more importantly, whether there are any missing emails in the chain that require further investigation. Having this visualisation allows you to see the full picture of an email chain from within your dataset, from start to finish.
Email Threading in Relativity allows you to see the entire history of an email, starting from when the original email was sent, through to then showing any email replies, forwards or reply all.
Relativity has the ability to identify whether an email belongs to the same email thread group, which gives it the ability to generate the visualisation as shown below in Figure 1.
This interactive visualisation shows the lifecycle of an email from start to finish, using branches and sub-branches to visualise where further conversations have been formed.
Another advantage of visualising in this way means that coding of documents can be done a lot quicker than the standard review. You can code an email from within the visualisation and you can code entire branches or sub-branches if, for example, you knew that the entire thread was going to be relevant or not relevant. Not only does this make it easier to code multiple emails at once, but it can also be a great quality assurance tool allowing you to visually check what emails have been coded responsive or not responsive, giving you the ability to identify any discrepancies or missed emails.
Email Threading is an analytical feature with huge benefits:
Improving the speed of review – Without email threading present, the time spent on your review will increase causing a significant cost implication to the work being carried out and reviewer’s time wasted on looking at duplicated data. Email Threading ensures you are not looking over the same emails and duplicating any work, which speeds up the review as whole.
Viewing the complete email history – When reviewing an email thread in its entirety, you will be able to get the full history of an email chain, allowing you to gain a thorough understanding of which email accounts received the email and when. It may be that you identify an email missing from the thread, which could indicate you need to acquire further mail accounts from other ‘persons of interest’.
CYFOR’s eDiscovery experts can provide you with the training to gain a thorough understanding of this feature enabling you to carry out your review efficiently, quickly and more accurately. Please contact one of the team and we can set up an online webinar at your convenience.
Danielle holds a First Class Honours in Forensic Computing (BSc Hons) and has over seven years’ industry experience. Her career started within Cheshire Constabulary’s Hi-Tech Crime Unit, which allowed her to maximise her digital forensics skills. As an eDiscovery professional she is more than competent in maximising a range of powerful review platforms and successfully leads CYFOR’s eDiscovery team, applying her expertise to numerous investigations.
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