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What Does DeNIST Mean and Why Should You Care?

Many e-discovery software products and vendors offer the ability to “DeNIST” electronically stored information (ESI) collected for a legal matter.  What does it mean to DeNIST?  In short, “DeNISTing” is a method of reducing the number of documents subject to attorney or computer review by removing file types that are highly unlikely to have evidentiary value.




The “NIST” in “DeNISTing” is the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the process of DeNISTing is based on a list of file types maintained by the agency.  Specifically, the list, which is updated four times a year, is part of the National Software Reference Library Project whose ostensible goal is to promote the efficient use of technology in the investigation of crimes. When e-discovery software is used to DeNIST electronic documents, the software compares all ESI in a collection against the National Software Reference Library list and removes files matching those on the list unlikely to contain relevant information. Examples of file types removed during DeNISTing are non-user created files such as executable files, that is, files used to execute computer programs, Windows system and help files, and font files.  (This is only a very small example of the file types removed by the DeNIST process.  In all, there are millions of files on the list).

DeNISTing a document collection before review is a recommended practice and saves time and money by reducing the number of files subject to hosting and review during the e-discovery process.


Posted on October 31, 2014 in E-Discovery, Electronically Stored Information (ESI)

About the Author

Chad Main is an attorney and the founder of Percipient. Prior to founding Percipient, Chad worked as a litigator in Los Angeles and Chicago. He is a member of the Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program Committee and may be reached at cmain@percipient.co.
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