Litigation Automation: Glossary of Terms


A sequential set of instructions aimed at performing a particular function or task.

Alpha Character

Characters that represent the alphabet (both upper and lower case), a-z and A-Z.

Alphanumeric Character

Characters that represent the alphabet (both upper and lower case) and/or one or more numbers.


A word, note, marking of some sort (graphic), or highlight added to an item (other that original marginalia that is considered part of the original item)

Artificial Intelligence

Simulating human intelligence within the confines of a computer program.


American Standard for Information Interchange. This is a standard code that assigns a number to each of the letters of the alphabet, numeric characters and special characters like a dollar sign or tilde and carriage return, line feed, tab and such.


Acronym for Audio Video Interleave. *.AVI is the file extension for audio/video clips.

Batch File

A batch file is a set of one or more instructions that are created in a computer program to perform a particular type of computer system function (*.BAT is the file extension).

Bates Labeling

Bates Labeling is the attachment of a unique number (in electronic or manual form) for identifying a page of a document. The word Bates comes from the Bates Company, which was one of the originators of numeric (and alpha) stamping machines.

Bibliographic Coding

This is often referred to as coding a document for predefined bibliographic information such as author, date created, addressee and key words.

Bit Map

A bit map is a representation and/or a reconstruction of a page after it has been digitized, often times from a scanned copy.


Acronym for Bit Map (raster type) and also used as a file extension. *.BMP is the graphics file extension.

Boolean Operation

Any operation in which each of the operands take on the result of one or two possible values (ie: and, or, xor, exor).


Acronym for Computer Aided Design.

Chain of Custody

Chain of custody refers to the path that is taken to the original custodian/owner of a document.


Acronym for Continuing Legal Education.

Com Port

Serial communication port (ie: COM1, COM2,COM3, COM4).

Complaint (as in a legal document)

This is a plaintiff created document that addresses the legal point(s) of contention that they have against the defendant.

Computer Assisted Legal Research Programs/Repositories.

Lexis, Nexus and Westlaw.

Confidential (document)

This is a document that represents a confidential agreement between an attorney and client such as a medical record.


Acronym for Characters Per Second.


Acronym for Central Processing Unit...the brain of the computer.


Acronym for Digital Audiotape.

Data Compression

This is an algorithm used for storing information at a fraction of its original/normal size.

Data Conversion

This is where information that is stored in one format is converted into a different format (Such as Quattropro format *.WB3 to Excel format *.XLS).

Data Integrity

Data integrity is an attempt to ensure that data (in whatever form) retains the highest possible quality. Garbage in, Garbage out!

Data Model

A graphical representation of a data based application (ie: ERwin).

Database Backbone

This is in reference to a database that runs under another application.


Acronym for Dynamic Data Exchange. This is a form of interprocess communications used by Microsoft Windows to support the exchange of commands and data between two simultaneously running applications.

Declassified (as in document)

A document that was previously classified, but after redaction of the classified material, it becomes declassified.

Dedicated File Server

A computer that dedicates it's storage capacity and processing power to the files that support particular applications, often in a network configuration.


A witness that is questioned in a deposition.


A formal pretrial interview of a witness with attorneys (one or more) from both sides present along with a court reporter.


Deskewing is a tool/filter applied to scanned images that attempts to correct any horizontal (or vertical in a landscaped image) imperfections as in an image that was copied at a slight angle. Deskewing is applied prior to running an OCR application so that the orientation of all the image characters is as correct as possible.


Depseckling is a tool/filter that is applied to a scanned image that attempts to clean out any background speckles (small non textual marks) so that the OCR program doesn't waste time trying to interpret a speck that contains no character information.

Dirty Text

Dirty text refers to the OCR output prior to being cleaned up. It is a searchable format that reflects what the OCR engine(s) thought it saw.


This is a point in time during a legal proceeding that comes after the issue of complaint and prior to trial. Discovery is a process where evidentiary items are collected by each side and turned over (at the end of discovery)to the opposing side (except for privilege and confidential evidentiary items).

Document Determination

Documents are often determined by type such as correspondence, bill, periodical and so on. These documents are often organized by like types. Document Determination refers to identifying the type of document.

Document Population

The entire collection of case related documents also known as "the enterprise" or the "whole kit-in-ka-boudle".

Document Retention Plan

Document Retention Plan refers to a process by which only certain documents are retained and the rest are disposed of.


Acronym for Disk Operating System (ie: MS-DOS).


Acronym for Dots Per Inch (used in describing monitor resolution ie: 800x600 dpi).

Electronic Discovery

Electronic Discovery refers to the processing of electronic forms of information such as E-mail, word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, database contents and so on.


Encryption is the translation of data into unreadable codes to maintain security.


Enterprise refers to the entire population of information items associated to a particular organization.

File Server

File server is networked computer dedicated to storing all the files of a particular application (ie: dedicated file server).

Flat File

Flat file is a non-relational text based file (ie: a WordPerfect document).

Flat File Database

Flat file database is a non-relational database such as an electronic spreadsheet.

Flat Panel Display Monitor

Flat panel display monitor is a very thin monitor that utilizes gas-plasma and voltage to create a display that need no back lighting, which is why conventional monitors are so much larger.


Acronym for File Transfer Protocol. A standard method of transferring files over the Internet.

Fuzzy Logic

Fuzzy logic is a full text searching technique that will interpret portions of words in a search list so as to find misspelled words or portions of a word that didn't OCR 100% correctly.


Acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. *.GIF is a graphical file extension.

Gigabyte (GB)

Equal to 1,000 megabytes (MB) or 1,073,741,824 bytes.


Grayscale refers to shades of gray that represent light and dark portions of an image at a higher quality than black and white. Color images can be converted to grayscale as the colors are represented by various shades of gray. Monochrome monitors utilize grayscale resolutions.


Acronym for Graphical User Interface, or "Gooey". This is the icons on a Windows based PC.


Hand writing recognition software for interpreting cursive writing into a machine-readable format.


Acronym for Hypertext Markup Language. *.HTML is used for web based files (internet/intranet).


Intelligent character recognition for interpreting hand printed text.


This is an official written set of questions sent to a witness that is answered and admitted as evidence.


Acronym for Integrated Services Digital Network. This is a high speed digital telephone service. A combination of 2 phone lines that equals throughput of digital information at128K (64KB per line).

Joint Application Development (JAD)

This is an application development approach where users and the technical staff get together and development requirements for a particular application together.


Acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is the leading international standard for compressing digital photographic images (at a ratio of about 10:1). *.JPG or *.JPEG are the graphical file extension.


An element from the Planet Krypton that rendered Superman & Superwoman powerless.


Acronym for Local Area Network.


Acronym for Liquid Character Display. Used to describe a type of monitor.

Legacy Computer System

A computer system that manages/reflects historical information.


This is a legal research tool/repository that contains numerous law related legacy documents.

Light Pen

A hand-held input device with a light sensitive probe or stylus connected to the computer's graphics adapter board by a cable. Used for writing or sketching on screen or as a pointing device for making selections.


Lumen is a measure of brightness often associated with the amount of light a projector is capable of.

Megabyte (MB)

A unit of information equal to 1,000 kilobytes (KB) or 1,048,576 bytes.

MO (storage medium)

Acronym for Magneto Optical. This is read /write media.


Acronym for Motion Picture Experts Group. *.MPG file extension used for playing streaming digitized video.


This is a secondary version of MPEG that is capable of higher quality because of the larger file size/associated compression algorithm. *.MP2 is the file extension.


MPEG3 is used for the playing of CD clips. *.MP3 is the file extension.


Combining various forms of media such as sound, image, text and video.


Connecting 2 or more computers together via NIC s (Network Interface Cards) to form a Local Area Network (LAN).


This is a legal research tool/repository that contains numerous law related legacy documents.

Numeric Character

Characters that are represented by one or more numbers, using the characters 0-9.

Neural Networks

A type of Artificial Intelligence that functions in a software decision making mode, modeled after the human brain.


Acronym for Optical Character Recognition.

OCR Engine

This is the workhorse/algorithm within an OCR application that deciphers the various textual characters contained within a bit map version of a page.

OCR Voting Technology

This is where an application uses multiple OCR engines to interpret scanned images. Each engine casts a vote on what it thinks it saw. A consensus is taken from the votes and the result is a higher quality OCR full text file.


Acronym for Open Database Connectivity. Used for migrating or importing database information between different database applications (ie: Access to Paradox).


Acronym for Object Linking and Embedding. Used for embedding or linking information created in one application into a document created in another application (ie: putting picture created in Photo House into a WordPerfect document).

Onion Skin Document

This refers to the old style typing paper that was virtually opaque...hence the nickname "onion skin".

Page Orientation

Standard is Portrait (81/2 by 11) and sideways is called Landscape (11 x 81/2).


Acronym for Portable Document Format. *.PDF, this is an Adobe proprietary file extension for an Adobe document or image.


Ping is an executable command, used as a test for checking network connectivity.


A mnemonic term meaning picture element.


The Plaintiff is the party that has initiated legal action against another.

Power Bar

A healthy boost of protein and carbohydrates in the form of a candy bar. Great prior to an athletic endeavor, and not bad if you missed lunch...say around 4pm and you feel a low blood sugar episode coming on...the chocolate one's a winner!

Proprietary (document)

A Proprietary document refers to anything that is something of a trade secret or information that is essential to a client's competitive advantage.


Acronym for Random Array of Inexpensive Disks. This is an array of hard drives used for mass storage.

Raster (bit map)

This refers to a bit map style.


This is the process of removing certain information from a document.

Relational Database

A relational database is built on one or more indexes of information so that when a single change is made, it can be reflected into multiple areas (relationships) as in a one to many or many to many type relationships.


Acronym for Red Green Blue.

SCSI (scuzzy)

Acronym for Small Computer Systems Interface.

Searchable Full Text

Any full text (one or more characters) information that can be found in an electronic capacity via some type of automated querying method.

Searchable Digital Video

This is video that has been digitized and indexed.


A Stipulation is a request for an agreement.

T1 Line

This is a data transmission line equal to a throughput of 1.5MBs (12 ISDN lines at 128K each, or 24 phone lines at 64K each).

Terabyte (TB)

This is equal to 1000 Gigabytes (GB) or 1,099,511,627,776 bytes.


Thumbnail is small bit map version of a full size image.


Tagged Image File Format, TIFF Group IV is the most widely accepted bit map format for text based images. *.TIF or *.TIFF file extension.

Topological Analysis

This is basically bit map type in Topology...a reference to a detailed description of the shape and size of an object contained in a map.

Trial Transcript

This is the transcript that the court room reporter creates during a trial.

Tunable Fuzzy Logic

This allows the operator of the software to adjust the level of fuzzy logic that is applied to a fuzzy search.

Ugly Document

A document where the letters run into and bleed into each other and the print is not very legible, such as 20 year old newspaper clipping that has been faxed twice then copied 10 times producing a lousy best copy (a piece of paper that only a mother tree could love).

Vector Bit Map

This is a style of bit map that is scalable based on a mathematical algorithm, such as a PDF (Adobe) image format.


Acronym for Video Graphics Array (640 dpi X 480 dpi).

Video Teleconferencing

This is where both video and voice are transmitted and received from two separate locations at the same time through the use of phone lines, cameras and monitors.

Voice Recognition

This is an application where the human voice can be recognized and converted into text.


Acronym for Wide Area Network. Larger than a LAN, usually associated with numerous LANs that cover a large area, such as a country.

Web Browser

An application that locates a document(s) via a Web based application using URL (Uniform Resource Locator), retrieves it, and formats the document for display (ie: Netscape, Internet Explorer.

Web Based Repository

This is a Internet or Intranet based repository of information.


This is a legal research tool/repository that contains numerous law related legacy documents.

WORM (storage media)

Write once read many, Compact Disk style.


Acronym for World Wide Web.


Acronym for Extended Graphics Array (1024 dpi X 768 dpi).

Copyright © 2005 B. Bruce Barton, All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article, except as otherwise authorized in writing by the author of the article you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.

This article was last reviewed or amended on Nov 11, 2014.