eMail archiving systems have been in use for many years.  In the United States, the primary purpose for archiving has been compliance, civil and criminal eDiscovery, as well as internal policy violations.  Rest-of-world (ROW) drivers include eDiscovery for civil and criminal cases, but storage management and operational efficiency have been the primary buying motivation.  In all cases, search is a critical part of the story, including full-text searching.  However, full-text search can’t find words for images and, as the anecdote goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Since full-text search can only find words or associate concepts with image files, users still need to review the images.  The ability to review images as it relates to emails has been overlooked in the major systems, such as Autonomy/Zantaz, Symantec Enterprise Vault, etc.  The scenario is simple: your human resources or legal group has a need to do an early case assessment, but some of the critical email data-points are pictures attached to the messages.  In most cases, the pictures have obtuse names like DSC30012.JPG or IMG_1459.PNG, telling you absolutely nothing about the file.  What you need is a thumbnail view of all images related to your search query.

Estorian LookingGlass, a third generation email archiving product, delivers an image review capability through their spherical search engine and intuitive user interface.  The Estorian spherical search engine utilizes new algorithms to reduce the full-text foot print, but allow for conceptual and contextual searches (that’s another blog entry for later this quarter).

The LookingGlass image review interface enables a reviewer to pinpoint certain image types within search results.  For example, a reviewer would select graphic search as an option.  Then they would select senders, recipients, words in subject, body, multiparty messages, folders, drafts, inbox, etc.  This search would winnow down the graphic results to the email that matches the results.

LookingGlass offers a thumbnail review mechanism within their search system.  Using thumbnails a reviewer can visually identify and isolate images.  Once an image is identified it can be expanded for further review.  Moreover, the LookingGlass interface enables reviewers to use image review as a way to find the other email recipients and senders.  Using the storyboard interface reviewers can explore other emails related to the a specific thread or concept.

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Storyboard searching is new to the preDiscovery and early case assessment industry.  Images have long been a staple of concern within corporations whether they are inappropriate internet images or photos of a client’s car after an accident.  The new storyboard searching feature found in Estorian’s LookingGlass can immediately address visually challenging cases since it can be non-disruptively installed for your most pressing situations. Then, at a later time, companies can configure it to start collecting and archiving email on a broader basis for the entire system, including .edb and .pst files.

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