Practice Direction 31B, and document properties – introduction, common and MS metadata

Practice Direction 31B (2’53”)

Practice Direction 31B relates to the disclosure of electronic documents in court cases in the United Kingdom, but there are similar directions around the world.
Paragraph 31 states how the documents are to be disclosed.
Let’s see how Filecats can help you with achieving this.
“(1) Disclosure data should be set out in a single, continuous table or spreadsheet, each separate column containing exclusively one of the following types of disclosure data –
(a) disclosure list number (sequential)
(b) date
(c) document type
(d) author/sender
(e) recipient
(f) disclosure list number of any parent or covering document;

Dates should be set out in a specific format, and data should be set out in a consistent manner.”
So let’s have a look at how Filecats Professional can assist.
Looking at this catalogue of Microsoft Office documents, we have a disclosure list number, we have a date, we have a type, we have the author of the document, both the individual’s name and the company’s name.
We don’t have a recipient, because for Word and Excel it is very difficult to see who it has been sent to. Therefore, it would be necessary to create a column for Recipient, and open the documents individually using the hyperlink and fill in this column.
Now let’s have a look at a catalogue of emails, exported to Windows Explorer as MSG files.
Here we have a disclosure list number, the date, document type, the sender, and here we do have the recipient as well.
You also have attachments. This could be useful if you need a list of the attachments and their parent or covering document.
So Filecats can indeed assist with creating a catalogue complying with Practice Direction 31B.

Introduction to Metadata (4’04”)

Filecats Professional allows you to investigate the powerful metadata contained inside files, and lets you use it for your advantage. It is an extremely powerful tool for harnessing the hidden depths of information you already have, but may not know that you have, or which may be difficult you to use. But what is metadata?

Metadata is information which is stored inside a file, which is often created by the computer or device, but is sometimes created by the end user, which assists the computer in identifying attributes, and allows you to find important information, such as when the file was last saved, who originally created the file, where and when a camera believes a picture was taken.

If you have a look at this Microsoft Word document in Windows Explorer, you can see some of the metadata, for example, the title, author, subject, comments and total editing time.

However, this is not the totality of the metadata, and you can see more by right-hand clicking on it and going to Properties and Details. Here you can see for example that it has 101 words, 582 characters, was created used the template “Normal”.

Rather than having to look at the properties for 1,000 documents, you can create a catalogue and get this metadata into a spreadsheet, so you can view them en masse, search and filter through them.

Looking at this photograph, you can see metadata such as the time that it was taken, its dimensions, the camera make and model, and the exposure time. Again, this is not a complete list of the metadata. You can see that we also have brightness, light balance and, importantly, GPS coordinates.

Whilst there is also metadata associated with emails exported to Windows Explorer, these are not visible from Windows Explorer. However, Filecats is also to extract the metadata from MSG emails as well.

Common Metadata (1’13”)

Filecats Professional is able to swiftly export all sorts of metadata, including metadata which is common to more than one type of file. For example, author could be a creator of a Microsoft Word document, or the artist on an MP3. Categories and Comments can be set by the end user in Windows Explorer or the source programme, and the various dates can be important for any type of programme.

Rather than repeat them for each type of programme, they are grouped near the beginning of the Filecats Professional spreadsheet.

Microsoft Office Metadata (1’33”)

Filecats Professional is able to swiftly export metadata from Microsoft Office documents, which have been added by either the computer or the end user.

The most useful ones include: the date created, the date last printed, the date last saved, who the last author was (this is different to who the original author was), template, internal total editing time, and number of bytes, characters, lines, pages, paragraphs, and words. Other metadata which is specific to PowerPoint presentations include Presentation format, note count, slide count.

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