Home Technology In-Depth Analysis: What Is a Load File in eDiscovery?

In-Depth Analysis: What Is a Load File in eDiscovery?

Load File in eDiscovery

Navigating large volumes of electronically stored information of eDiscovery may involve diving into the complex world of load files. While these folders have puzzled many users, they are important in organizing and managing electronic data. But what is a load file in eDiscovery? How is a load file used in the eDiscovery process?

In this article, you’ll discover the eDiscovery process and the information it typically contains. Learn more about the different types of load files used in eDiscovery, and why they’re the key to facilitating seamless access, collection, as well as review of electronically stored information.

What Is a Load File in eDiscovery?

In a litigation process, the producing party will be required to provide responsive documentation in a suitable format. However, this information should also be accessible for eDiscovery so that the operation can run smoothly.

In eDiscovery processing software, load files are crucial in organizing and facilitating large volumes of electronically stored information (ESI). These texts or CSV format files act as a guide on how critical data should be arranged and structured when importing or exporting documents. Load files are simple texts that help link associated information.

The files will incorporate a set of documents and a map to corresponding metadata and OCR into an eDiscovery or document review platform. The load file will allow the user to search and filter documents in an equivalent and structured manner to the adversary. 

Therefore, you can easily navigate vast amounts of data and locate specific information quickly and efficiently with load files.

Deconstructing the load file

What information does a load file typically contain? The load file can be broken down into two segments:

  • Coding
  • Reference

The coding in the load file refers to the metadata. When ESI is produced in load files, information on each document is provided in multiple files. The first is an image, often produced in ‘.TIFF’ (tagged image file format), but they lose textual content and metadata information. Since this data is lost, you’ll also lose the ability to search for information within the document.

In order to restore the ability to seek the documents after being loaded into an eDiscovery software, additional files are crafted that contain the metadata and other file documentation. So, if you convert a record in digital form, there may be coding related to the file’s physical location, shelf, box, folder, and similar data for the original file.

Additionally, the coding may also include the Bates number, document date, as well as a production number. The load file then connects all the information together within the software by tying the image files to the right textual content and metadata files.

Types and uses of loan files

Wondering what are the different types of load files used in eDiscovery? Load files in eDiscovery serve various purposes; hence, they have various formats and types. Typically, a standard production will include the following file types:

  • DAT
  • CSV
  • LFP
  • OPT

Each file is considered a load file, but technologists often combine the DAT and LFP or OPT files upon import. DAT or CSV load files, or a concordance load file, provide metadata information such as names, document identifiers, and timestamps. These files are critical for organizing and tracking electronic data during eDiscovery.

Furthermore, the CSV is the most commonly used format to exchange information of probative value. It is easy to produce and has no associated burden. These load files also ensure that every document has its unique identifier, usually the Bates number.

LFP and OPT load files, also known as optical files, are used to package a production in a standard format. While both files serve the same purpose, they can be distinguished by the slightly different formatting.

Ultimately, these files help users and eDiscovery tools understand the link between documents in a structured manner. These files extract text from documents, which enables keyword searching, content analysis, and indexing capabilities.

The Importance of Load Files in eDiscovery

In the vast and complex world of eDiscovery, where many ESI must be thoroughly analyzed and structured, load files help ease the process. Their importance and function should not be overlooked, as they may be the key to organizing large volumes of electronically stored information.

Load files help you in a variety of ways. This includes enhancing efficiency, ensuring consistency, and enabling seamless integration within review platforms. Also, load files empower professionals to present massive datasets precisely and efficiently.

Since these files are the link between raw data and the set of documents, they contain catalogs of metadata, coding information, and additional details. Questioning their importance may result in daunting challenges with unstructured data lacking a fundamental framework for efficient documentation review.

So, here are some of the reasons why load files are significantly important:

Organizing data

Load files are the most effective way to organize large volumes of electronic data or ESI. These files can bring structure into the seemingly chaotic world of digital information. It gets data into easily digestible formats, allowing an eDiscovery tool to understand and ingest.

Support for multiple file formats

Load files support multiple formats, including concordance, relativity, and summation. The variety of load files aids in creating standard format load files aligned with a standard load file specification document. Thereby, this enables users to set custom delimiters that are based on specific requirements.

Facilitate access to information

Load files act as navigational guides that facilitate access to vast amounts of electronic data. By containing crucial metadata, coding, and document paths, load files help streamline the retrieval and analysis process in each eDiscovery project.

Due to the organized structure and approach to document management and analyzing data, load files enhance the efficiency of document review. This promotes straightforward navigation through documents, data, and information on relevant topics.

Integration with review software

Load file interrogation with review platforms is vital for an efficient and seamless eDiscovery process. Since the document review softwares relies on load files to understand and organize the imported data in a structural and effective manner, load files allow and facilitate a smooth integration.

That encourages users to use a review software’s full potential and navigate through their documentation seamlessly.


Load files are ideal if you want consistency and standardization in a review process. They promote standardized metadata and coding conventions to maintain a seamless approach and uniform structure to document analysis. In addition, this also reduces any complications and risks of errors during the review process.


What is a load file in eDiscovery? The world of load files is a complex realm of organizing and structuring electronically stored information. However, they play a vital role in eDiscovery as they serve as the fundamental substrate facilitating the vast volume of electronic data. 

Now that you know what a load file in eDiscovery is, you understand the complexity of data handling and electronic documentation.


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