In the physical paper world, yellow Post-It notes worked for evidence mark-up because besides holding your thoughts, they also served as bookmarks to critical evidence. You could see them sticking out here and there in a stack of documents no matter how large. And since there was no searching needed to find them, you could instantly put your finger on the critical information they flagged.
This bookmarking aspect, critical for evidence mark-up, doesn’t happen with electronic sticky notes. So while Adobe and others have suggested Acrobat’s electronic sticky notes will do, we’d like to show you some inherent risks in that approach. In fact, only MasterFile’s unique extracts and views are designed specifically for evidence review and retain, even improve, on the original bookmarking aspect of paper Post-It notes.
Electronic sticky notes in Acrobat were not designed for flagging critical information in evidence — and particularly not for thousands of pages of evidence. Their primary intent was for feedback during the editing and review process of documents in the draft stage. For example, you may draft a contract, send out a PDF copy for review, and ask others to provide feedback including options such as “Accepted”, “Rejected”, “Completed”, etc. In other words, these sticky notes were added to a handful of documents you were actively working on and tracking.
For litigation the problem very quickly becomes: which PDF files have notes? You have to look file by file. Full text searching doesn’t help as you have to remember what to search for and then only partial results may be returned by each search. And, if you aggregate the notes, your index is out of date the moment a new one is added.
By using electronic sticky notes inside PDF files, critical evidence or information will be lost. Can you afford that? In contrast, MasterFile’s live extracts and views always shows you what’s relevant in any or all your documents at a glance.
A more serious problem with all types of PDF annotations arises when you come to produce PDF documents with annotations for discovery: you probably don’t want to disclose the documents with all your notes, highlights, etc., because most of it is probably privileged. So, now how do you produce the documents without them? An even more messy situation arises if the source evidence were PDFs with pre-existing annotations. These original annotations must be retained during production as they are part of the evidence, but your annotations need to be removed. MasterFile’eliminates all these problems because your notes related to key extracts from the documents are separated from the documents themselves.
A related technology to electronic sticky notes with similar problems is any method that cross-links related information, point-to-point. As with sticky notes, you face the problem of finding all documents which have related cross-linked information. We discuss it in detail in our article, here.
You can focus on the key documents, extracts, facts and events to take a deep dive into what happened when, how, why and by whom to uncover the truth more intuitively in MasterFile.
Try it and see.
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