Short for electronic discovery, e-discovery is a term used in civil litigation. E-discovery describes information in electronic format, typically recovered through digital forensics analysis. Forensic investigators, lawyers, and IT managers all conduct e-discovery, sometimes each with their own terminology, which can cause confusion when trying to communicate between professions.
There are many items analyzed with e-discovery, including e-mail, electronic documents (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.), instant messaging chat logs, and websites. Those involved in the e-discovery are typically most interested in the original files, as well as the original file formats. E-discovery may involve analyzing printed documents, which later are converted to a PDF document or re-created as a Word document to find hidden evidence.