Search Terms & Semantic Range

The meaning of a search term can vary, depending on social construct and context. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway : ) that the terms “trunk of a tree”, “trunk of a car” and “trunk of an elephant” mean very different things!

When it comes to key terms in the context of a regulatory investigation or litigation, social construct and culture of the people within the organization from which the e-mail and files originate will determine word usage and meaning. When custodians communicate within a company, they strive to communicate in a way in which other people in the company understand them. They strive to ensure that the words they use have overlap with how the recipients of their communications use the words.

The practical questions become:

1) “how do I compare terms to ensure that I’m capturing all of the relevant files?”


2) “how do I ensure that my terms do not result in false positives?”

Check out Quantum’s 1-to-1 Search Term Comparison” analytic below. It looks at the relational distance between pairs of search terms:

– the term “fraud”, appears with the term “shut down” in the same e-mail only 18 times across the entire corpus.
– the term “audit” appears with the term “talking points” in the same e-mail only 1 time across the entire corpus.

This report allows Counsel to examine how “conceptually close” (in the context of the entire corpus) the two terms are by measuring how often the terms appear together within documents across the entire corpus.

The numbers in the gray boxes are the total number of e-mail families that hit on each term.

I hope you like the report. Feel free to give us some feedback!