Ricoh eDiscovery

Self-Collection, Assisted Collection and Full Forensic Collection: What's the Difference?

Posted by Laura Clewley |3 minute read

Feb 16, 2021 10:49:22 AM

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One of the earliest steps after identifying a potential matter is collecting any data that may be relevant to the case, whether or not a legal hold has been placed. There are three options to choose from when it comes to data collection: self, assisted and full forensic.

Which method is best for you? It depends on various factors including the number of data sources, custodians and parties that are involved, as well as the internal resources you may have available. In today’s Tuesday Tip, I’m breaking down the differences between the three types of collections.


Self-collection means you or your client are collecting the data yourselves. During an independent collection, it is essential that you document the process you are using to ensure it is repeated throughout the entire project. Should your collection ever be questioned, this structured approach will add to the defensibility of your case.

If you opt to perform the collection independently, I recommend taking a quick look at our previous blog How to Collect, Copy and Move Data Without Changing its Metadata to ensure you do not accidentally change the hidden (and extremely important) details within your files.

Full Forensic Collection

With a full forensic collection, all your data is collected by certified forensic examiners. Although this can be the most expensive route, it is the most defensible. By using a full forensic collection, you can easily search for deleted or hidden files without have to go back to the original machine. This method of collection is especially useful if your matter requires a detailed analysis of its data. Depending on the device and operating system being used to host the data, a full forensic collection may be performed remotely.

Assisted Collection

Assisted collection, when you get support from an external vendor like Ricoh to help plan your collection, is a hybrid approach that falls between the two above-mentioned methods. Though this approach will still likely involve a level of self-collection, you will receive expert advice on what should be collected by you (and your client). With the right review partner, an assisted collection can bring forward concerns early in the process that can help you avoid significant costs later.


Each matter can come with its own complex requirements. However, just because one method has proven successful with a previous project does not mean it will work the same with others. If you’re having trouble deciding which method of collection is best for you, get in touch with us today.

In our next Tuesday Tip, I’ll be sharing the different devices collections are commonly performed on. Receive a notification once it’s published by subscribing to our blog.

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Topics: Tuesday's Tip, Laura Clewley, Forensic Data Collection


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