Table of Contents
- What is email metadata?
- Searching for participants
- Searching email dates
- Searching email subjects
- Search Examples
- Why are expected results not showing?
What is email metadata?
Metadata is a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. Email metadata therefore gives contextual information about emails. Some common email metadata fields are To, From, CC, BCC, Subject, and Date Sent.
Searching for email information outside of the text body of the email with the metadata search term, instead of a contents search term, returns the most precise results. This is because the contents term searches within the entire textual content of a document, while a metadata term only searches within the document’s metadata. Metadata search terms have a dark blue sidebar in the search menu. To read more about searchable metadata fields in Everlaw, please refer to this article.
Smart Terms for emails
In addition to the standard email fields, Everlaw automatically generates Smart Terms for email fields. These metadata terms will aggregate the values of several email metadata fields, replacing the need to create aliases, and are denoted with a lightning bolt icon. They enable you to search for fields that are captured separately in processing and are likely to be useful when considered together. Smart terms are only available in Search and do not create a metadata field that can be seen in the Review window.
The Parties and Recipients terms search across the From, To, Cc, and Bcc fields and the To, Cc, and Bcc fields respectively. For example, the Parties search term is useful when you want to see all emails that a certain person saw, regardless of whether that person sent, received, or was copied on them.
You can find Parties and Recipients under the “Metadata” search terms list.
Click the term to add it to the query builder. To learn more about using terms to construct robust searches within your project, check out this help article.
Searching for participants
Email participant metadata on Everlaw (To, From, CC, BCC, Parties, and Recipients) are parsed into three parts: email addresses, contact names, and domains. Each of these can be treated individually within a search. When creating a search using these terms, three types of entries can appear within the dropdown menu:
- Domains capture the email domain from every email address in the corpus and make them searchable. Selecting this entry will return every result containing the domain enron.com. They are identified with the “@” icon.
- Email addresses represent the unique email address used in the email metadata field. They have been normalized for capitalization so that every email with the same spelling will be treated as a single address. This is represented with an envelope icon.
- A Contact Name is created any time a name is associated with an email address within an email field, e.g. “Corman Shelley <email@example.com>”. The extracted Contact Name, in this case Shelley Corman, will be associated with any email ever used with that contact name, and is depicted as a person icon. As you can see below, a Contact Name can be associated with many emails simultaneously, allowing you to search across multiple emails with a single selection. Once selected, hovering over a Contact Name will allow you to see all emails associated with the name. NOTE: It is possible for different people with the same Contact Name to have their emails combined under one Contact Name within Everlaw.
You also have the option to conduct a “No Value” search which pulls up documents with a null metadata value within the To, Bcc, Cc, and From search terms. We also allow for free-form text, which supports advanced searches (proximity, wildcard, fuzzy, etc). You can read more about advanced searches here.
You can select multiple entries for To, From, BCC, CC, Parties and Recipients search terms.
Any of, All of, and nothing else Options for Email Metadata Searches
For email participant searches, you have the option to specify whether you want Everlaw to return documents with “Any of” or “All of” the search entries. An “Any of” search will OR your search entries together, i.e., an email with any single entry included in the search will be returned as a result. An “All of” search will AND your entries together meaning all entries must appear together in the field you are searching. Please note that the From field will always run an “Any of” search, because emails can only have one sender.
You can also check the "and nothing else" option to make the search exclusive. An “Any of” search with “and nothing else” checked will return results where any entry is the only value in the field. In the example above, the search will find emails that were sent only to Jeff Dasovich or only to Steven J Kean and not emails sent to both.
An “All of” search with “and nothing else” checked will return results where only the combination of entries you specified are contained in the field. In the example above we will only see emails that were sent to both Jeff Dasovich and Steven J Kean and no one else.
There are some scenarios in which the “nothing else” option is disabled:
- If there are free text and "no value" entries within the search
- If domain entries are mixed with contact names and/or email addresses
- If the number of terms exceeds the limit that allows "nothing else" to be selected.
- If searching with the From field, in which denoting exclusivity is redundant.
Searching email dates
Within Everlaw, email date sent metadata is typically mapped to the standard field Date Sent. This allows users to take many variations of the same information (e.g. Sent date, Sentdate, Sent_date) and search on them using a single term. Searching against Date Sent will use the standard Everlaw date picker where you have various options to specify both date and time.
Searching email subjects
Here are some examples of when and how to leverage these search options when conducting metadata searches across your project.
1. To search for emails that are related to any specified Contact Name or domain address. For example, here we are searching for all documents with Eric Pinard or the domain @sandiego.gov as its Bcc, Cc, From, or To metadata values.
2. To search for correspondences from multiple different senders. In the example below, we're searching for all documents from Myrna Dayton OR from Scott Turner.
3. To search for a specific combination of entities Bcc’d on an email. In the example, we are searching for documents that contain all three entities in the Bcc field of an email: Luis Schaar, Ricardo Sanchez, and the domain @portseattle.org.
4. Combine email metadata search terms with others. In this example, we are searching for documents rated hot, or documents that have more entities than only Myrna Dayton in the Bcc, Cc, or To field, and those that don’t have Myrna Dayton as a recipient at all.
Why are expected results not showing?
If you are not able to search within a certain metadata field, or you find that your search is not bringing up all the expected results, it may be because that metadata field was not provided or incompletely provided by the producing party for the documents on your project.
You can check the documents’ metadata in the Review Window, or by including a column for that metadata field in the results table. If there are email metadata fields that are not present in Everlaw-processed documents (those that are prefixed with “#”), you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.