Over the years, we’ve collected advice and tips from both Sherpa Software’s Discovery Attender team and key customers for best practices in running searches and producing results. Whether you’re using one of Sherpa’s tools or a product from another vendor, you may find these suggestions helpful:

1) Plan before searching:

  • Search a small data set before running a complete search over multiple stores. It may take more time upfront, but you will save time and hassle in the long run.
  • Iron out any difficulties with file permissions or criteria.
  • Identify false positives and causes for them.
  • Estimate the size of your result set. If you anticipate more than 250,000 results, break up your search into smaller, logical pieces. It may be possible to append new results to an existing results set.
  • Obtain feedback from the sample result set and test again before committing to an entire data set.

2) Keyword Considerations:

  • Use any available Syntax checking function for long search expressions or confusing word lists.
  • For optimal performance, narrow the keyword list to less than 250 words or phrases per search. If your list is longer, break it up over multiple searches of less than 250 words. If necessary, it may be possible to append new results to an existing results set.
  • When applicable, refine the search to include only documents created within a specific time frame.


3) Dealing with Privileged Data:

  • Do not try to eliminate data in the main responsive search. Move the data as a further search of the results. This will clarify your responsive search while providing a separate ‘privileged’ data set for production.
  • Use proximity searching for names in the body of documents. If you are searching for Jane Doe, it may appear as ‘Jane Doe,’ ‘Doe, Jane,’ or ‘Jane B. Doe.’ In Discovery Attender for Notes, for example, a custom search using ‘Jane SENTENCE Doe’ will capture all of these instances.

4) If you have questions or concerns, contact Tech Support!

  • If a representative is available, engage the online Help database.
  • Use the Forums to post questions and get advice.
  • See if your vendor offers any web-based training that can be tailored to your specific needs.

Many of these tips are common knowledge, but they often come from learning things the hard way. Plan carefully, don’t rush and be sure to understand the process. Don’t take the process lightly – there may be a lot at stake in the success of your search.