Why DeNIST is the Thing in eDiscovery

deNIST in eDiscovery

Why DeNIST is the Thing in eDiscovery

Why DeNIST is the Thing in eDiscovery 1000 600 Jason Krause

Getting rid of unneeded junk files at the start of your document review is a painless and safe way to control your review challenge.

In particular, DeNISTing is a powerful tool in your eDiscovery arsenal, but lawyers should know that it is not a magic pill that cures all of their eDiscovery headaches.

NIST is an acronym for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST has a sub-project called the National Software Reference Library, which collects a master list of known, traceable computer applications.

To De-NIST means you use this list to identify computer files known to be unimportant system files and remove them from your document collection. (For example, the .exe or .dll files found on a PC)


DeNISTing is just one of the first steps to analyze your document review. Other steps Nextpoint performs on import include:

  • De-duplication
  • Near-De-Duplication based on similar file types (such as a Word Document that was printed to a PDF file- Different file types with the same content).
  • Email Threading, which allows the reviewing attorney to see all email threads at one time to streamline the review.

There is no cost to DeNIST documents in the Nextpoint platform. All of your data can be DeNISTed at import. This can be done in one of two ways: tagging or filtering. When configured to tag DeNISTed files, the special “NIST” tag will be applied to all matching files automatically. When configured to filter, those files will be removed completely from imported batches, making it easy to skip past useless files.

On the import page, your current DeNIST setting looks like this.

DeNIST Filtering in Review

DeNIST Filtering in Document Review

The DeNIST feature uses the MD5 Hash Value or “hash value,” which is the digital signature of a file. In theory, every file has a unique hash value.  If two files have the same hash value they are considered duplicates. In DeNISTing, Nextpoint automatically finds files with the hash value of known junk files from the NIST list.

This setting can be changed in the new DeNIST section of your General Settings page, where there is a full explanation of the feature.

DeNIST Settings in Review

DeNIST Settings in Document Review

Use the DeNIST List

We have found some lawyers are reticent about deleting files without knowing what is in them. They should know that the NIST list is continually updated and vetted list. (NIST delivers regular updates to Nextpoint on a reference Data Set DVD if you really want to see it.)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology does not take its task lightly and the process is now routine and authenticated. Of course, remember that the NIST list does not contain every single junk or system file in the known Universe. It’s just one step in a larger process to limit your collection.