School of Information Sciences

Digital Libraries & Cyberscholarship Colloquium Series

Sponsored by the iSchool, School of Computer Science-at Carnegie Mellon University, the University Library System-at the University of Pittsburgh, the University Libraries-at Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Professor Jason R. Baron

Director of Litigation, National Archives and Records Administration

Friday, February 20, 2009
2:00 pm, Room 501, IS Building, 135 North Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh


"What Do I Do With A Billion E-mails? The TREC Legal Track and the Future of Information Retrieval in E-Discovery"


Abstract: Under new federal and state rules governing legal practice in the courts, lawyers and clients increasingly find themselves needing to strategically think about issues involving the search and retrieval of massive amounts of electronically-stored information.  This presentation will provide an overview of what lawyers currently do as part of e-discovery, and also how they can and should improve their current practices.  Included for discussion will be the research findings of what is known as the "TREC Legal Track," sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology), research aimed at comparing the efficacy of Boolean and alternative search methods as a matter of objective information science in the applied legal context of e-discovery.

Bio: Mr. Baron served as trial attorney and senior counsel at the Department of Justice, defending the government's interests in complex federal court litigation, including in cases involving the preservation of White House. He currently represents NARA on the Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Records Retention and Production, where he is a member of the Steering Committee and Editor-in-Chief of the Sedona Best Practices Commentary on the Use of Search and Information Retrieval Methods in E-Discovery, available at He also is a founding co-coordinator of the National Institute of Standards and Technology TREC legal track (see, a multi-year international information retrieval project devoted to evaluating search issues in a legal context.

He brought together scientists, academics and lawyers to discuss e-discovery issues as co-organizer of the First and Second International DESI Workshops (Discovery of Electronically Stored Information).

Mr. Baron has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of British Columbia, where he taught cyberspace law, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland's Graduate College of Information Studies.  He also presently serves on the Georgetown University Law Center Advanced E-Discovery Institute Advisory Board. His co-authored article,” Information Inflation: Can the Legal System Adapt?,” available online at the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology, has been widely cited.  Among his honors, Mr. Baron was recently named a recipient of the 2008 Fed 100 Award, sponsored by Federal Computer Week, for his e-discovery related advocacy.  Mr. Baron received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University, and his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.



It is part of the School's mission to disseminate research ideas and findings through Colloquia. New students and faculty enjoy this vibrant intellectual community.