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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Spring 2003

URLs in this document have been updated. Links enclosed in {curly brackets} have been changed. If a replacement link was located, the new URL was added and the link is active; if a new site could not be identified, the broken link was removed.

Science and Technology Resources on the Internet

Forensic Science Resources on the Internet

Cynthia Holt
Science & Engineering Librarian
The Gelman Library
The George Washington University, Washington, DC

Audience, Scope & Methodology
Starting Points
Journals, Magazines & Newsletters: Indexed & Fulltext
Books and Case Files
Societies, Associations & Government Organizations
Chemistry & Toxicology
Crime Scene Investigation
Criminalistics and Trace Evidence
DNA Analysis
Firearms and Tool Marks
Questioned Document Examination
Miscellaneous Web Sites


"The forensic sciences refer to a group of subspecialties in science and medicine that apply their principles and methods to legal questions of a criminal or civil nature" (Nash and Faraino 1999, p.59). Forensic science includes, but is not limited to, pathologists, psychiatrists, odontologists, toxicologists, molecular biologists, entomologists, and criminalists. Practitioners are finding themselves increasingly in demand in the courtroom as expert witnesses. With the advent of shows such as {CSI: Crime Scene Investigation}, forensic science sites on the Web have multiplied exponentially. Sites are produced by government and professional organizations and forensic specialists, as well as by forensic scientist aspirants.

Audience, Scope & Methodology

This webliography is written for librarians who serve a scientific or technical clientele, and any person interested in learning more about forensic science information services.

The scope of this webliography is to point people to some of the best resources on the web for forensic science research and information. This is by no means comprehensive, and is focused on web sites based in the United States. Some of the annotations for the resources were drawn from the organization providing the resource. Since many of the metasites do not provide much of an annotation nor a description of a resource, a webliography such as this will provide more information about the content of a web site.

Much of the information for this webliography was found by browsing many of the existing web sites, links and pointers that others have provided. Some of the links and resources were found using articles listed in the References section (Nash and Faraino 1999 and Killoran 1996). I also used the search engine Google -- -- to verify changed URLs for some of the resources.

Starting Points

Zeno's Forensic Site
Zeno Geradts is a forensic scientist at the Netherlands Forensic Institute of the Ministry of Justice at the Digital Evidence section in the area of forensic (video) image processing and pattern recognition. This comprehensive page is one of the most complete sites in the field. Zeno has links to an extensive collection of sites arranged by subspecialty, including, but not limited to, DNA, hair and fibre, firearms, handwriting, forensic entomology, and forensic anthropology.

Reddy's Forensic Page
Reddy P. Chamakura is a forensic scientist with the Police Laboratory, New York City Police Department. Links to sites including, but not limited to, forensic science organizations, forensic science journals, colleges/universities with forensic programs, job opportunities, forensic science laboratories, law enforcement agencies, forensic home pages, forensic chemistry/narcotics, mass spectrometry, fingerprints, ballistics/firearms, microscopy, crime scene processing/investigation/photography, arson, DNA, toxicology, questioned documents, digital photography/imaging, image enhancing, web publishing/internet, and forensic mailing lists.
An information center in forensic science, law and public policy for lawyers, forensic scientists, educators, and public officials, maintained by Andre A. Moenssens, a Douglas Stripp Missouri Professor of Law Emeritus.

Kruglick's Forensic Resource and Criminal Law Search Site
Created by Kim Kruglick, a criminal defense lawyer in Mill Valley, California, this site pulls together resources arranged by forensic subspecialty. To see the forensic science categories from the main page, click on "Links to Over 1,000 Forensic Sites". The "A Beginner's Primer on the Investigation of Forensic Evidence" link on the main page leads to some useful primers in forensic sciences. Each of the subject pages provides a link to a bibliography in that area, although they are sometimes out of date.

Kulesh's Forensic Page
With the increasing growth of computer crimes in the world, forensic sciences has seen the establishment of a new breed of forensic scientist, the cybercrime specialist. Kulesh Shanmugasundaram, a graduate student in the computer science department at Polytechnic University in New York, has created a growing list of digital/cyber/computational forensic related resources. Although it may not be flashy and it lacks annotations, it is extensive. Resources are arranged into the categories: Conferences, People, "R&D Groups//Projects//News Groups", "News Groups//Mailing Lists, Papers, Articles//FAQs//Talks", Forensic Books, Tools, Other Forensic Links, and Organizations and conferences.

Yahoo Directory of Forensic Science Resources
Resources in this Yahoo directory are arranged by broad subject categories: College and University Departments and Programs, Companies, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Entomology, Forensic Nursing, Forensic Odontology, Forensic Psychiatry, Forensic Ps ychology, Forensic Toxicology, Government Laboratories, Organizations, Research, and Web Directories. Yahoo is a searchable directory built by humans. They have a team of real live humans (Yahoo! Surfers), who visit and evaluate suggested sites and decide where they best belong.

Google Web Directory in Forensic Sciences
Resources in the Google Web Directory in Forensic Sciences are arranged in a similar manner to the Yahoo directory. Google is a true search engine in that it has a robot or a software program that searches and indexes the Web. The Google Web Directory integrates Google's sophisticated search technology with Open Directory pages. Web Directory pages are enhanced with importance ranking. The web pages in the Google directory have been selected by thousands of volunteer editors from the Netscape Open Dir ectory Project, a large public directory managed by Netscape.

Journals, Magazines & Newsletters: Indexed & Fulltext

Indexed (with abstracts and some fulltext)


There is no one index to the forensic sciences literature making finding where a journal is indexed often a challenge. Several key forensic science journals are only indexed in one index, only on the publisher's web site, or are selectively indexed by multiple indexes (e.g., in the journal Science and Justice, a publication of The Forensic Science Society, PubMed indexes biological related articles -- such as DNA analysis, and Web of Science indexes non-biologically related articles -- such as firearms topics).

AFTE Journal Keyword Index (May 1969-Present)
This volunteer created database is the only index to the AFTE Journal. Scroll down to "download" and choose either MS Word or Adobe Acrobat format.

American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology (2001-Present)
Published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, the official journal of the National Association of Medical Examiners "features original articles on new examination and documentation procedures, as well as provocative discussions of the forensic pathologist's expanding role - in human rights protection, suicide and drug abuse prevention, occupational and environmental health, and other key areas. Unique special features include case reports, technical notes on new examination devices, and reports of medicolegal practices worldwide." Abstracts are available, as well as some whole issues available free in fulltext, for non-subscribers from 2001 to the present.

Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal
The Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal "is published quarterly and is devoted to the publication of original papers, comments and reviews in the various branches of forensic science. In particular, these are considered to include forensic chemistry, forensic toxicology (including blood and breath alcohol analysis), questioned documents, forensic odontology, firearms examination, forensic pathology, forensic biology (including serology, hair and fibre examination and molecular genetics) and forensic anthropology." Abstracts are available free to the public online from 1995 to the present. The fulltext of all book reviews is also available online.

Forensic Science International (1995-Present)
Forensic Science International "is an international journal publishing original contributions in the many different scientific disciplines pertaining to the forensic sciences. Such fields include, for example, forensic pathology and histochemistry, chemistry, biochemistry and toxicology (including drugs, alcohol, etc.), biology, (including the identification of hairs and fibres), serology, odontology, psychiatry, questioned documents etc., as well as investigations of value to public health in its broadest sense, and the important marginal area where medicine and the law overlap." It is published by Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. Volume 70 to the present are available fulltext online on ScienceDirect, Elsevier's online journal platform, to subscribers. Indexing and abstracting access to the journal is available free to all.

Forensic Science Review Indexes (1989-varies)
"Rapid advances in forensic science have created a need for a review journal to bridge the gap between research-oriented journals and reference volumes. The goal of Forensic Science Review is to fill this void and provide a base for authors to extrapolate state-of-the-art information and to synthesize and translate it into readable review articles." Indexes to this bi-annual journal are available by author and subject.

Identification Canada
Official publication of the Canadian Identification Society. Indexes to the journal contents are on the top menu bar. The indexes do not provide abstracts or any bibliographic information other than the title and the volume and issue.

Information Bulletin for Shoeprint/Toolmark Examiners
Published by the Marks Working Group, one of the technical Working Groups of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). The indexes and abstracts are included as pdf files.

International Journal of Legal Medicine (1997-Present) (formerly Zeitschrift für Rechtsmedizin)
"The International Journal of Legal Medicine is the continuation of the Zeitschrift für Rechtsmedizin and its predecessors and carries on their tradition, which goes back nearly 200 years." The journal is published exclusively in English, no longer even containing German summaries. Fields covered include "forensic pathology, including sudden death, thanatology, and demonstration of vital reactions; clinical forensic pathology, including such topics as non-accidental injury and rape; forensic haemogenetics, with special emphasis on the recent advances in DNA technology and PCR; forensic toxicology, as it relates for example to alcohol and drug addiction, and recent technology; and traffic medicine, with special reference to reconstruction, causal connections, and medical complications." The journal is published by Springer-Verlag and is the official publication of the International Academy of Legal Medicine. The online site includes electronic supplementary material that does not appear in the print publication.

Journal of Forensic Identification
"A scientific journal that provides over 115 pages of articles related to forensics. Such articles are written by either the IAI editor himself, and/or by forensic authorities from around the world employed in forensic science fields. Examples of articles include dispositions of the Daubert Hearings, exhaustive case studies of closed criminal cases, minutes of IAI business meetings, air disaster identification articles, field evidence instructions, crime scene processing covering blood pattern interpretation and latent print identification articles, forensic photography field examples to DNA analysis studies." The JFI also offers information specific about training and educational events, job postings and announcements as well as information about the business of the IAI. Only volumes from 1998-99 are indexed online presently although the fulltext of all issues from 1988 to the present are available on CD-ROM in pdf format.

Journal of Forensic Sciences, Comprehensive Index to (1981-Present)
Index to articles published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. All aspects of forensic science are covered. This is one of the most valuable indexes for finding articles in forensics.

NCJRS Abstracts Database (early 1970's-Present)
"The National Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts Database contains summaries of more than 170,000 criminal justice publications," including Federal, State, and local government reports, books, research reports, journal articles, and unpublished research. This is the only index which covers the Journal of Forensic Identification.

Science & Justice (formerly Journal of the Forensic Science Society)
Science & Justice is published quarterly by the Forensic Science Society. The table of contents for volume 36 to the present, as well as the fulltext of volume 37 and "recent articles of interest", are available online. Articles can be searched through a {keyword searchable index}. Book reviews from 1996 to 2001 are available fulltext through a searchable index.


Many forensic science related journals are published by associations, therefore they have been slow to appear fulltext on the Web or are only available fulltext online to members. Below are some publications that are available free to all.

Crime and Clues: The Art and Science of Criminal Investigation
Edited by Daryl W. Clemens, a Crime Scene Technician, this collection contains articles in various fields of forensic sciences written by experts.

The online version of the FACESforward newsletter, published by the Louisiana State University FACES Lab, explains how forensic anthropology and computer imaging (rather than old-fashioned clay reconstructions) are used to locate missing persons (by age-progressing old photographs) and how faces can be reconstructed from recovered bones. It also details advances in various subcategories of forensic anthropology, including forensic odontology, the science of identifying remains from dental records. As a warning, this page is very graphics intensive.

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is published monthly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The fulltext of articles from 1989-present is available on the FBI site. Issues from 1989-1995 are in ZIP format.

Forensic Science Communications
A forensic science journal published quarterly by FBI Laboratory personnel. The articles, relating to all aspects of forensic sciences (from cipher systems to mitochondrial DNA), are quite long and informative.

In the Spotlight: Forensic Science
"In the Spotlight" is a bi-monthly Web-based feature located on the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web site that focuses on crime, public safety and drug policy.


This subscription service from CRC Press, although not free, is an extremely important resource in forensic sciences as it provides online access to a growing list of fulltext books in forensics, criminal justice and law, and law enforcement.

Handbook of Forensic Services
The purpose of the Handbook of Forensic Services is to provide guidance and procedures for safe and efficient methods of collecting and preserving evidence and to describe the forensic examinations performed by the FBI Laboratory.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Electronic Reading Room
The fulltext of selected FBI investigation files are available in this electronic reading room through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Some portions are withheld under exemptions allowed by FOIA. The files are viewed using Adobe Acrobat and are often split into several files because of their size.

Societies, Associations & Government Organizations

Included in this section are societies, associations and government organizations which cover multiple specialties. For specialty specific organizations, refer to each specialty's section in this webliography.

American Academy of Forensic Sciences
A professional society dedicated for over 50 years to the application of science to the law. The AAFS publishes the Journal of Forensic Sciences. The Resources section includes forensic science programs at Universities and Colleges worldwide, information on forensic sciences as a career (an excellent overview of the various subspecialties in forensic sciences), and links to forensic science organizations and publications.

American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) is a nonprofit professional society formed in 1974 devoted to the improvement of crime laboratory operations through sound management practices. In the Forensic Links section are links arranged into three categories: Forensic related links, Advocacy related links and Safety related links. The Forensic Students section has an overview of what is needed to become a forensic scientists as well as information on the career itself (how much do they make, the type of work environment). For the practicing forensic scientist, the Employment section lists current job postings.

Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP)
"The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) is a tri-service agency of the Department of Defense specializing in pathology consultation, education and research." The site provides instructions on submitting consultation requests in surgical pathology and autopsy through an online form. All AFIP departments are represented on the site. The Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner presents {autopsy diagrams} and information on the Department of Defenses DNA specimen repository and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory. Its Forensic Toxicology Division provides guidelines for collection and shipment of toxicological analysis. The site also provides information on its medical education courses for physicians and professionals in other interrelated medical disciplines, some of which are available through the Internet.

Canadian Society of Forensic Science
The Canadian Society of Forensic Science (CSFS) is a non-profit professional organization incorporated to maintain professional standards, and to promote the study and enhance the stature of forensic science. The CSFS publishes the Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal. The STR DNA Data link is particularly interesting as it leads to the Population Studies Data Centre, which provides raw DNA data and frequency tables by ethnic groups from the Royal Canadian Mo unted Police and the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The FBI web site provides access to thousands of pages of frequently requested FBI documents (case files) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Electronic Reading Room. Documents are accessible through an alphabetical index and crime type categories.

"Since its founding in 1908, the FBI has been involved in many {famous cases}. The Office of Public and Congressional Affairs (OPCA) has prepared monographs on some of the most frequently requested, closed investigations." The monographs, arranged alphabetically and by crime, "should be considered to be overviews rather than exhaustive treatments."

The web site is home to three publications of the FBI: Forensic Science Communications (the journal of the FBI Laboratory), the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin and the Handbook of Forensic Services.

The Forensic Science Society
Founded in 1959, this British multidisciplinary society is dedicated to the application of science to the cause of justice. The Forensic Science Society publishes the journal Science & Justice. The Web Links section allows you to search the Forensic Science Society's WebLinks Database by keyword to find links. In the Bibliography section is a keyword searchable index to articles in the Journal of the Forensic Science Society and Science & Justice.

International Association for Identification
The International Association for Identification was incorporated in 1919. The Association publishes the Journal of Forensic Identification. The Links section lists a hodgepodge of identification links. The Job Listings section contains current job ads.

National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
"NIJ is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. NIJ provides objective, independent, non-partisan, evidence-based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice, particularly at the State and local levels." The NIJ publishes many of its reports fulltext online. Follow the Publications link on the lefthand menu bar to access these publications. NIJ also produces the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Abstracts Database, an index to more than 170,000 criminal justice publications.

Forensic Anthropology

"Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology to the legal process. The identification of skeletal, badly decomposed, or otherwise unidentified human remains is important for both legal and humanitarian reasons. Forensic anthropologists apply standard scientific techniques developed in physical anthropology to identify human remains, and to assist in the detection of crime. Forensic anthropologists frequently work in conjunction with forensic pathologists, odontologists, and homicide investigators to identify a decedent, discover evidence of foul play, and/or the postmortem interval. In addition to assisting in locating and recovering suspicious remains, forensic anthropologists work to suggest the age, sex, ancest ry, stature, and unique features of a decedent from the skeleton." (Carpenter 2003).

International Association for Craniofacial Identification (IACI)
The IACI, formed in 1988, is an organization comprised mainly of medical and scientific professionals throughout the world who specialize in Forensic Odontology, Forensic Anthropology, 2 and 3-dimensional Skull Reconstruction Techniques, Computer Based Skull Reconstruction, Facial Aging for Law Enforcement, and Facial Mapping, as well as Composite Sketching. The Craniofacial Identification Links are particularly useful. Craniofacial Identification Links are arranged into two columns with no annotations. Links range from traditional to computerized methods of craniofacial reconstruction.

Forensic Art
The site covers the various facets of forensic art, giving a brief description of each. This site is maintained by Wesley Neville, a forensic artist and polygraphist with the Florence County Sheriff's Office in Florence, South Carolina, and a member of the International Association for Identification (IAI) forensic art sub-committee. The abundance of graphics makes the site slow to load, but a lot of images are to be expected on an "art" site. The red print on black background and tiny font size might make the site somewhat hard to read for some folks but persevere as there are some excellent resources here.

A great introduction to human osteology, forensic anthropology, paleopathology, and histology by experts in their fields. Topics include age, sex, stature, race, pathology, trauma, taphonomy, identifying characteristics, and graduate education in forensic anthropology.

Forensic Botany

Forensic botany is the application of plant science to the resolution of legal questions. The use of botanical evidence in legal investigations is relatively recent. Today, forensic botany encompasses numerous subdisciplines of plant science: palynology (pollen), anatomy and dendrochronology (the study of tree rings), limnology (study of freshwater ecology, including diatoms), systematics (systematic expertise is required when the identity of suspected drug species, notably marijuana, is in question), ecology (ecological knowledge of plant species is useful to investigators in two main ways: to determine whether plant fragments recovered from a victim or object came from where it was found or from some other area, and in locating clandestine graves) and molecular biology. (Forensic Botany 2003).

Forensic Botany
One of the few comprehensive sites on the subject, the Forensic Botany site is a project in the Web Literacy For the Natural Sciences class at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. It offers excellent information through literature citations with information and definitions of the subdisciplines within the field, clearly explains botanical uses within forensics and provides case examples illustrating the described procedures and botanical evidence used. The "cited literature and links" section is particularly useful.

Forensic Palynology: A New Way to Catch Crooks
A comprehensive overview of the field of palynology, the study of palynomorphs (pollen) trapped in materials associated with criminal or civil investigation, is written by Vaughn M. Bryant, Jr., Palynology Laboratory, Texas A&M University, and Dallas C. Mildenhall, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand.

Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology

"Forensic Toxicology is, quite literally, the use of toxicology in courts of law. This is most often understood to mean the analysis of alcohol, drugs, and poisons in body fluids and the interpretation of those analytical results for the benefit of the courts. There is considerable overlap between forensic toxicology and clinical toxicology, criminalistics, forensic psychology, employment drug testing, environmental toxicology, forensic pathology, pharmacology, sports medicine, and veterinary toxicology. Consequently there are few 'pure' forensic toxicology sites on the Internet." (The World Wide Web Virtual Library: Forensic Toxicology 2003).

The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT)
Founded in 1963, this association groups over 1400 members from all regions of the world. The aims of this association are to promote cooperation and coordination of efforts among members and to encourage research in forensic toxicology. The members come from the police force, medical examiners and coroners' laboratories, horseracing and sports doping laboratories, hospitals, departments of legal medicine, pharmacology, pharmacy and toxicology. Enter the Open Area for resources for non-members. The Observatory provides a list of websites arranged by categories (on the left menu bar). Also useful is the MS Library, collecti ons of home-made reference electron impact mass spectra of derivatives produced by TIAFT members and made available freely on the Internet. "The intention is to complete commercial databases with new upcoming or uncommon substances or less frequent d erivatives of drugs."

The Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT)
SOFT, officially incorporated in 1983, is an organization composed of practicing forensic toxicologists and those interested in the discipline for the purpose of promoting and developing forensic toxicology. The Toxilinks section is particularly useful.

The World Wide Web Virtual Library: Forensic Toxicology
"The Virtual Library is the Web's original index, founded by Timothy Berners-Lee. In the original spirit of the Web, it is maintained as a public service by volunteers expert in their particular fields." This site is maintained by Alan Barbour, a forensic toxicology consultant with more than twenty-five years' experience in forensic toxicology and clinical laboratory science. Links are arranged within broad categories: forensic toxicology sites, directories of forensic expert witnesses, general forensic science links, and education and career guidance in forensic sciences.

Molecular Expressions: Optical Microscopy Primer
Microscopy is a very important in forensic sciences as microscopes are used extensively in crime labs. For forensic science students, this site, created by Michael W. Davidson, Mortimer Abramowitz, Olympus America Inc., and The Florida State University, provides an excellent introduction to Optical Microscopy, Digital Imaging, and Photomicrography . Topics covered include the physics of light and colour, an anatomy of the microscope, specialized microscopy techniques, digital imaging in optical microscopy, photomicrography, concepts and formulas in microscopy, fundamentals of stereomicroscopy, and interactive tutorials.

Guidelines for the Interpretation of Analytical Toxicology Results and Unit of Measurement Conversion Factors
This alphabetical table contains details of over 700 compounds. The table has been compiled within the limitations currently imposed by the restricted character set implemented on the World Wide Web. This limitation should be understood by all who make use of the table. This site was posted as a web table addition to an article appearing in the Annals of Clinical Biochemistry in 1998 (Flanagan 1998).
Individual access to ChemFinder is complimentary on a limited basis. "ChemFinder has been providing free chemical searching to hundreds of thousands of scientists since 1995." This free database includes chemical structures, physical propert ies, CAS Registry Numbers, and links to other web sites with information about your compound.

Mass Spectrometry Databases
Created by the Mass Spectrometry Database Committee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Toxicology Section, this site provides zip files of a comprehensive drug mass spectral library and the latest version of the mini-library of full mass spe ctra of newer drugs, metabolites and some breakdown products. This library is a "subset" of one that has been compiled over a period of many years by Dr. Graham Jones and colleagues in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Pure drug spectra, plus a few breakdown products and pure metabolite standards have been edited into a single library. The libraries use the Hewlett Packard DOS ChemStation and UNIX ChemSystem MSD operating systems.

Crime Scene Investigation

"Crime Scene Investigation involves the use of scientific methods, physical evidence, deductive reasoning, and their interrelationships to gain explicit knowledge of the series of events that surround the commission of a crime." (Carpenter 2003).
One-stop shopping for crime scene investigation links, articles, crime scene response and evidence collection guidelines, information on crime scene and evidence photography, training and employment and a bookstore. Links are arranged at the top level by broad categories and by subcategories within the pages. The site is maintained by The Crime Scene Investigator Network based in Temecula, CA.

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Tutorial
Bloodstain pattern analysis "is the examination of the shapes, locations, and distribution patterns of bloodstains, in order to provide an interpretation of the physical events which gave rise to their origin." This is an introduction to bloodstain pattern analysis by J. Slemko, a forensic consultant in Alberta, Canada.

Footwear & Tire Track Impression Evidence
Presented by C.A.S.T. (Chesapeake Area Shoeprint and Tire track), this site includes an interactive footwear examination tutorial for investigating shoeprints recovered from a crime scene. As well, there are extensive links on outsole evaluation, shoe and tire manufacturer contact information, tire web sites and instructions for evidence gathering. C.A.S.T. is a consortium of Footwear & Tire Track examiners organized as a Multi-Agency Forensic Cooperation (MAFC) group.

Criminalistics and Trace Evidence

"Criminalistics and Trace Evidence are both catch-all terms that apply to all types of physical evidence that may be circumstantial evidence in the trial of a case. Most often, the term is meant to include a variety of types of trace evidence analyzed by experts who are sometimes identified as 'microanalysts,' sometimes as 'trace evidence examiners,' or as 'criminalists,' or indeed by several different specialists. Microanalysts determine the nature of small items of trace evidence and compare it with known materials for the purpose of determining the origin of the trace evidence." (Carpenter 2003).

Latent Print Examination: Fingerprints, Palmprints and Footprints
An extensive web site devoted to links on latent fingerprints, including articles and a comprehensive list of legal challenges to fingerprints. This site is maintained by Ed German of the US Army Criminal Investigation Command, US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory.

Marks Working Group
The Marks Working Group is one of the technical Working Groups of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) and represents examiners working with shoeprint, toolmark, and other types of visual mark comparisons in forensic laboratories. The Group publishes the Information Bulletin for Shoeprint/Toolmark Examiners. The Marks Working Group collects a library of articles (bibliographies) covering various sub-disciplines of comparative visual examinations of interest to the mark examiners. In the Links section, this web site provides a link to {an interesting article on taking measurements of tiremarks}.

SWGFAST: Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology
A scientific working group of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to create consensus standards for fingerprint analysis and technology. Guidelines are provided in pdf format.

Ridges and Furrows
"This web site is the culmination of many hours spent researching topics related to forensic science" and the author's particular areas of interest: embryogenesis of friction skin (Histology of Thick Skin), enhancement of latent prints using digital technology and latent print identification. Categories include history, friction skin anatomy, scientific research, fingerprint patterns, and identification. This site was created by Mary Beeton, an A.F.I.S. Fingerprint Technician with the Durham Regional Police Service in Ontario, Canada.

Forensic DNA Analysis

"DNA forensic analysis relies on one key characteristic of DNA: the configuration is the same in all cells of an individual. Altogether each person carries around 200,000 genes in each cell, comprising three billion 'base pairs' -the chemical building blocks of DNA. Analyzing all these base pairs and genes in order to identify an individual would be impossible, with current technology. Instead, forensic scientists focus on certain genetic sequences called 'markers'. Here, the arrangement of genetic information is highly variable and particular to each person." (Carpenter 2003).

MITOMAP: A Human Mitochondrial Genome Database
A searchable "compendium of polymorphisms and mutations of the human mitochondrial DNA." The Mitomap Quick Reference section includes an extensive bibliography (Mitochondrial References) arranged alphabetically by author; the fulltext of the Mitochondrial Human Genome Report; Amino Acid Translation Tables; The Human Mitochondrial Sequence; a link to the Human Mitochondrial Protein Database; and Illustrations.

Mitochondrial DNA Concordance
"The Concordance of Nucleotide Substitutions in the Human mtDNA Control Region is compiled from nucleotide sequence data available in the public domain or supplied by accredited forensic laboratories world-wide."

Mitochondrial DNA Analysis in the FBI Laboratory
An informative article from Forensic Science Communications, the journal of the FBI Laboratory, which explains mitochondrial DNA and its use in the forensics laboratory to solve crimes.

Database of literature on Short Tandem Repeat DNA intended to benefit research and application of short tandem repeat DNA markers to human identity testing.

National Center for Biotechnology Information
Established in 1988 as a national resource for molecular biology information, NCBI creates public databases, conducts research in computational biology, develops software tools for analyzing genome data, and disseminates biomedical information.

Forensic Mathematics
Charles Brenner has been a consultant in forensic mathematics, which mostly pertains to DNA identification, since 1977. His well organized site presents discussions on topics in forensic mathematics, software, data, a bibliography with links to the full text of articles, and links to other sites in forensic DNA analysis.

Forensic Entomology

"Forensic Entomology, or Medicocriminal Entomology, is the science of using insect evidence to uncover circumstances of interest to the law, often related to a crime. The time of death, for example, can usually be determined using insect evidence gat hered from and around a corpse, provided the evidence is properly collected, preserved and analyzed by an appropriately educated forensic entomologist. Insect scientists, or entomologists, are being called upon with increasing frequency to apply their kno wledge and expertise to criminal and civil proceedings. They are also recognized members of forensic laboratories and medical/legal investigation teams." (American Board of Forensic Entomology 2003).

American Board of Forensic Entomology (ABFE)
The ABFE constitutes the first step toward a professional organization with strict educational, ethical and maintenance standards. The ABFE site provides a short but informative overview of the science and history of forensic entomology, as well as case studies in forensic entomology.

Forensic Entomology Pages, International
Created by Morten Stærkeby, a graduate student in entomology at the University of Oslo, who is now an independent consultant in forensic entomology in Norway. This web site provides a comprehensive overview of the many uses of insect and arthropod evidence as evidence. The organized site lists sections describing protocol and information regarding entomology in establishing time of death, movement of corpses, common insects found on bodies and case histories.

Forensic Entomology: Insects in Legal Investigations
Created by Dr. J.H. Byrd of the Department of Criminal Justice at the Virginia Commonwealth University, this site includes definitions, death scene procedures, life cycles, information on entomological collection equipment, an entomological field notes death scene form in pdf, and further links.

Ethics in Forensic Science

Ethics in Science
A hypermedia page residing in the Department of Chemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, with links to fulltext articles, bibliographies and selected essays on ethics in science. This page is no longer updated on a regular basis but most of the links are not dependent on their currency.

American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Ethical Guidelines for the Practice of Forensic Psychiatry
Ethical guidelines for forensic psychiatrists adopted May, 1987 and revised October, 1989.

American Society of Crime Lab Directors Code of Ethics
The major responsibility of the Ethics Committee is to handle all ethics complaints brought before the ASCLD Board of Directors and apply them to the Code of Ethics via the Enforcement Procedure of the Code of Ethics.


International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI)
Founded in 1973, the IABTI "is an independent, non-profit professional association formed for countering the criminal use of explosives." The site provides information on the organization and links to {explosives manufacturers}. Links to explosives manufacturers are limited to advertisers in The Detonator and exhibitors at the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) regional and international conferences. Links to bomb squad web sites are only accessible to members.

Analysis and Detection of Explosives: Published Papers, Reports and Presentations, 1988-1998
A reference bibliography compiled in 1999 by Charles R. Midkiff of the Technical Working Group for Fire and Explosives (TWGFEX).

Firearms, Tool Marks & Ballistics

Ballistics is the "study of a projectile in motion" (Brenner 2002) while firearms identification is primarily concerned with determining if a bullet, cartridge case or other ammunition component was fired by a particular firearm (Brenner 2002). These terms are often confused. Tool marks, or toolmarks, are marks left on an item by a tool; in the case of firearms, marks left by a part of the firearm on a cartridge case.

Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE)
Formed in 1969 to address the requirements of firearms and toolmark examiners, the AFTE publishes the AFTE Journal. This site includes: Ammunition Manufacturers/Distributors , an alphabetical list of ammunition manufacturers and distributors; Firearm Manufacturers/Distributors, an alphabetical list of firearm manufacturers and distributors; and Ballistics Links, an alphabetically arranged metasite of ballistics links. is a non-profit web site maintained by Jeffrey Scott Doyle (Firearm and Tool Mark Examiner with the Kentucky State Police Jefferson Regional Forensic Lab), that exists solely as an educational and/or investigative aid. This web site provides an extensive introduction to firearms identification. It is arranged by broad categories: Firearm identification, distance determinations, firearm function testing, expert witness testimony, new technologies - INIS, DrugFire, case profiles, the history of firearms ID, and career information.

Firearms Tutorial
This illustrated tutorial is "designed to give you a working knowledge of the types of firearms, the types of ammunition used, the nature of injuries that can be produced in the body, and the investigative techniques employed by the forensic pathologist in assessing firearms injuries." This tutorial is one of many created by The Internet Pathology Laboratory for Medical Education at Florida State University College of Medicine. This resource is designed for students and workers in the health care sciences studying pathology. Warning: Some of the images are quite graphic!

How Do Bullets Fly?
"This document attempts to explain the basics of the complicated subject of bullet motion through the atmosphere and avoids formulas as well as mathematics, but expects familiarity with the way of physical thinking. It includes new experimental observations of bullets fired from small arms, both at short and at long ranges. Numerous illustrations are included and can be viewed via links to promote further understanding. This article is also thought [of] as an introduction for all types of readers (hunters, sportsmen, ballisticians, forensic scientists), interested in the 'mysteries' of the exterior ballistics of bullets, fired from small arms." The author includes links to formulas related to bullet motion. The author is Ruprecht Nennstiel of Wiesbaden, Germany.

Feasibility of a California Ballistics Identification System
The California Department of Justice submitted the results to the Legislature in January 2003 on the feasibility of a ballistic fingerprinting database in California. The more technical information is contained in the Appendices to the report. Some of the "exhibits" in the appendices are not provided fulltext in the report but can be found fulltext on the Web or by contacting the authors of each appendix.

Forensic Odontology

"Odontology is the study of teeth. Forensic odontology is a specialized field of dentistry where, in a death investigation, identity has sometimes been established through analysis of the teeth and accompanying dental prosthetics, fillings and compou nds" (Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine 2003).

American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABFO)
The American Board of Forensic Odontology was organized in 1976 under the auspices of the National Institute of Justice with the mission to establish, enhance, and revise as necessary, standards of qualifications for those who practice forensic odontology, and to certify as qualified specialists those voluntary applicants who comply with the requirements of the Board. Detailed ABFO guidelines on human identification, bitemarks, development of a dental ID team and missing person and unidentified body cases are available in the {ID & Bitemark Guidelines} section.

Bureau of Legal Dentistry (BOLD)
The Bureau of Legal Dentistry provides current bibliographies on "Human, Animal Bites", "DNA Methods", "Mass Fatalities", "Human Identification", "Domestic Violence", and "Dental Jurisprudence" in the Research area.

Forensic Dentistry Online
A web site by the International Organisation for Forensic Odontostomotology (IOFOS) devoted to forensic dentistry. Includes information on identifications, bitemarks, journals and books on this fascinating subject. The links on the right side of the page are particularly useful. Many lead to fulltext articles. The IOFOS publishes the Journal of Forensic Odontostomatology.

Issues in Human and Animal Bite Mark (Bitemark) Management
Created by Mike Bowers, a forensic odontologist, this site provides a comprehensive overview, accessible through a hyperlinked table of contents, of bite marks in forensic sciences.

Questioned Document Examination

"A document is any material that conveys a message whether visible, invisible, or partially visible. Where a question, such as authorship or authenticity, arises in reference to a document, the document should be submitted to a Questioned Documents Examiner" (Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists 2003). "The application of allied sciences and analytical techniques to questions concerning documents is termed forensic document examination. The examination of questioned documents consists of the analysis and comparison of questioned handwriting, hand printing, typewriting, commercial printing, photocopies, papers, inks, and other documentary evidence with known material in order to establish the authenticity of the contested material as well as the detection of alterations" (Document Examination Consultants, Inc. 2003). "The terms forensic documents examinations (examiners) should be considered interchangeable with the terms questioned documents examinations (examiners) in light of the fact that 'forensic' is typically defined as 'pertaining to legal proceedings' " (Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists 2003).

American Society of Questioned Document Examiners
"The ASQDE was formally established on September 2, 1942. The purposes of the Society and of its members are to foster education, sponsor scientific research, establish standards, exchange experience, provide instruction in the field of questioned document examination, and to promote justice in matters that involve questions about documents." The site has an up-to-date database of court decisions relating to expert testimony about handwriting and document comparisons. ASQDE publishes the Journal of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners.

American Board of Forensic Document Examiners
Established in 1977, this organization provides a program of certification in forensic document examination with the dual purpose of serving the public interest and promoting the advancement of forensic science. Current employment opportunities are listed in the Jobs section and the Links section has some interesting links to cases involving questioned documents and legal issues.

Questioned Documents Site of Emily J. Will
Created by Emily J. Will, a Certified Document Examiner, this is a useful place to start for an overview of questioned document examination.

"Identifont uses a proprietary expert system to identify a typeface based on information about specific characteristics of the typeface." Identifont was designed and developed by Human-Computer Interface, a documentation and information desi gn company specialising in high tech products. Scan the text, upload the image, and this site will attempt to identify the font.

Virtual Typewriter Museum
The Virtual Typewriter Museum was conceived, designed and produced by mmworks, a Dutch based web design company, and is edited by Paul Robert. A virtual museum, based on private collections from around the world.

The Classic Typewriter Page
Information on typewriters is becoming harder to find, so this site is a welcome addition to the Internet. Maintained by Richard Polt, a Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University in Cinncinatti, Ohio, the "Typewriter Facts" section is useful to questioned document examiners while the remainder of the links are more for typewriter enthusiasts.

Bookbinding: A Tutorial
Originally created in 1995, "Bookbinding: A Tutorial" is maintained by Douglas W. Jones, of the University of Iowa Department of Computer Science and Center for the Book. This text was written after consultation with staff of the University of Iowa Book Conservation Laboratory, and an early draft of this text was reviewed by a preservation librarian for the Research Libraries Group. Access to the information is in the form of a hyperlinked table of contents with links to other resources at the end.

"This web site provides a guide to over 200 different alphabets, syllabaries and other writing systems, including a few you will find nowhere else. It also contains details of many of the languages written with those writing systems and links to a wide range of language-related resources, such as fonts, online dictionaries and online language courses." The A-Z Index of all the writing systems and languages featured on this site is comprehensive and extensive, detailing the alphabets of each language. The site was created by Simon Ager, a web developer from England with a keen interest in languages.

A web site dedicated to typography and its history. Although there is not much information on the authority of the site, the content is trustworthy and well designed. Particularly of use to someone new to questioned document examination is the Anatomy section.
This site allows for on-line viewing of samples of all fonts in the monotype catalog. The "Search By Sight" feature enables you to identify a font from a sample by answering a series of simple questions. It is ideal if you want to match an existing ty peface, or identify a typeface you have seen in a publication. You can also search by keyword, classification or designer, in addition to browsing alphabetically by font family. is owned and operated by Agfa Monotype Corporation, a worldwide marketer over 8,000 high-quality fonts.


Glossary of Terms of the Death Investigation
A single page glossary of forensics terms maintained by the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine.

Forensic DNA Glossary
This work appears as Appendix A in "An Introduction to Forensic DNA Analysis, 2nd edition", by Norah Rudin and Keith Inman, CRC Press, 2002 (Inman and Rudin 2002).

Glossary of Typography
Choose the glossary option from the menu bar at the top of the screen to access the extensive definitions of terms of interest to questioned document examiners. Created by CounterSpace.

Glossaries in Fingerprint Analysis
Created by SWGFAST, a scientific working group of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to create consensus standards for fingerprint analysis and technology. The glossaries can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat.

  • Friction Ridge Automation, {}
  • Anatomy, {}
  • Identification, {}
  • Identification (Supplement), {}
  • Fingerprint Classification, {}
  • Latent Print Processing, {}

Genetics and DNA Glossaries
Glossaries created by Promega Corporation, a reagent and reagent systems supply company. Both glossaries are arranged alphabetically with a hyperlinked alphabetic index at the top.

  • {Genetic Identity Glossary}
  • {Acronyms Used in the Literature of Genome Research}
    The first time you connect, you will need to select your location before you can get to the glossary.

On-Line Medical Dictionary (OMD)
"OMD is a searchable dictionary created by Dr. Graham Dark and contains terms relating to biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, medicine, molecular biology, physics, plant biology, radiobiology, science and technology. It includes acronyms, jarg on, theory, conventions, standards, institutions, projects, eponyms, history, in fact anything to do with medicine or science. It aims to provide a one-stop source of information about all medical and scientific terms and includes many useful cross-refere nces and pointers to related resources elsewhere on the Internet, as well as bibliographical reference to paper publications. It lacks many entries which one can find in paper dictionaries but contains more encyclopedia-like entries and entries on various subjects. It also contains many definitions in related areas. The dictionary started in early 1997 and has grown, to contain over 46,000 definitions." Entries are cross-referenced to each other and to related resources elsewhere on the net.

Forensic Botany Glossary
Created by the Forensic Botany site as a project in the Web Literacy For the Natural Sciences class at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. All definitions are hyperlinked to their original source.

Miscellaneous Web Sites

Forensic Science Timeline
This "work in progress" is compiled by Norah Rudin, a forensic consultant and expert witness in forensic DNA. It can also be found as an appendix in the book Principles and Practice of Forensic Science: The Profession of Forensic Science published by CRC Press in 2000 (Inman and Rudin 2000).


American Board of Forensic Entomology. [Online]. Available: {}. [April 14, 2003].

Brenner, J.C. 2002. Forensic science glossary. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC. [Online]. Available: {} [April 14, 2003].

Carpenter, R. S. Forensic Science Resources. [Online]. Available: [April 14, 2003].

Document Examination Consultants, Inc. Selecting a Forensic Document Examiner. [Online]. Available: {}. [April 14, 2003].

Flanagan, R.J. 1998. Guidelines for the interpretation of analytical toxicology results and unit of measurement conversion factors. Annals of Clinical Biochemistry, 35: 261-7.[Online]. Available: {}. [April 14, 2003].

Forensic Botany. [Online]. Available: {}. [April 14, 2003].

Inman, K. and Rudin, N. 2002. An Introduction to Forensic DNA Analysis, 2nd edition. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC.

________. 2000. Principles & Practice of Criminalistics: The Profession of Forensic Science. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC.

Killoran, K.B. 1996. Forensic science: A library research guide. Reference Services Review, Winter: 15-30.

Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists. Questioned Document Section. [Online]. Available: {}. [April 14, 2003].

Nash, M.R. and Faraino, R.L. 1999. Internet resources in legal medicine and forensic science. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 18(1): 59-68.

Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine. 2003. Glossary of forensic science terms related to a death investigation. [Online]. Available: {}. [April 14, 2003].

The World Wide Web Virtual Library: Forensic Toxicology. [Online]. Available: [April 14, 2003].

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