Forensic Database

The forensic research database helps you find thousands of resources about forensic science & technology, the law of scientific evidence & expert witnesses, and more. Find:

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Top Forensic News Story

What's New At NCSTL ... is used as a resource in over 170 countries

New Partnership Announced: NCSTL and the Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) at the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service are developing an online course "Locating, Evaluating and Selecting Expert Witnesses" together. Applications are being filed to award CEUs to attorneys, law enforcement professionals, and forensic scientists. The course will be online in early 2015. The NCSTL/LEIC partnership is an exciting opportunity to showcase our organizations' talents in forensic science technology innovation and training. Both LEIC and NCSTL received the IACP August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award for Innovation in Forensic Technology - LEIC in 2007 and NCSTL in 2010. Our organizations have trained over 43,500 professionals. This project is timely. The National Forensic Science Commission and the Organization for Scientific Area Committees, two of the federal government’s latest forensic science efforts, are exploring the development of resources for forensic science training for legal, scientific and law enforcement professionals. The project will showcase an engaging type of education which uses video and demonstrations rather than the common lecture method. It will also demonstrate how the NCSTL database may be used for scientific evidence research.

Forensic Science Is A Global Concern: Dr. Maria Corazon A. De Ungria informs us on forensics in the Philippines. Currently, she heads the DNA Analysis Laboratory of the Natural Sciences Research Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman, QC. Dr. De Ungria was appointed the Director of the Program on Forensic and Ethnicity of the Philippine Genome Center. She will further develop DNA forensics and study Filipino ethnicities to initiate projects with other scientists and universities. This will magnify the benefits of rigorous scientific research in the Philippines. Dr. De Ungria assisted as a technical resource in the Philippine Judicial Academy during the formulation of the Rule on DNA Evidence which was promulgated by the Supreme Court in 2007. In cooperation with Drs. Jose Lorente and Arthur Eisenberg, Dr. De Ungria is promoting the use of DNA to combat child trafficking in the Philippines under the DNA-Prokids initiative. Dr. De Ungria launched the Innocence Project Philippines Network with a small team of human rights advocates. The network seeks to help inmates in different Philippine penal colonies who claim to have been wrongfully convicted . She has been awarded many important, prestigious scientific awards. Presentation.

What's new in ...

Science: New initiative to strengthen/enhance the practice of forensic science established: National Commission on Forensic Science and NIST Forensic Sciences - Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC).

New Test to Identify Identical Twins Using DNA Being Used for the First Time in a Criminal Case. A new cutting edge DNA test performed by a European company is able to distinguish genetic material from monozygotic (identical) twins. Identical twins come from a single fertilized egg composed of the same genetic material. Prior to the development of this test, monozygotic material could not be distinguished by conventional DNA testing, confounding prosecutors who might otherwise be able to build a solid case. New York Times, 2014.

Technology: Apple iOS Now Targeted in Massive Cyber Espionage Campaign. An extensive and sophisticated cyber espionage operation targeting mainly Western military, government, defense industry firms, and the media, now has a new weapon: a spyware app for Apple iPhones and iPads. Forensic Magazine, 2015.

Law: Using Faulty Forensic Science, Courts Fail the Innocent (Op-Ed) Historically, forensic science has had a huge impact on identifying and confirming suspects in the courtroom, and on the judicial system more generally. And yet, a 2009 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) identified numerous shortcomings in the field, including an absence of a scientific basis for most forms of forensic evidence, a lack of uniform standards and the need for independence from law enforcement. In short, the report called for nothing less than major reform.

Forensic scientists have been an integral part of the judicial process for more than a century. The most well-known and widely used forensic evidence involves fingerprints left at a crime scene, which Edmond Locard and Francis Galton in the 19th century asserted as "unique" and reliably capable of identifying a single individual ("The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900 by Stephen M. Stigler," Harvard University Press, 1986). Other types of material then followed, such as other forms of pattern evidence (e.g., shoe prints, tool marks, tire tracks, bite marks and handwriting analysis) and chemical signatures, such as compositional analysis of bullet lead (CABL) and the presence or absence of 13 specific alleles found in human DNA. LiveScience, 2015

Education and Training
Capital Litigation picture

NCSTL has trained more than 13,500 people worldwide. That number is increasing because the NCSTL educates online. Specifically, the NCSTL has released the following CLE/CE Programs: SANE-SART Training for Forensic Nurses, A Collaboration Between NCSTL and SANE-SART Resource Services, Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert, sponsored by National Institute of Justice (NIJ), housed on, billed by NIJ as "one of the most popular courses EVER", Forensic Science Course for Capital Litigators - Self-Study which focuses on forensic science. Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert has been a very popular course published on two years ago.

NCSTL conducts in-person training. Under a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), NCSTL has conducted many training workshops on the use of forensic science in capital cases over the past several years. See Education and Training Section of this website.

What is NCSTL? is the only online resource in the world that concentrates on the nexus of science, technology, and the law. Focusing on forensic science and scientific evidence, educates and shares information with scientists, legal professionals, law enforcement, academics, and the public.

Two handouts - The Database and Everything Else - and a YouTube video Introduction to NCSTL describe the NCSTL.

How we help you offers specialized resources for:

Academics: teachers & students
Law Enforcement
Legal Professionals
Scientists/Technologists provides:

• A forensic research database
• A newsletter about the latest forensic topics
• A calendar on forensic conferences and seminars
Resource pages on law, expert witnesses, and current forensic topics
Interlibrary loans for forensic resources
• Video/audio lectures presented by experts
• Interactive educational programs
• Dozens of bibliographies

Friday Mar 27, 2015

Search the forensic database
for thousands of other forensic audio-video casts.

#NISTForensics 2014 Webcast available for playback! Watch.

NIJ Final Technical Reports: These reports are the results of NIJ-funded projects but were not published by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Causes and Characteristics of Elder Abuse is a report which is the result of an NIJ-funded project but was not published by the U.S. Department of Justice. Authors are: Kristy Holtfreter, Ph.D., Arizona State University (ASU); Michael D. Reisig, Ph.D., ASU; Daniel P. Mears, Ph.D., Florida State University; Scott E. Wolfe, Ph.D., University of South Carolina.

Despite increased concerns about fraudulent activities that target elderly individuals, little is known about the prevalence of such fraud, the factors that give rise to it, or the effectiveness of efforts to reduce it. The study’s three specific objectives were to:

  • determine the nature, incidence, and prevalence of fraud victimization among elderly consumers in Arizona and Florida;
  • identify risk and protective factors associated with fraud victimization in this population; and
  • evaluate the elderly population’s awareness and use of state-based programs, including reporting fraudulent behavior to law enforcement.

The study revealed that nearly 6 of every 10 participants were targeted by a fraud attempt in the year prior to the study. Approximately 14% of the individuals in the full sample were victims of fraud within the past year. Most respondents were not familiar with state programs designed to assist elderly victims of fraud.

The Scientific Working Group on Disaster Victim Identification (SWGDVI) has posted three draft documents for public review and comment. The documents are posted on the “Public Review and Comments: Open” page of the SWGDVI website. Your feedback is valuable in the development of SWGDVI products. Instructions for review and comment are provided via the aforementioned link.

The newly posted documents are:

  1. Data Management: Guidelines for the Medicolegal Authority
  2. Family Assistance Center: Guidelines for Medicolegal Authorities
  3. Molecular Biology Considerations for Human Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents
For general information regarding the SWGDVI, please refer to SWGDVI website.

FBI Child Forensic Interview Training is part of the Office for Victim Assistance for which there are four FBI forensic specialists who interview kids, adolescents, and young adults who are victims and/or witnesses of crime. The purpose of the investigative interview, the forensic interview, is to gather statements that can be used in court.

From Bitstreams to Heritage: Putting Digital Forensics into Practice in Collecting Institutions examines the application of digital forensics methods to materials in collecting institutions – particularly libraries, archives and museums. It is a product of the BitCurator project and is written by Drs. Christopher A. Lee, Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor and research associate, Kam Woods of SILS; Matthew Kirschenbaum, associate director of MITH; and SILS doctoral student Alexandra Chassanoff.