General Duties and Qualifications
Examiners in this field are sometimes known as handwriting experts. Document examination, as herein defined, includes expertise in handwriting identification.
It does not involve the employment of calligraphic or engrossing skills nor does it involve the study of graphology, commonly defined as the art of determining character or personality. Questions about documents arise in business, finance, civil and criminal trials, or in any manner affected by the integrity of written communication and receipts.
Typical problems in this field are the identification of handwriting, typewriting, ink, paper, writing instruments, and relationships of documents. Other problems are the decipherment of obscure, deleted, or damaged parts of documents.
The work often includes a study of the information carried by a document for discovery of evidence of spuriousness, identification of persons, or to show significant relationships.
Microscopes and other optical aids, photographic cameras, and a wide variety of photographic material adaptable for use with a wide variety of lighting methods, including radiations in infrared and ultra-violet are used in the examinations.
Questions about documents are answered by the application of knowledge gained from experience and application of knowledge and techniques in a number of other fields such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics.
The field also embraces manufacturing processes and the materials that go into the production of documents, as well as the methods, machines, instruments, and human agencies by which the parts of documents are formed and brought together.
The results are usually incorporated into written reports for use by administrative and executive officers, boards, commissions, lawyers, and individuals. These reports are often made the subject of testimony under oath in civil and criminal trials. This requires the demonstration, by use of visual aids, of reasons for conclusions of determinations and requires further explanation under cross-examination.