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For more than 20 years, several federal agencies have supported the efforts of various scientific working groups, often referred to as SWGs, for the advancement of forensic standards and techniques.
Today there are over 20 SWGs in existence representing forensic disciplines including DNA, Firearms, Latent Prints, et al.
The Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination (SWGDOC) develops standards and guidelines for the field of forensic document examination. SWGDOC is composed of private examiners and government examiners from local, state, and federal laboratories throughout the United States. SWGDOC began in 1997 as TWGDOC (Technical Working Group for Questioned Documents), was renamed SWGDOC in 1999, and was reorganized in 2001. From 2000 to 2012 SWGDOC published their standards through The American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM). In 2012 SWGDOC stopped publishing their standards through ASTM and began self-publishing their standards as is the practice for nearly every other SWG group.
The forensic document examiner conducts scientific examinations, comparisons, and analyses of documents in order to: (1) establish genuineness or nongenuineness, or to reveal alterations, additions, or deletions, (2) identify or eliminate persons as the source of handwriting, (3) identify or eliminate the source of machine produced documents, typewriting, or other impression marks, or relative evidence, and (4) preserve and/or restore legibility. They also write technical reports and give expert testimony.
Forensic document examination does not involve the employment or practice of the study of handwriting in an attempt to create a personality profile or otherwise analyze or judge a writer's personality or character. Furthermore, the practice of personality profiling or character assessment based on handwriting is not a foundation for the practice of forensic document examination in whole or in part.
Experience in the following does not constitute expertise or training in whole or part in forensic document examination: calligraphy, penmanship, fraud investigation, law enforcement, loss prevention, banking, general criminalistics or other forensic disciplines, legal training, or laboratory management.