General Forensic Science Resources
Forensic sciences have become an extremely important and valued aspect of the criminal justice systems around the world. This resource guide is a great place to start research on forensic science and its subfields. The following resources are to online textbooks, articles, organizations, and guides that provide information on the advancements, developments and the value these fields of forensic science provide in the criminal justice system. You will find information on specific cases involving forensic sciences as well as online activities and games to better understand some forensic sciences.
Forensic Science Fields of Expertise:
- Case of Cameron Todd Willingham – from the Dallas Morning News this article is about the execution of a man in 2004 who had been convicted of murder with evidence from arson investigative practices later found to be unreliable.
- Arson Investigations – information for how to determine whether a fire was set intentionally or by accident.
- FAQs about Arson Investigators – information on what it means to be a state arson investigator.
- Crime Scene Investigators - an overview of how forensic arson analysis is conducted.
- Where did the Fire Start? – an article on how forensic arson investigators determine where fires have started.
Chemistry and Drugs
- Forensic Chemistry Lab Manual – this lab manual has information on forensic chemistry analysis, including crime scenarios for using forensic chemistry analysis
- ChemBioFinder – a scientific database with information and news on a wide range of drugs, chemical compounds, reactions, and how to collect forensic chemistry data.
- Forensic Chemistry Articles – a resource list of articles on many aspects of forensic chemistry
- CAS – this organization is a division of the American Chemical Society and dedicated to providing comprehensive chemical information through its database.
- SWGDRUG – the Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs recommends standards for forensic examination of seized drugs.
Digital Evidence and Image Processing
- Doctored Images Uncovered – an article on how digital forensics are used to determine whether an image has been doctored or not.
- Forensic Uses of Digital Imagining - this online book has information on digital evidence and how it is processed.
- Tech Beat – this PDF paper is dedicated to showing how digital evidence is important to the criminal justice system.
- Digital Image Enhancement – this article covers how enhancing images in digital evidence can make images identifiable.
- Digital Imagining Tutorial - this online tutorial covers the basic terminology technical infrastructure and digital preservation on digital evidence.
- Digital Intelligence – resource for information on forensic hardware, software, training, and services for digital evidence.
Forensic DNA Analysis
- DNA Terminology – a PDF format glossary of some of the most important terms in DNA testing.
- Forensic DNA Typing – an overview of all of the different types of DNA testing and how that testing is conducted.
- DNA Initiative – this organization is dedicated to advancing criminal justice through DNA technology
- DNA for Non-Scientists – information and illustrations helping to explain DNA testing and data collection.
- ASQDE – the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners has a database of information, references and referral listings for learning more about forensic document examination.
- BFDE – the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners provides information on advancements in documentation examination techniques as well as job listings and links to other document examination links.
- SAFDE – this group provides information on workshops, training opportunities, and career opportunities in the field of forensic document examination
- What is Forensic Document Examination? – from the SAFDE this is an overview of what forensic document examination is.
- What is Forensic Engineering? – an overview of forensic engineering and its value to criminal justice.
- Forensic Engineering Information - an overview of forensic engineering and its history as well as links to other forensic engineering sites and associations.
- Law and Regulations – from the U.S. Department of Justice here is a text version of the Federal Explosives Law and Regulations.
- IABTI – the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators provides information and news on countering criminal use of explosives.
- Explosion and Bombing Scene Investigation – from the U.S. Department of Defense, this is a guide for the proper way to investigate explosion and bomb sites.
Fingerprint Identification and Analysis
- IAI Resource Library – an online library from the International Association for Identification with a wide range of online materials for finding information on fingerprint analysis and other forms of identification.
- CLPEX – find information on fingerprint analysis from discussions between and research conducted by fingerprint examiners here.
- Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers - this organization is dedicated to providing fingerprint officers with reference materials, training, and information to aid in better fingerprint analysis.
Firearms and Ballistics
- The History of Firearm and Toolmark Identification – an overview of the history of firearm identification dating back to the early 1800s.
- International Ballistics Society – this society is dedicated to promoting the science of ballistics and firearm identification
- Firearms Tutorial – this tutorial covers the statistics, history, terminology and other aspects of firearm and ballistics identification.
- Firearms, the Law, and Forensic Ballistics – an online text by Tom Warlow that explores the forensics and laws surrounding firearms.
- Firearms Identification – an overview of different types of testing and analysis that go into firearm identification.
- Ballistics – an article explaining what ballistics is and how it functions to identify weapons in investigations.
- Forensic Science Articles – from The New York Times this is a resource for articles on forensic science being used in current cases and how the science of forensics has evolved.
- A Career in Forensics - this paper is an overview of what a career in forensics looks like, including the education it takes to become a forensic scientist as well as the job responsibilities of those in that field.
- Scientific Evidence Reference Manual – this reference manual provides information on a wide range of topics in the forensic sciences.
- Forensic Science Resources - a resource guide for those wanting to extend their knowledge of forensic science and the subfields of that science.
- Expert Witness Network – this website links attorneys and expert witnesses making it easier for attorneys to find expert witnesses to testify or share information regarding their case.
- Crime Scene – access news, information and case files in which forensics were an intricate part of solving the case.
- Reddy’s Forensic Page – an enormous resource guide for finding information on forensic science and all of its subfields.
Hairs/ Fibers/ Palynology
- Forensic Fiber Examination Guidelines - from the Federal Bureau of Investigation these are the guidelines for collecting fiber samples, and how to examine and analyze them
- Forensic Hair Comparison – an article from the FBI’s website that gives background information on hair comparisons to assist in better knowledge and techniques for interpretation of hair samples and comparisons.
- Atlas of Animal Hair – a great resource for finding information on animal hair, available in both Russian and English.
- Introduction to Forensic Audio – an overview of what forensic audio sciences are, what they do, and how they’ve evolved.
- Audio Forensics Glossary - a glossary of terms and words associated with audio and linguistic forensics.
Photography and Crime Scene Reconstruction
- Forensic Photography Overview – a comprehensive overview of forensic photography.
- Photo Tampering Throughout History – a slide show demonstrating and explaining how photographs have been tampered with throughout history.
- EPIC – the Evidence Photographers International Council provides educational resources for the advancement of evidence photography.
- Forensic Photographer – insight into what a career in forensic photography looks like.
- 3D Crime Scene - an interactive online crime scene that illustrates the importance of photography for reconstructing crime scenes.
Toolmarks, Shoeprints, Locks
- Shoeprint and Tire Tread Examinations – from the FBI’s official website, scroll down to find out how shoeprint evidence was used in the Simpson-Goldman murders.
- Forensic Database – a database from the National Institute of Justice, providing articles on many aspects of trace evidence collection and analysis.
- Toolmarks – an overview of what toolmarks are and how they are examined and analyzed.
- AFTE – the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners maintains this website providing information on tool mark examinations and referrals for expert witnesses.
- Lock Picking Forensics – an article on the marks left behind in lock picking.
- Forensic Locksmithing – an article on what it means to be a forensic locksmith a.k.a. an investigative locksmith and what they do.
- Forensic Toxicology Basics - this is an online text covering the basics of forensic toxicology and advancements and developments in finding and analyzing toxicology data.
- SOFT – the Society Of Forensic Toxicologists provides information, activities, and events for extending knowledge in forensic toxicology
- SOT – Society Of Toxicology has information and news for advancing science in toxicology.
- ABFT – American Board of Forensic Technology has guidelines for certification, lab accreditation, and ethics in the field of forensic toxicology.
- Basic Uses of Forensic Toxicology - an article on different types of forensic toxicology like measuring alcohol in the blood, identification of drugs, and gas chromatography.
- Forensic Toxicology Database – a database of compounds often used and examined in forensic toxicology.
- Clinical Forensic Medicine - an online book on the history and evolution of clinical forensic medicine.
- Collection Development Manual - from the National Library of Medicine this manual has information on the proper techniques and practices for collecting data for medical and forensic purposes.
- Forensic Medicine Overview - a complete and comprehensive overview of forensic medicine and its two subcategories forensic pathology and autopsy.
- Forensic Medicine Information and Links - from the Encyclopedia of Britannica, this article covers the definition and evolution of forensic medicine as well as provides links to other information on forensic medicine.
- ABFA – the American Board of Forensic Anthropology provides information on the policies and procedures used in forensic anthropology.
- Forensic Anthropology Outline – this outline includes overviews of the different subfields in forensic anthropology.
- All About Forensic Science - an overview of forensic anthropology and news and information on the advancements and developments in the field of forensic anthropology.
- Forensic Anthro – an overview of forensic anthropology and resources for books, education, and associations on that field of study.
- Forensic Anthropology Video – a video from the perspective of a forensic anthropologist explaining what it’s like to be a forensic anthropologist.
- Overview of Forensic Odontology - a complete and comprehensive overview of forensic odontology and what that field of study entails.
- History of Forensic Odontology – a history of forensic odontology dating back to 66 A.D.
- Forensic Odontology Tools - a paper from 2001 on the new tools and advancements in forensic odontology.
- BOLD – the Bureau Of Legal Dentistry provides information on aspects of forensic odontology like investigation, identification, analysis, and expert testimony.
- Bite Mark Standards and Guidelines – standards and guidelines for bite mark terminology, evidence, and evaluations.
- Forensic Entomology Investigation – this is a hypothetical overview of what forensic entomology investigations look like and how data is collected.
- Insect Investigations – overview of forensic entomology as well as guidelines for crime scene investigations.
- What is a Forensic Entomologist? – an overview of what a forensic entomologist is and the whats, whys and hows of the research they conduct
- Entomological Society of America – this organization provides news and information on events, breakthroughs, and advancements in entomology
- Forensic Entomology Power Point - this Power Point presentation is an overview of forensic entomology and the insects often examined and focused on in this field of study.
- Forensic Entomology by Gordon Ramel - an overview of forensic entomology as well as reviews of books, and links to more information on the study of insects.
- The History of Forensic Psychology - a complete and comprehensive overview of the history of forensic psychology and how it has evolved since the late 1800s.
- Forensic Psychology Database – find links to online texts and information on forensic psychology.
- Specialty Guidelines – from the Committee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists here is a complete text of the guidelines for different specialty fields in forensic psychology.
- Forensic Psychology Website - an overview of what forensic psychology is and specific areas of work included in that science.
- Forensic Psychiatry Resources – resources to websites, books, and article on forensic psychiatry.
Forensic Science Links
Forensic science, which includes fields such as forensic medicine, ballistics, and toxicology, is an extremely popular field of study. The subject owes its place in the public imagination to television shows like CSI, but the actual practice of scientific investigation of crime is a very real industry with various organizations and companies, including private investigators, devoted to one or more of its specialties. This page is a good place to start for students seeking information on the study of, or careers in, forensic science. There is also a short list of consulting firms compiled here that provide a broad range of services, although hundreds of others with a more specialized focus can be found.
Cold Cases and Specific Crimes
- Cold Case Center – lists references and links to individual examples of unsolved crimes.
- Cold Cases – from the City of San Antonio’s official website, lists unsolved homicides by year.
- Missing Persons and Unsolved Crimes – part of Fugitive Hunter.org, provides links to cold cases by state.
- Nancy Grace’s Cold Cases - is a list of articles and video clips from CNN’s special section on cold case files.
- The Serial Killer Crime Index – lists serial killers from all over the world alphabetically, detailing the dates in which they were active and the nature of their murders.
- “Top 10 Unsolved Crimes” – is Time Magazine’s list of historical cases with images and lists of suspects.
Companies and Consulting Services
- CastleView Forensics Ltd. – is a comprehensive British resource on the subject, providing educational resources and links to professional services.
- Crime Scene Forensics, LLC – provides consulting services on blood stain patterns, car accident reconstruction, fingerprints, and other crime scenes.
- Crime Scene Specialists Inc. – offers consulting and links to articles, but also specialized training for forensic experts.
- DisputeScience Ltd. – is a company that arbitrates conflict all over the world, and operates out of New Zealand.
- Forensics Guy – is a consulting company that houses a ballistics and DUI lab. The site also provides a blog and some introductory information on forensic science.
- Imprimus – aside from providing consulting services, also gives courses in subjects such as death investigations and writing reports.
- Inforce – is an international organization based out of the U.K. that investigates genocide and other international-level crimes, and provides humanitarian aid.
- Northwest Labs – has facilities set up to investigate any number of concerns that require scientific expertise. The site includes a forensics tab.
- QuincyTech – provides software and IT services for forensic agencies with the goal of reducing their day-to-day workload.
Educational Resources (K-12)
- Forensic Science & Biometrics - provides links to references intended for use in science projects (grades 1-12) or in teaching.
- Forensics Illustrated – is a rich resource of units, worksheets, syllabi, and other high school-level forensic science materials.
Educational Resources (Post-secondary)
- After the Fact - is a set of CD-ROM and virtual crime scene tools to help in training investigators.
- All Criminal Justice Schools – categorizes university programs related to law enforcement by field, and includes programs for forensic sciences.
- Forensic Science – is part of the ThinkQuest library, providing detailed descriptions of forensic concepts with images.
- Forensic Science.org – focuses on careers and education programs in the field, providing introductory information on both, and links.
- LawInfo () gives introductory explanations of legal concepts, answers to frequently asked questions about legal issues, and links to legal forms. The site also provides a search engine for finding attorneys.
- The Legal Information Institute – a part of Cornell University’s Law School, describes legal concepts, provides definitions, and provides links to references, all geared toward users who do not have a professional background in law.
- The National Museum of Crime and Punishment – in Washington D.C. offers fun and interesting resources about historical crimes and more recent ones.
- Online Forensics Degree Programs – is a section of EarnMyDegree.com that lists nationwide forensic science programs.
- All About Forensic Science.com – is a thorough online guide that covers investigative methods and forensic specialties.
- CopSeek.com - is a general directory of law enforcement agencies, websites, references, and links, organized by category and by country.
- Crime and Clues – is a vast information resource, providing full-text articles from, and links to, reliable sources. The site also publishes its own editorials and articles.
- Ex-FBI-Agents.com – conducts private investigations, offers consultations, and provides other services, drawing from the expertise of former FBI agents who sign on as members.
- FindLaw – is an enormous database for attorneys and other legal experts, providing links to blogs, reference materials, expert witnesses, and other resources.
- Forensic Science and Forensic Medicine – provides introductory information about sub-disciplines of forensics.
- Forensics.ca – is a Canadian resource with news, career information, discussions, and links.
- JustNet – or Justice Technology Information Network, is a large resource on forensic science and law enforcement, providing numerous articles from periodicals and news sources, organized by field.
- Law.com – is a large source of legal news, surveys, and directories of legal resources, including expert witnesses.
- The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law - or NCSTL.org, includes a broad, searchable database of forensic science topics. News and other legal resources are provided as well.
- Crimelynx – categories numerous links on anything crime-related, including editorials, news, and references.
- Forensic Joubegin.nl - is a Netherlands-based resource that lists a huge number of links on very specific forensic science topics
- Forensic Science – is EDinformatics’s list of forensic science links. Related links on biometrics and crime in general are provided as well.
- Kruglick’s Forensic Resource and Criminal Law Search Site - organizes links to the titular subjects by category, such as “Criminal Law Links” and “Legal Search Engines.”
- Reddy’s Forensic Page – is a site put together by a retired forensic scientist that lists links organized by category.
- Rominger Legal – organizes a wide range of links about crime in general by category, including state. Most of the resources are professional or official.
Message Boards and Forums
- Crime Castle Files - is a message board about cold cases, most wanted lists, and other forensics topics.
- The Forensics and Crime Discussion Board – is divided into several specialized sections, including one on general forensic science questions.
- MassCops – or Massachusetts Law Enforcement Network, has a detailed and ongoing number of discussions about topics ranging from federal agencies to careers in law enforcement.
- Author Andrea Campbell – writes books on various forensic sciences (and other topics). Her site promotes these books. Her blog about the differences between CSI on television and real investigations can be found here
- Forensic Science.net – focuses on how to become a forensic scientist/investgiator and on the different sub-disciplines.
- Forensic Science Central - compiles articles and links, and provides a forum and online store on the subject of forensic science.
- The Forensic Technology Review - is a free online journal that requires registration.
- Dr. Stephen Doak – is an Irish forensic expert who has appeared on radio programs and in numerous publications.
- The AOAC - or the Scientific Association Dedicated to Analytical Excellence, works with governments and industries to provide general investigative services, including drug analysis, training, and disease control.
- The American Academy of Forensic Sciences - maintains a journal and holds conferences for its thousands of professional members.
- The High Tech Crime Investigation Association – specializes in cyber crime and information exchange between members.
- The Innocence Project – seeks to exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners based on DNA evidence.
- The International Association for Microanalysis – is a non-profit organization that analyzes gun primer.
- The International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists – offers training and certification in cyber crime on a worldwide scale.
- The National Criminal Justice Reference Service – is hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice and provides its own articles and reference materials that can be browsed by topic. Links to journals and FAQs also provide general information about almost anything related to criminal justice.
- The National Institute of Forensic Science - is an Australian organization that provides news, back issues of bulletins and journal articles, and some educational resources.
Specialized Fields in Forensic Sciences
- The American Board of Forensic Toxicology – gives certification to toxicology specialists and accreditation for toxicology labs.
- The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section – of the U.S. Department of Justice primarily provides news and official documents about the titular subjects.
- The Computer Crime Research Center – provides news, articles, and other resources about digital forensics.
- Computer Forensics World – hosts forums, FAQs, and other pages about digital forensics, including downloads for registered users.
- Cyber Crime – is the FBI’s official computer crime web resource with articles and educational links.
- DNA Forensics - is the information page about forensic science from the Human Genome Project.
- DNAResource.com – by Gordon Thomas Honeywell, keeps track of the most up-to-date government policies on DNA.
- The Fingerprint Society – a British organization, hosts a journal, posts news and events, and invites members to share their knowledge about fingerprint analysis.
- Fire Cause Analysis - is a website devoted to investigations of arson and accidental fires.
- FirearmsID.com – specializes in the forensic investigation of firearms, focusing especially on articles and educational resources.
- Forensic Drug Abuse Advisor - is a forensics newsletter about substance abuse and testing.
- “Hair Analysis” – is a detailed guide to investigating both human and animal hair by David A. Katz.
- Inter Fire Online – provides training services and reference materials on fire investigations, including arson.
- The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists - is an international association devoted to research and information exchange concerning toxicology.
- Latent Print Examination - is a site devoted to fingerprint analysis with links to certification associations, career opportunities, and news.
- McCrone Research Institute - offers training, research, publications, and conferences that focus on microscopy.
- Ridges and Furrows – provides basic information on fingerprints and fingerprint analysis, including a historic bibliography and links to related university programs.
- The Society of Forensic Toxicologists – maintains journals, offers educational opportunities, and holds meetings for toxicology students and professionals.