The types of pen, printers etc may be significant in assessing the date of a document and as with many of the dating techniques, the evidence is often more valuable or significant when an anachronism is established as opposed to compliance with other materials, papers etc which may have been available for a prolonged period of time.
Other aspects of documents relating to defects in features such on printed or typewritten document, the presence of trash marks or incidental marks on photocopies or laser prints etc may also yield valuable information concerning the dating of the document.
Some examinations can be performed on fountain pens to determine type of nib, type of ink and the first date of introduction of each of these.
However, since this is a very small portion of the actual type of cases seen, we will concentrate primarily on more recent developments.
The laboratory has two document examiners who primarily undertake privately funded casework.
Reports are prepared for a variety of courts, both Civil and Criminal in the UK and abroad.
Handwriting and signatures may change with time and if reasonable volumes of comparison documentation over a period of time from the same individual can be obtained, the quality of writing or writing style may be identifiable to a particular time period.
Aware of these difficulties, the UPV/EHU team began to work on samples written for research purposes.The UPV/EHU's research team --comprising the professor of Analytical Chemistry Rosa María Alonso, Dr Itxaso San Román of the Farmartem group of the Department of Analytical Chemistry, and Dr Luis Bartolomé of the Central Analysis Service of Bizkaia (SGIker)-- has developed the Datink method that allows the period of time the ink may have remained on the paper to be determined and its age to be ascertained.But this technique is also able to overcome other stumbling blocks relating to the amount of ink deposited when writing and the type of paper used, as these variables hamper the dating of a document by means of traditional methods.We also assess reports of other experts, commenting, supplementing and, if necessary, criticising the same so that instructing clients can fully appreciate the significance of the evidence presented. A new method that determines the age of a document in a less invasive way than other techniques and is also able to date documents up to five years old.