Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation.

Bertrand Russell1

The world fascination with fingerprints and related topics remains unabated in the year 2005. The 14th International Forensic Science Symposium, held in Lyon, France, has in its 585-page Review Papers, an extensive discussion of recent fingerprint (fingermark in Europe) literature in a wide variety of subjects and an extensive bibliography. Subjects covered include:

• Friction ridge skin individualization processes in court challenges • Fingermark detection and visualization (composition of fingermarks,

physical and chemical detection techniques [powder, physical developer, cyanoacrylate, DFO, and ninhydrin])

• Vacuum metal deposition (VMD) • Blood-centered fingermarks • Fingermark detection and DNA or biological fluid analysis • Alternative light sources, photography, and digital chemical imaging

Since the early 1990s, the FBI Laboratory has led the way in sponsoring scientific working groups (SWG) to improve discipline practices in laboratory testing and training, and to help build consensus with federal, state, and local

forensic law enforcement agencies. Currently, the FBI Laboratory sponsors eight SWGs:

• SWGDAM — DNA Analysis • SWGDE — Digital Evidence • SWGDOC — Questioned Documents • SWGFAST — Latent Fingerprints • SWGGUN — Firearms and Toolmarks • SWGIBRA — Illicit Business Records • SWGIT — Imaging Technologies • SWGMAT — Materials Scientific Working Groups2

Each of these SWGs publishes ongoing suggested standards for individual and laboratory certification as well as standards for the actual implementation of fingerprint technology at the working case level.