Trace Evidence Symposium
Trace Evidence Unit
The nature of trace, or “transfer,” evidence is highly variable, and trace evidence can be found at nearly every crime scene. Although trace evidence is often present, its collection, preservation, analysis, and eventual use in court have declined in recent years. Identifying the origin of foreign material found at a crime scene can be powerful evidence; yet in recent years, this type of evidence has been underutilized in the United States and has led some laboratories to reduce their capability to analyze such evidence. The FBI Laboratory and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) recognize the important impact that trace evidence has on criminal investigations and, ultimately, on our system of justice.
It has been more than 10 years since the trace evidence community has had a
symposium dedicated specifically to our discipline and open to the
entire forensic community, both domestic and international. Accordingly,
the FBI Laboratory and the National Institute of Justice are pleased
to announce that a Trace Evidence Symposium will be held August
1316, 2007, in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The purpose of
the symposium is to foster increased awareness among forensic scientists,
law enforcement, and the legal communities of the value of trace
evidence. It will serve as an educational forum for trace evidence
examiners and managers and as a forum to identify new areas of research
and technological needs within the various subdisciplines of trace
Trace evidence is considered one of the most diverse of the forensic disciplines because it can include the analysis of hair, fiber, paint, glass, soil, and other particulate matter. In fact, some jurisdictions also include in their trace units the analysis of botanical material, arson/fire debris, explosives, and/or impression evidence. A trace evidence examiner is frequently involved in the analysis of a wide variety of evidence and, accordingly, is usually proficient in microscopy, spectroscopy, photography, and other analytical instrumentation.
Because of the diverse nature of trace evidence, the Trace Evidence Symposium will represent a broad range of issues, from technological foundations and research methods to applied practices and policy considerations that impact the field of trace evidence analysis. Papers presented at the symposium may include such topics as unique applications of trace evidence, research findings/results, method validation, interpretation, case studies, bench tips, and legal and/or policy implications. Workshops will also be available for continuing education on more in-depth analysis and interpretation of evidence and the use of nonroutine techniques, as well as some specifically geared for new trace evidence examiners.
Abstracts for papers for presentation at the symposium are being
accepted until February 9, 2007, through the Trace Evidence Symposium
Web site established by NIJ at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/events/.
All papers that meet the submission criteria will undergo a peer-review
and selection process. The authors of a select number of papers
will be invited to present their material orally in the context
of the appropriate plenary or concurrent session, and the remaining
selected papers will be presented as posters. Accepted abstracts
will be included in the symposium program; full-paper submissions
must be submitted 45 days prior to the conference and will be published
with the proceedings after the symposium. If an abstract is accepted
for presentation at the symposium, all expenses for one presenter
will be paid, regardless of the number of authors contributing to
a paper. For full details on abstract submission requirements and
further details on the Trace Evidence Symposium, refer to the NIJ