R script for viewing Topaz digital signature files

During the 2013 ASQDE conference I had the pleasure to participate in a workshop by Bill Flynn and Kathleen Nicolaides entitled “Forensic Examination of Digital Signatures”.1 The workshop covered various topics but one part of it involved the production of visual graphs representing digital signature data which was done using a spreadsheet program (MS Excel).  A spreadsheet works well for many things but, for this purpose, it was both tedious and unnecessary.

I decided to take a few minutes to write a semi-automated routine that would run in “R”, free open-source software that does this sort of thing very well.  Please note that the routine has not been updated since it was first written in 2013, however it should still work for Topaz data (.sig) files.

The routine is available, with some restrictions and caveats, to qualified forensic document examiners and interested researchers / academics. If you would like to get a copy of it, please contact me using the form shown below. Please include enough bio information for me to assess your request and I will get back to you.

Forensic or Questioned?

Some document examiners prefer to be called ‘forensic’ document examiners while other prefer the term ‘questioned’ document examiner. Is there any difference?

The simple answer is ‘no’; there is no real difference. Historically, the term used was “questioned document examiner” but in the last 15-20 years, “forensic” has become a much more common adjective applied to almost any (scientific) endeavour intended for court purposes. Just to add another variation to the discussion, when I began working in this field in the mid-1980’s my colleagues were called “examiners of questioned documents”.
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