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OSAC Newsletter, January 2016

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January 2016

In Remembrance of OSAC Member Glenn Schubert | Status of Standards and Guidelines Recommended for Inclusion on the OSAC Registries | Geological Materials Subcommittee Seeks New Chair | Standards Development News: ISO/IEC 17025 | In Other News: UK FSR Document "Codes of Practice and Conduct for forensic science providers and practitioners in the Criminal Justice System" Open for Public Consultation | Message from the OSAC Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) | Upcoming OSAC Meetings

In Remembrance of OSAC Member Glenn Schubert

Glenn Schubert

OSAC member Glenn Schubert passed away unexpectedly January 3, 2016. Glenn was employed as a forensic scientist at the Illinois State Police Crime Laboratory for more than thirty years. He was a distinguished trace evidence scientist specializing in hairs, fibers, fracture matches, fabric impressions and his favorite topic, airbags.

Glenn's career and life are one that most young forensic scientist should want to follow. He was one of the leaders in the trace evidence community. He was a charter member of TWGFIBE, which became TWGMAT and ultimately the Scientific Working Group on Materials Analysis (SWGMAT), one of the oldest and best-established of the Scientific Working Groups. He continued to be involved with writing standards with his involvement in OSAC. Glenn was an affiliate of the Materials Subcommittee and was a member of three different task groups within that subcommittee: Hairs, Fibers and Trace Outreach.

Additionally, he was a charter member for the American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (ASTEE) which is an organization that was established to promote the use of trace evidence and assist practitioners with the exchange of information and research for the field, all of which are things that Glenn did throughout his career.

Glenn was also involved in various trace symposia as well as very involved in his regional organization of the Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists (MAFS). He gave numerous professional papers, always adding some humor to them. He was MAFS Trace Section Coordinator from 1996 – 1998 and was awarded MAFS Outstanding Scientist Award in 2003. He served on various committees as well as the Board of Directors, performing the duties of MAFS President in 2007. Glenn also taught many workshops at the trace symposia as well as MAFS Annual Fall Meeting.

For those of you who didn't have the honor of knowing Glenn, he could always find the bright spot on a rainy day. He brought professionalism and a sense of humor to the meetings. His warmth and humor helped bring people together. He was always willing to help anyone, whether he personally knew them or not, with any question about a technique or evidence that they may have approached him about. Glenn will continue to help others as he was an organ and tissue donor. The trace evidence community has lost an exceptional scientist. He will be missed by many organizations and our profession because of the huge hole he will leave with the loss of his experience and knowledge, but will be missed most by all the friends he had compiled over the years across the country, by just being Glenn.

Status of Standards and Guidelines Recommended for Inclusion on the OSAC Registries

The aim of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) is to identify and promote technically sound, consensus-based, fit-for-purpose documentary standards that are based on sound scientific principles. This will be achieved through the OSAC Registry of Approved Standards and the OSAC Registry of Approved Guidelines. A standard or guideline that is posted on either Registry demonstrates that the methods it contains have been assessed to be valid by forensic practitioners, academic researchers, measurement scientists, and statisticians through a consensus development process that allows participation and comment from all relevant stakeholders.

Below is a listing of standards or guidelines that are under consideration for the OSAC registries, along with their status in the approval process.

Standards and guidelines open for public comment

The OSAC "public comment" period is to solicit comments on whether the standard or guideline should be included on the OSAC Registry (OSAC is not soliciting potential revisions to the documents themselves.)

Standards in Public Comment Adjudication Phase

Public comment period is closed for the following standards as OSAC units review and adjudicate comments received.

ASTM: E2330-12 Standard Test Method for Determination of Concentrations of Elements in Glass Samples Using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) for Forensic Comparisons

One objective of a forensic glass examination is to compare glass samples to determine if they can be discriminated using their physical, optical or chemical properties (for example, color, refractive index (RI), density, elemental composition). If the samples are distinguishable in any of these observed and measured properties, it may be concluded that they did not originate from the same source of broken glass. If the samples are indistinguishable in all of these observed and measured properties, the possibility that they originated from the same source of glass cannot be eliminated. The use of an elemental analysis method such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry yields high discrimination among sources of glass. This test method covers a procedure for quantitative determination of the concentrations of magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), iron (Fe), titanium (Ti), manganese (Mn), rubidium (Rb), strontium (Sr), zirconium (Zr), barium (Ba), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), neodymium (Nd), samarium (Sm), and lead (Pb) in glass samples.

ASTM: E2548-11e1 Standard Guide for Sampling Seized Drugs for Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis

This guide covers minimum considerations for sampling of seized drugs for qualitative and quantitative analysis.

ASTM: E2926-13 Standard Test Method for Forensic Comparison of Glass Using Micro X-ray Fluorescence (μ-XRF) Spectrometry

This test method is for the determination of major, minor, and trace elements present in glass fragments. The elemental composition of a glass fragment can be measured through the use of μ-XRF analysis for comparisons of glass. This test method covers the application of μ-XRF using mono- and poly- capillary optics, and an energy dispersive X-ray detector (EDS).

ASTM: E2881-13e1 Standard Test Method for Extraction and Derivatization of Vegetable Oils and Fats from Fire Debris and Liquid Samples with Analysis by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

This test method covers the extraction, derivatization, and identification of fatty acids indicative of vegetable oils and fats in fire debris and liquid samples. This procedure will also extract animal oils and fats, as these are similar in chemical composition to vegetable oils and fats. Herein, the phrase "oils and fats" will be used to refer to both animal and vegetable derived oils and fats. This test method is suitable for successfully extracting oil and fat residues having 8 to 24 carbon atoms.

ASTM E2916-13 Standard Terminology for Digital and Multimedia Evidence Examination (for consideration as an OSAC Guideline)

This document provides standard terminology for the subcommittees of Digital Evidence, Facial Identification, and Video Imaging Technology and Analysis.

ASTM E2825-12 Standard Guide for Forensic Digital Image Processing (for consideration as an OSAC Standard)

This document provides digital image processing guidelines to ensure the production of quality forensic imagery for use as evidence in a court of law. It briefly describes advantages, disadvantages, and potential limitations of each major digital imaging process.

Standards And Guidelines in Appeals Phase

The public appeals phase is open for the following standard. Appeals may only be submitted by individuals or groups that submitted a comment during the open public comment phase that believe their comment was not properly adjudicat ed. Submitted appeals must relate to the comment adjudication process, not technical issues.

ASTM: E2329-14 Standard Practice for Identification of Seized Drugs

This practice describes minimum criteria for the qualitative analysis (identification) of seized drugs. Listed are a number of analytical techniques for the identification of seized drugs. These techniques are grouped on the basis of their discriminating power. Analytical schemes based on these groupings are described.


Geological Materials Subcommittee Seeks New Chair

The OSAC is looking for a new chair for the Geological Materials subcommittee. To be considered, please fill out an OSAC Application Form and email your interest to forensics [at] (forensics[at]nist[dot]gov).

Standards Development News: ISO/IEC 17025

ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, is currently in the revision process. CASCO, the ISO committee on conformity assessment, established a Working Group in October 2014 to complete that task. The first Committee Draft (CD 1) was balloted in November 2015. Following are some highlights of how the CD differs from the current standard. Given that over 2,600 comments were received on CD 1, these issues and many others are subject to change.

Different structure

The current version of ISO/IEC 17025 has two major clauses, relating to management and technical requirements. The structure of the proposed revision is aligned with other 17000-series standards, such as ISO/IEC 17020, Conformity assessment—Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection. CD 1 has separate clauses for general, structural, resource, process, and management system requirements. The Working Group intends to generate a cross-reference of clauses in the revised standard to the 2005 version once there is consensus on the order of the sub-clauses.

Updated language regarding metrological traceability

Terminology and practice related to establishing traceability of measurements has changed in the decade since ISO/IEC 17025 was last revised. The related clause in CD 1 was streamlined to focus on the essential requirements. An Informative Annex was created to provide additional details on how those requirements can be met.

More certainty about uncertainty of measurement

CD 1 clarifies that all calibrations require evaluation of uncertainty, including those calibrations performed "in-house" to support other testing or calibration activities. The requirements for evaluating measurement uncertainty of tests retain the flexibility in the current standard. While there will be ongoing discussion of that requirement through the revision process, it is clear that using test methods that effectively address measurement uncertainty will be valuable for laboratories.

Management system options

Similar to the approach in other 17000-series standards, CD 1 presents two options for management system requirements. Option A includes a list of requirements for a laboratory's management system, similar to the requirements in clause 4 of the current standard. Option B allows the laboratory to establish a management system in compliance with ISO 9001. Regardless of the option chosen, the management system must address all of the other requirements in ISO/IEC 17025.

What's next?

A drafting group met 11-14 January 2016 in Geneva to review the comments on CD 1. The next full WG meeting is scheduled for 16-19 February 2016. The next revision will be circulated to CASCO members soon thereafter. If work progresses as planned, the revised standard will be published in 2017.

There is still time to contribute to the revision process through review and comment. ANSI is the US member of ISO, and the ANSI International Conformity Assessment Committee (ICAC) coordinates input to CASCO. Membership in ICAC is open to ANSI members. More information is available at

In Other News: UK FSR Document "Codes of Practice and Conduct for forensic science providers and practitioners in the Criminal Justice System" Open for Public Consultation

The Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) published code of practice and conduct (codes) for forensic science providers and practitioners in the criminal justice system in 2011 and 2014. The codes are being supplemented with appendices covering specific requirements, guidance, information and protocols.

To finalize the draft guidance appendix, a consultation was held in 2014. All the responses to the 2014 consultation were taken into account and the guidance appendix was redrafted.

The FSR is now seeking guidance on the second draft of the guidance appendix from all interested parties.

All comments will be given consideration prior to publication.

Ways to respond

Comments should be sent on the feedback form provided to FSRConsultation4 [at] (FSRConsultation4[at]homeoffice[dot]gsi[dot]gov[dot]uk) and should be submitted by 5 February 2016.


Message from the OSAC Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB)

The full OSAC meeting in January is fast approaching. Our focus for the week is for each of the subcommittees to strive for the following outcomes:

1. Update Standards Projects Lists:

· Provide an updated list of standards/guidelines that are ready for either the OSAC Registry Approval Process or the OSAC Working with an SDO Process

· For any new standard/guideline that will be sent to an SDO using the OSAC Working with an SDO Process, determine which SDO will be utilized

· Provide an updated list of existing SDO standards/guidelines that need to be sent back to the originating SDO for revision prior to entry into OSAC Registry Approval Process



2. Develop Research Needs for placement on the OSAC public website



3. Update Priority Action Reports that will be presented during AAFS and other venues

4. Update Kavi Membership Rosters and input all standards/guidelines activities that are in-process into KAVI as "Projects" (Kavi is the document management software employed by OSAC).

We will provide public updates on these items during the OSAC Scientific Area Committee Public Status Reports & Open Discussion Meetings at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences on February 22-23, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. These presentations will also be webcast live.

Upcoming OSAC Meetings

- (Internal OSAC Meeting) Full OSAC Subcommittee Meeting in Leesburg, VA on January 25-29, 2016

oJanuary 25th – FSSB Meeting (8:30 AM – 5:00PM)

oJanuary 26th – 5 SAC, 3 Resource Committee (RC), & 7 Subcommittee Meetings (8:30 AM – 5:00PM) and 6 Subcommittee Meetings (1:00 PM - 5:00 PM)

oJanuary 27th – 24 Subcommittee and 3 RC Meetings (8:30 AM – 5:00PM)

oJanuary 28th – 24 Subcommittee and 3 RC Meetings (8:30 AM – 5:00PM)

oJanuary 29th – ½ day 24 Subcommittee Meetings (8:30 AM – approximately 1:00PM)

- (Open to the Public) OSAC public reporting occurs at American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in Las Vegas, NV on February 22-23, 2016. (5 SAC Chairs & 24 subcommittee chairs or their designee will present.)

oPlease register for the Free live WEBCAST of this event: NIST OSAC Affairs has partnered with the National Institute of Justice's Forensic Technology Center of Excellence operated by RTI International to broadcast this event to all interested stakeholders.

The OSAC newsletter is produced monthly by OSAC Affairs at NIST with input from the FSSB and other OSAC members. Any mention of commercial products is for information only; it does not imply recommendation or endorsement by NIST. Contact forensics [at] (forensics[at]nist[dot]gov) with comments or general inquiries.

Created January 19, 2016, Updated February 26, 2019