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OSAC Releases a Refreshed Lexicon for the Forensic Sciences

Credit: Photo 101393106 | Lexicon © Aga7ta |

A publicly available website defining over 3,300 terms shared by many forensic science disciplines.

November 7, 2023

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science Lexicon was recently refreshed to help bring better consistency and understanding in the way terms are used by the various forensic science disciplines. 

The forensic sciences encompass dozens of disciplines, each with its own history and vocabulary. As a result, a word might mean one thing to forensic anthropologists, for example, but something else to forensic document examiners. 

To help facilitate clear communication across the many disciplines, an early priority of OSAC’s Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) was to provide an open-access database of terminology to be used by forensic science providers. In early 2015, the FSSB tasked all OSAC units with identifying and collecting existing terminology related to their forensic science discipline. This was a monumental effort and in March 2018, the first-generation of the OSAC Lexicon was released.

With thousands of terms – some duplicative and overlapping with other disciplines – the Lexicon underwent a ‘clean-up’ process in 2023. At their June 2023 meeting, the FSSB approved that the Lexicon would only include:

  • OSAC Preferred Terms and definitions
  • Terms from standards on the OSAC Registry (both published and OSAC Proposed standards)
  • Terms from SDO published standards (irrespective of Registry status)

The refreshed Lexicon was released in October 2023. View the 3,000+ forensic science terms on the OSAC Lexicon website.

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Created October 26, 2023, Updated November 7, 2023