Documents are inseparable parts of human life as each and every important event from birth to death, information, discovery, innovation, details, etc. are presented in the form of handwritten or printed documents.

The importance of documents is important in every field to document various studies as it is also important in the investigation for documenting a crime scene. Documenting everything has become a necessity in today’s world as an important means of keeping records as well as physical proof of every piece of information.

With the increasing need for documents in every place, the crimes relating to these have also increased. Whether it is a financial transaction through bank checks or the property will or any official document- every type of document is vulnerable to forgery.

Criminals leave no stone unturned to forge a document and try to make fake documents for malicious purposes. But no matter how hard a person tries to forge a document there are some features present in that document that distinguishes them from the genuine one.

That difference is detected by forensic document examiners, who have the expertise to identify a genuine and forged document.

To become a forensic document examiner, a student requires to acquire knowledge about various types of documents, sources of documents, characteristics of documents, all aspects of handwriting, and the principles of examination of questioned documents.

In this article, we have discussed 5 forensic questioned document books that will help the students pursuing the field of questioned document examination in forensic science.

Top 5 Questioned Document Books For Reference

There are a lot of books that have been written by some great experts in forensic science over the years. Many of them can be used for the reference of having an understanding of distinguishing the difference between genuine and forged documents.

Here, I have listed 5 of those books that students can use for detailed knowledge.

1. Questioned Documents by Albert S. Osborn

This book is an essential reading for every student of forensic questioned documents as it is written by Albert S. Osborn. He is also known as “The father of Questioned Documents“.

It is one of the first books introduced in the field of forensic examination of documents.

This book introduces the students to the basics of questioned documents and their forensic examination. It helps in the discovery and proof of the facts in any investigation, or legal inquiry, involving the genuineness of a document.

The book provides the standard information of a genuine document that helps to easily distinguish between the original or genuine documents and the disputed one.

2. Forensic Document Examination: Principles and Practice by Katherine M. Koopenhaver

According to experts, this is the first book dedicated to questioned document analysis. In this book, the author has thoroughly explained the concepts of the fundamental principles and methods of document examination in a concise manner.

The book emphasizes all the aspects of handwriting, including factors affecting handwriting, characteristics of handwriting, the guidelines for determining the authenticity or spuriousness of handwriting, and the proper methods for examining a case from start to its closing. 

The application of knowledge of document analysis apprehended in this book is not limited to the academicians but is also helpful for police officers, private investigators, and attorneys.  

3. I.S.Q.D. Identification System for Questioned Documents by Billi Prior Bates

The book is based on the scientific methods of identifying questioned documents that assist investigators and forensic document examiners.

This whole book is divided into two parts, where the first part presents a scientific method for comparing questioned writing with genuine writing. The second part, however, deals with the preparation of facts for presentation and the method of presenting them to those who legally decide the matter in court.

The updated editions of this book include information on digital imaging as it pertains to cameras and other devices.

4. Suspect Documents- Their Scientific Examination by Wilson R. Harrison

This book has a systematic arrangement of the topics related to questioned documents, which makes the readers understand the concepts step-by-step and relate them.

The author has described all the concepts of questioned documents and handwriting in an easy language with examples.

This book explains the scientific methods, techniques, and instruments that are involved in the examination of questioned documents, along with their advantages and drawbacks. This book is worth reading to acquire knowledge about genuine and forged documents.

5. Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents by Ordway Hilton

The second edition of this book is edited by Jan Seaman Kelly and Brian S. Lindblom and is considered the bible for a questioned document examiner.

This book involves explanations of the nature of document examination that has changed with the modern world.

The book thoroughly explores the complexities involved in keeping current with the new developments while in some instances, the concepts are aided by the presentation of a variety of documents and case studies.


Documents have always been a part of human life since they started recording every piece of information of each observation made by humans. Therefore, it is very important to understand the difference between a genuine and a fake document.

The forensic questioned document examiners are the experts that distinguish original and forged documents. If a student is interested in the field of forensic questioned document examination, then the above-mentioned 5 book suggestions are essential readings for them.

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