Michele Triplett's Fingerprint Terms ©
A collection of over 1000 terms used in the Science of Fingerprint Identification.

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IAFIS
Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.  IAFIS was the FBI’s first 
fully automated AFIS computer database (July 1999-Sept. 2014). IAFIS was searchable 
by other law enforcement agencies through the Universal Latent Workstation (ULW) 
and replaced by a state of the art computer system named Next Generation Identification 
(NGI). 

IAI
International Association for Identification.
The IAI was founded by Harry Caldwell in 1915 in Oakland, California as 
the "International Association for Criminal Identification".  The name 
was changed in 1918 to reflect the noncriminal work done by the 
identification bureaus.  The IAI has put out many publications since its 
inception including the 'International Identification Outlook', 'Sparks 
from the Anvil', 'Identification News' and the 'Journal of Forensic 
Identification'.

IAI Resolutions
Resolution 1973 – Minimum Number of Characteristics (revised in 2009)
In 1973, The IAI Standardization Committee released the results of a three-year 
study.  They recommended and adopted that “no valid basis exists at this time 
for requiring that a pre-determined minimum number of friction ridge characteristics 
must be present in two impressions in order to establish positive identification.”  
This was based on the fact that each print has a unique set of circumstances. 
http://www.latent-prints.com/iai_standardization_committee.htm 03-21-2003 

Resolution 1979 VII (revised in 1980, rescinded in 2010)
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that any member, officer or certified latent print 
examiner who provides oral or written reports, or gives testimony of possible, 
probable or likely friction ridge identification shall be deemed to be engaged 
in conduct unbecoming such member, officer or certified latent print examiner 
as described in Article XVII, Section 5, of the constitution of the International 
Association for Identification, and charges may be brought under such conditions 
set forth in Article XVI, Section 5, of the constitution.  If such member be a 
certified latent print examiner, his conduct and status shall be reconsidered by 
the Latent Print Certification Board..."
www.clpex.com detail 78 Feb.3 2003

Resolution, 1980-V, (the amended version of Resolution VII, 1979, rescinded in 2010)
"Now therefore be it resolved that any member, officer or certified latent print 
examiner who initiates or volunteers oral or written reports or testimony of 
possible, probable or likely friction ridge identification, or who, when required 
in a judicial proceeding to provide such reports or testimony, does not qualify it 
with a statement that the print in question could be that of someone else, shall 
be deemed to be engaged in conduct unbecoming such member,.…."
http://www.latent-prints.com/realizing_the_full_value_of_late.htm

Resolution 2009-10
RESOLVED, that the International Association for Identification recognizes that 
Tenprint Identification (individualization) and Latent Print Identification 
(individualization) utilize the same scientific methodology when practiced 
by a person trained to competency.

Resolution 2009-18, the amended version of the 1973 Resolution
RESOLVED, the official position of the I.A.I., effective August 21, 2009, is as follows:
“There currently exists no scientific basis for requiring a minimum amount of 
corresponding friction ridge detail information between two impressions to 
arrive at an opinion of single source attribution.”

Resolution 2010-18, July 16, 2010
RESOLVED that, based upon the results of a multi-year study by the Standardization II 
Review Committee, the IAI hereby recognizes the following:
7.	The use of mathematically based models to assess the associative value of the 
evidence may provide a scientifically sound basis for supporting the examiner’s opinion. 
Examiners shall only use mathematically based models that have been accepted as valid 
by the IAI in partnership with the relevant scientific community and in which they have 
been trained to competency.
8.	Mathematically based models may not be used as the sole determinant when concluding 
that friction ridge impressions share a common source. The use of mathematically based 
models does not relieve the examiner of responsibility for their expert opinion.

Due in part to the aforementioned statements recognized by the IAI, Therefore, be it further
RESOLVED, that Resolution 1979-7 and Resolution 1980-5 are hereby rescinded.

IDD
Immigration Delay Disease.

IEEGFI I and IEEGFI II
The Interpol European Expert Group on Fingerprint Identification.  The IEEGFI I 
was adopted by the 29th European Regional Conference, held in Reykjavik, Iceland.  
The IEEGFI II was formed in May 2000 and was a progression of the IEEGFI II.  
The goals of this group are 'To explore, define and establish common terminology 
concerning the content of the fingerprint identification process and the general 
application of this process to the detection, validation and comparison of ridge 
detail, so as to provide basis for communication and promote uniformity' and 'To 
define and establish recognised principles concerning the application of this 
process so that it can be standardised, controlled and made objective. This may 
cover aspects such as definitions, norms, standards, rules, guidelines and rules 
of thumb'.
http://www.interpol.int/Public/Forensic/fingerprints/WorkingParties/IEEGFI2/default.asp#4 

INC
The common abbreviation for an ‘inconclusive’ determination, meaning that a conclusive 
determination could not be arrived at.

INC is also used to indicate ‘incomplete’, meaning that a full comparison could not be 
completed.

ISO
International Organization for Standardization.

ISO 17020
The International Organization for Standardization standards for organizations 
performing inspections.

ISO 17025
The International Organization for Standardization standards for organizations 
performing testing and calibration.

Icnofalangometric or Icnofalangometria
The original name of the classification system developed by Juan Vucetich.  
This name was later changed to 'Dactiloscopico' or 'Dactiloscopy'.

Identakey
A system of classification developed in the 1930's by G. Tyler Mairs.  The aim of 
this classification system was to unite the morphology described by Wilder and 
Whipple and judicial identification.  Fingerprints were broken down into classes, 
families, orders, genus, species and subspecies.  This system never caught on.  
Suspect Identities, Simon A. Cole 2001 Harvard University Press

Identification
Establishing an association with a group or individual item.

The act or process of identifying; prove to be the same.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

1. See individualization.
2. In some forensic disciplines, this term denotes the similarity of class characteristics. 
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Identification News
A magazine produced by the IAI and published from 1951-1957.  In 2008, the IAI 
began publishing Identification News again starting with Vol. 38 No.1.

Ideology
A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, 
economic, or other system. 
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=ideology 02-27-03

Image Reversal
An Image Reversal is when the friction ridges in a latent print are reversed 
from the standard direction.  This typically occurs in unintentional transferred 
prints and on latents lifted with rubber lifters.

Imbrication
The leaning of ridges in the same direction due to pressure while depositing a 
fingerprint image.

Immigration Delay Disease (IDD)
Immigration Delay Disease was named in 2011 by Burger et al to describe the rare inherited 
congenital absence of fingerprints (adermatoglyphia) causing possible patient difficulty 
when travelling to those countries for which personal identification by fingerprinting is 
required.  
However, there are also various acquired disorders which may, at times, affect the fingers 
and cause fingerprint appearance to alter and thus result in immigration delay. Such 
disorders include dry or atrophic skin, ageing, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, contact 
dermatitis, systemic lupus erythematosus and erythroderma.
References:
1. Burger B  Fuchs D Sprecher E Itin P
The immigration delay disease. Adermatoglyphia- inherited absence of epidermal ridges
J Am Acad Dermatol 2011; 64: 974-80
2. Verbov J 
Abnormal fingerprints and immigration delay disease
Clin Exp Dermatol 2012; 37:195-6

Impartial
Having no preference.

Impressed Print
See Plastic Print.

Impression
1. An imprint left on a surface.
2. A latent print with insufficient information to establish whether the image originated 
from a finger, toe, palm or foot.

Friction ridge detail deposited on a surface.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Inappropriate Decision
An unacceptable result based on human judgment and/or personal criterion. Inappropriate 
decisions are errors in decision making, not errors in application.

See Error

Incipient
Beginning; coming into existence; immature.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Beginning to exist or appear.
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=incipient 05-13-03

Incipient Ridge
An incipient ridge is an immature friction ridge.  There are two kinds of ridges both 
described by the word incipient.  
1) An ‘incipient ridge’ may describe a ridge that is thinner and shallower than the 
surrounding ridges.  These incipient ridges may have immature pores associated with 
them.  They may not appear in all representations but are permanent and repeatable 
friction ridge characteristics. (Ashbaugh, 1999)
2) An ‘incipient ridge’ may describe a ridge that is thinner and shallower than the 
surrounding ridges. These ridges do not have pores associated with them.  Generally, 
they are not visible the first few years of life.  They do not appear in all 
representations, but once visible they are permanent and repeatable.  They may be 
considered occasional print features.

Also known as a nascent ridge, a rudimentary ridge or a subsidiary ridge.

A friction ridge not fully developed that may appear shorter and thinner than fully 
developed friction ridges.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Inclusion
A latent image concurs with the exemplar but there is not enough to individualize.

Incomplete
Stating that a final conclusion was not arrived at due to the need for more data 
(clearer images of unknown impressions or additional known exemplars) or the need 
for additional time to complete a comparison.

Inconclusive
The determination by an examiner that there is neither sufficient agreement to 
individualize, nor sufficient disagreement to exclude. 
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

1, 2-Indanedione (pronounced in-dane-die-on) 
Compound that reacts with the amino acids present in print residue, producing 
a fluorescent product when exposed to excitation wavelengths of 352-591 nm.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

A chemical process used to find latent prints on porous items.  The chemical 
reacts with the amino acids in fingerprint residue and fluoresces under certain 
wavelengths.  Optimal viewing is done at 515nm-570nm with orange or red goggles.  
This chemical process is an alternative to DFO reportedly resulting in similar 
quality prints at a lower cost and easier to prepare.  
Research by Jon Stimac of the Oregon State Police showed that the HFE-7100 
formulation published by Wiesner (JFS 2001) can be used on thermal papers.
http://www.bvda.com/EN/prdctinf/en_ind_1.html 06-25-2003

The use of 1, 2-Indanedione for visualizing latent fingerprints on porous items 
was discovered by Professor Madeleine Joullié and her graduate students, 
Drs. Diane Hauze and Olga Petrovskaia, from the University of Pennsylvania.

Independent
Free from external influence, guidance, control, or constraint.

Individual Characteristics
Individual characteristics are those features that separate one item from another, 
as opposed to class characteristics.  When referring to fingerprints, level 2 and 
level 3 details are considered to be individual characteristics.

Individualization
A deduction or inference by a practitioner that two impressions originated from 
the same source. The subjective probability of an alternative conclusion being 
possible is so remote that it can be eliminated as being plausible.

The state of being individualized.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

The determination by an examiner that there is sufficient quality and quantity of 
detail in agreement to conclude that two friction ridge impressions originated 
from the same source.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Individualize
Differentiate from other individuals; distinctive.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Inductive Reasoning  
Reasoning from detailed facts to general principles  
WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=inductive%20reasoning 02-27-03

Inference
Logic. 
a. the process of deriving the strict logical consequences of assumed premises. 
b. the process of arriving at some conclusion that, though it is not logically 
derivable from the assumed premises, possesses some degree of probability relative 
to the premises.
Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Inference (accessed: December 01, 2013).

A conclusion arrived at by the strict use of data, reasoning and logical assumptions.

Infrared
Light wavelengths longer than the visible spectrum, 700- 1,000,000 nm.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Inherent Luminescence
Luminescence resulting from selected wavelength illumination without 
chemical treatment.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Inked Print (Finger, Palm, Foot)
See Exemplar.
See Known Print.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Inner Terminus
See Core.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Institute of Applied Science
The IAS was founded in 1916 in Chicago, Illinois as “Evans University” by Captain 
William K. Evans, of the United States Military Intelligence Agency, and T. G. Cooke. 
One year after it was established Captain Evans was recalled to military service for 
World War I and severed his connections with the school.  The name was changed to 
“The University of Applied Science”.  The name changed again in 1929 to “The Institute 
of Applied Science”.  The IAS started as a correspondence school specializing in all 
aspects of identification work.  In 1919, they began publishing a monthly newsletter 
called “Finger Print Magazine” which was later changed to “Finger Print and 
Identification Magazine”.  In 1952, T.G. Cooke died and his sons T. Dickerson Cooke 
and Donald Cooke took over running the institution.  They retired in 1975, selling the 
IAS to Carreerco which moved the company to Syracuse, New York. There the school was 
given the name of “The American Institute of Applied Science, Inc.”  Finger Print and 
Identification Magazine was published until 1988. In November of 1991, The American 
Institute of Applied Science, Inc. was acquired by Sirchie Finger Print Laboratories, 
Inc. and moved to its present location in Youngsville, North Carolina. Effective 
January 15, 2008, Sirchie Acquisition Company, LLC, dba Sirchie Finger Print 
Laboratories acquired substantially all assets, ongoing business, contract rights, 
trade names and employee base of Sirchie Finger Print Laboratories, Inc., Premier 
Crown Corp., and The American Institute of Applied Science, Inc."
Finger Print and Identification Magazine Oct. 1938
Journal of Forensic Identification 40 (1) 1994
Sirchie Acquisition Company

Inter-
Between different sources.  Inter-source would be looking at or comparing the 
variance between different sources.

See Intra-.

Interdigital
Palmar area below the fingers and above the thenar and hypothenar areas.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Between the digits; an area at the base of the digits.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

In some countries, such as Portugal, this area of the palm is known as the superior 
region instead of the interdigital region.

Interdigital Delta’s
The deltas in the interdigital region of the palm have been referred to as the 
clean delta, the snow cones, and the side cone.

International Association for Identification
See IAI.

International Association of Forensic Sciences
The International Association of Forensic Sciences was inaugurated in 1957. 
This organization holds world meetings every 3 years.

International Identification Outlook
The International Identification Outlook was the first periodical published 
by the IAI.  It began in 1916 and was only published for a short time. 

Interstitial
Relating to or situated in the small, narrow spaces between tissues 
or parts of an organ.
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=interstitial07-01-2003  

SWGFAST refers to incipient ridges as Interstitial.

Alfred R. Hale refers to interstitial ridges as Secondary ridges in 
his paper "Morphogenesis of Volar Skin in the Human Fetus" 1952.

Inter-Subjectively Tested
Subjective conclusions that are independently tested by others.  This 
eliminates individual biases for a more objective conclusion.
Karl Popper contends that we never know the truth but we get closer 
to it each time a single observation is inter-subjectively tested.  
The more times people independently replicate a conclusion, the more 
confident we can be in that conclusion.

Intervening Ridges
The number of friction ridges between two characteristics.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Intra-
Within the same source.  Intra-source would be looking at or comparing the variance 
within the same source.

See Inter-.

Intuition
The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational 
processes; immediate cognition.
Knowledge gained by the use of this faculty; a perceptive insight. 
A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=intuition 03-18-2003

Instinctive knowing (without the use of rational processes) 2: an 
impression that something might be the case.
WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=intuition 03-18-2003

Inverted Ridges
See Tonal Reversal.

Inward Nose Loop
A loop in the hypothenar region of the palm of a hand where the recurve faces in 
towards the thenar. The inward nose loop is usually associated with a delta higher 
up the hypothenar than normally seen. The height of the delta is a method of secondary 
classification in Sharp Classification system. Low, medium and high deltas are measured 
from the bracelet crease.

Iodine
Element used as either a vapor or solution; binds with fats and oils 
to visualize friction ridge detail.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Iodine vapors are best used on porous surfaces.  They color the fats and 
oils present in sebaceous residue and as the iodine evaporates, the color 
fades.  It has been found that iodine works best on latents that are freshly 
deposited.   Due to the hazards associated with it and the advances of other 
processing techniques, iodine is seldom used.

Iodine-Silver Transfer Method
A method for recovering friction ridge detail.  Developed by John McMorris and 
presented at the IAI California Division Conference in 1936.

Islands
Friction ridges of varying lengths. 
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Isopropanol (Isopropyl Alcohol)
Solvent used in the preparation of reagents.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf



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