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

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Oil Red O.

Organization for Scientific Area Committees. A NIST working group aimed at 
developing voluntary consensus-based standards and guidelines to improve the 
quality and consistency of the forensic science disciplines. The first committee 
members were named in September 2014.

Oakes, Sir Harry Case (Trial, Oct. 1943)
The most sensational unsolved murder that happened during WWII.  On July 8, 
1943, Sir Harry Oakes, one of the wealthiest people in the British Empire, 
was found dead in his home in the Bahamas.  The list of suspects included 
Edward VIII, Charles Lucky Luciano, and his son-in-law Freddie de Marigny, 
among others.  This case became known as one of the biggest botched 
investigations of all times.  The Govenor, the Duke of Windsor, sidestepped 
local authorities and called two experts from the Miami Police Department.  
This was the beginning of events that drew suspicion.  The investigators, 
Capt. James Barker and Capt. Edward Melchen, found a latent print on a 
Chinese screen and a bloody print on the wall, but the evidence was not 
preserved as well as it could have been.  They were highly criticized for 
their actions in the case.  Prominent people were allowed access to the 
crime scene prior to finishing the investigation.  The photographs of the 
bloody handprint were destroyed by light exposure prior to development.  
Barker's lifts from the screen also came into question and many people 
believed that the latent lifts were really lifted from a different object, 
like a glass.  Harry Oakes son-in-law was charged with the murder due to 
his fingerprints being identified on the screen.  During the trial, 
Barker's testimony severely damaged the prosecutions case, and Freddie 
de Marigny was found not guilty.  Maurice O'Neill filed charges against 
James Barker with the IAI for fabricating evidence. The IAI cleared Barker 
of fabricating the evidence, but censured him for inadequately documenting 
the source of his latent.  This was an extremely unpopular decision among 
IAI members.

Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices
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=objective 02-27-03

Something real and observable.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Oblique Lighting
A lighting technique used to visualize latent friction ridge impressions 
where the light is directed on an object in a sloping direction.

Occasional Print Features
Scarring and tension creases (or white lines) are occasional features.  
They do not appear in all representations, but they are permanent and 

Oil Gland
The sebaceous gland is considered an oil gland, as opposed to the eccrine 
and apocrine glands which are sweat glands.

Oil Red O Stain
A stain used in histology to stain lipoid deposits.  Suggested as a processing 
method to develop latent prints in 2004 by Alexandre Beaudoin of Québec, 
Canada.  ORO is a safe alternative to the Physical Developer processing 
method for porous items that may have been saturated by water.

Okajima, Michio
Michio Okajima is a Japanese scientist who’s done thorough research regarding 
the skin.  In 1976 he wrote “Dermal and Epidermal Structure of the Volar Skin” 
in which he describes the two rows of dermal papillae. The historical relevance 
of this research was confirming that the incipient ridges are permanent friction 
ridge structures.  Some of the other articles he’s written include:
“Development of Dermal Ridges in the Fetus”.  Journal of Medical Genetics, 1975, 
Vol 12, 243-250.  
“A Methodological Approach to the Development of Epidermal Ridges Viewed on the 
Dermal Surface of Fetuses”.  Progress in Dermatoglyphic Reasearch, 1982, p. 175-188.
“Nonprimate Mammalian Dermatoglyphics as Models for Genetic and Embrylogic Studies: 
Comparative and Methodologic Aspects”.  Birth Defects: Orig. Artic., 1991, 
Ser. 27:131–149.

Fewer than the normal number of fingers or toes. Oligo- is from the 
Greek "oligos" (few or scanty) + -dactyly from the Greek "dactylos" 
(finger) = few fingers. Oligodactyly is the opposite of polydactyly 
which means too many fingers or toes.
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6668 06-18-2003

Oloriz Classification System
The fingerprint classification system developed by Dr. Federico Oloriz (Aguillera 
or Aguilera).  This classifications system was the primary classification system used 
in Portugal and Spain prior to the use of computer filing systems, such as AFIS.

Oloriz, Dr. Federico 1855-1912 (Dr. Federico Oloriz Aguillera or Aguilera)
A Professor of Anatomy at the Madrid University who developed the primary fingerprint 
classification system used in Spain and Portugal throughout the 20th Century.  Dr. 
Oloriz established and named 10 fingerprint characteristics.

Olsen, Robert D. Sr. (May 15, 1934-1989)
Special Agent Robert Olsen, with the US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, 
was instrumental in creating professional standards and training curriculums 
for the USACIL.  These standards and curriculums were so influential they were 
adopted by many civilian agencies.  He stressed practical applications and 
techniques, research, training, testing and professional standards.  Robert 
Olsen was most known for revising Walter Scott's 1951 book "Fingerprint 
Mechanics".  It was published in 1978 titled "Scott's Fingerprint Mechanics".  
To date, this book is considered one of the most comprehensive fingerprint books 
worldwide.  He encouraged active participation in professional organizations, 
research and publication.  He was extremely active in the IAI, a Fellow of the 
AAFS and a Fellow of the Fingerprint Society.  He wrote many articles and gave 
numerous presentations during his career.  Robert Olsen retired from the Army 
Crime Lab in 1978 and continued his career with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation 
until his death in 1989.  Robert Olson's friends remember him as someone who 
always had time and respect for everyone as well as someone who lead by example.

One Discrepancy Rule
See One Dissimilarity Doctrine.

One Dissimilarity Doctrine (Rule)
A non-scientific technique used by some as an efficient means to rule out a source 
as the donor of an impression. This rule states that one unexplained discrepancy is 
sufficient to rule a source out as a donor. Sufficient examples show the error rate 
of this technique may be larger than once assumed.

“Let us acknowledge that the one-dissimilarity doctrine has never been demonstrated 
to have originated from a firm scientific basis. Once we recognize this, we will not 
be forced to guess the manner of occurrence of unexplained differences. In view of a 
preponderance of matching characteristics, one dissimilarity isn’t important.”
John I. Thronton, “The One-Dissimilarity Doctrine in Fingerprint Identification”, 
International Criminal Police Review, No. 306, March 1977.

The “one discrepancy rule” under which a single difference in appearance between a 
latent fingerprint and a known fingerprint must rule out an identification unless the 
examiner has a valid explanation for the difference.
http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/s0603/ 05-27-2006

One Hundred Percent Certainty
A certainty level is a measure in the practitioner’s confidence in the accuracy of a 
conclusion but not a measure of the true accuracy of the conclusion. The confidence 
level of a person cannot be quantified with a mathematical equation and cannot be 
accurately represented numerically.

Of or relating to the origin and development of individual organisms.
WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=ontogenetic 03-08-2003

Ontogenetic Theory of ridge development suggests that ridge units fuse 
together to form ridges.

A belief held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge.
A conclusion based on special knowledge.
Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary, Office Edition.  
Houghton Mifflin Publishing Co.  Copyright 1984, Berkley Addition.

Open to dispute.

See Conclusion and Determination.

The location and direction of an area of friction ridge detail.

Original Image
The original image is the image that needs to be retained per Federal Rules of 
Evidence.  An original image may be the primary image (the initial capture) or 
an accurate replica of the primary image. An original image and a primary image 
are the same with regard to content but may not be the same item. For digital 
images, the primary image is typically stored on a memory card within the camera 
while original images are typically stored elsewhere. When film is used. the 
primary image is the recording on the film in the camera. The negative and 
subsequent prints from the negative are original images. For a Polaroid image, 
the original image (the image that should be retained) is the same item as the 
primary image (the initial image captured).  

An accurate and complete replica of the primary image, irrespective of media. 
For film and analog video, the primary image is the original image.
2007-11-01 SWGDE/SWGIT Digital & Multimedia Evidence Glossary v2.2

Primary image; with respect to digital images, an accurate replica (bit-for-bit 
value) of the primary image.

Fingers and toes cannot be flexed.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0

A chemical that is a presumptive test for blood and has also been used to 
develop friction ridge detail on human skin.  Aka O-Tolidine.

Osborn Grid Method
This involves preparing photographic enlargements of the latent and 
inked fingerprints. A grid of equally-sized squares is then superimposed 
on each, with the squares of each grid occupying identical positions on 
each print. The forensic scientist examines both imprints square by 
square looking for identical characteristics.

Os calcis
A bone in the foot.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Osmium Tetroxide (Osmic Acid Fuming)
A fuming technique used to process items for latent fingerprints.  This 
process was developed in 1891 by Dr. Rene Forgeot.  When a latent print 
is exposed to the vapors, oxidation of sebaceous matter occurs.  This 
method has been found to be extremely hazardous and expensive is seldom, 
if ever, used.

Osterburg, James William
Former head of the Department of criminal justice at the University of 
Illinois at Chicago, a former New York Police Officer for 20 years, where 
he assisted in the investigation of thousands of serious crimes. Past 
President of the American Academy of Forensic Science. He also is a 
frequent participant in educational symposia discussing criminal 
investigation, criminalistics, fingerprint characteristics and scientific 
evidence. The author of books on criminalistics and scientific investigations. 
He has been a consultant to the State Department, the Department of Justice 
and the Stanford Research Institute.

In 1977, Osterburg developed a statistical model to calculate the probability 
of two fingerprints being alike.  His model was one of the first to consider 
empty space and the first to consider the frequency of occurrence of different 

See Ortho-Tolidine.

Outer Terminus
See Delta.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0

Outward Nose Loop
A loop in the hypothenar region of the palm of a hand where the recurve faces the 
outer edge of the palm.  This type of pattern is more common than the inward nose 

Overall Pattern
Overall pattern shape used during identification; first level detail.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

A double impression where additional friction ridges overlap an existing friction ridge 
image. Overlays will not coincide with ridge flow and may exhibit some type of 
checkering. Overlays are not immediate double impressions of ridge detail. Overlays 
may or may not be the same finger impression or made by the same person.
Charles Parker 09-06-2006

Overton, Robert Blake
LONDON - On the morning of 6 May 1840, Lord William Russell was found in bed with his 
throat cut. The murder of an elderly aristocrat in his Mayfair townhouse (just a short 
stroll from New Bond Street) commanded enormous public attention and a major investigation 
was instigated by the Metropolitan Police, formed just eleven years earlier. A remarkable 
volume of original documents relating to the investigation and subsequent trial is offered 
in The English Literature and History sale on 12 December. This file of papers provides a 
remarkably full insight into the investigation and trial itself, but one letter in 
particular gives a prescient piece of advice.
Ten days after the murder, a surgeon called Robert Blake Overton who resided in the Norfolk 
village of Grimstone wrote to the victim’s nephew, the prominent politician Lord John 
Russell (who passed the letter to Scotland Yard), referring to the “marks of bloody fingers” 
found at the murder scene. He informed him that, ”it is not generally known that every 
individual has a peculiar arrangement [on] the grain of the skin the impression of which may 
be distinctly seen by the aid of a high magnifying glass.” Overton went on to explain, “the 
impressions made from the fingers of different persons will produce different shapes,” and 
concluded, “I would strongly recommend the propriety of obtaining impressions from the 
fingers of the suspected individual and a comparison made with the marks on the sheets and 
pillows.” He even included two pairs of inky fingerprints in his letter to demonstrate his 
This obscure village surgeon was suggesting the forensic use of fingerprint evidence for 
identification purposes a full fifty years before the procedure was adopted. It was only 
in the 1850s that William Hershel began experimenting with fingerprints as a means to 
identify villagers in India. Decades passed before the identification process was 
systematised (by, among others, Charles Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton), and it was not 
until in the 1890s that pioneering use was made of fingerprints in criminal investigations; 
even Sherlock Holmes did not use fingerprints until 1903.
The history of criminal investigation might have looked very different if Overton’s 
suggestion had been followed and one of the most important technological developments in 
forensics had taken place at the beginning of the Victorian period – a time of public 
executions, when policing was first becoming professionalised. Countless investigations 
could have taken a different course; perhaps even Jack the Ripper might have been caught. 
Instead, this letter was filed away and Overton himself disappears from the history of 
forensics. But there is one murder that fingerprint evidence would not have helped to solve: 
that of Lord William Russell himself. Scotland Yard took sufficient interest in Overton’s 
suggestion to record on the back of the letter that, “there were no such marks, except those 
made by the Surgeons who first examined the wound”.
http://www.sothebys.com/en/inside/BlogHome/Collecting/Bibliofile/2012/12/_marks_of_bloodyfin.html 12-6-2013

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