Age of a Document

Document Age Analysis

If a questioned document is purported to have been generated on a specific date and the date of generation is in question, there are circumstances where the general date or age of the document can be established by a forensic document examiner. Watermarks, office machine defects, identification of the writing instrument and/or determining the printing technology employed are areas where information concerning the date of the documents may be generated.

A famous case where document dating played a major key in uncovering the true history of a document involved the CBS News anchor Dan Rather’s report of the George W. Bush National Guard military records. In this case, the documents in question were produced on an IBM Selectric® typewriter equipped with a correction lift-off option. This particular option was not developed or commercially available until years after the date of production of the documents in question. Therefore, there can be no other conclusion other than the National Guard papers were fabricated sometime after that particular feature was available.