The ABCs of ASB


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Source:  Mary C. McKiel, PhD, Communications Liaison

Over 60 individuals from a wide range of forensic backgrounds participated in a one-hour, online presentation about the Academy Standards Board given by ASB Secretariat, Teresa Ambrosius, along with the ASB Communications Liaison, Mary McKiel. The presentation covered the basics about the formation and purpose of the ASB, how the work relates to the educational and training mission of the AAFS, and included overarching details on ASB’s development of American National Standards (ANS) for forensics.

The recently revised presentation serves as a refresher for current ASB members while providing newcomers to ASB with a solid introduction and foundation on the purpose, policies, and operations of the standards development work. The presentation also introduces current ASB Board members and staff as well.

Beginning with background information on the establishment of the AAFS-ASB standards developing organization, the Secretariat talked about the structure and function of the 12 active ASB consensus bodies (CB) and multiple working groups (WG), including details on membership, and key differences in the role and constitution of the both groups. Secretariat Ambrosius went on to describe how ASB’s policies and organization adhere to ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards, by which ASB is accredited. McKiel provided a quick background on the copyright and patent policies adopted by ASB, also in accord with the Essential Requirements.

The presentation also included information on the ASB Style Guide for all ASB documents. Used by the consensus bodies, the style guide helps ensure the continuity and branding of ASB documents and facilitates their use. For example, users of ASB standards will always find normative references in the same section of any ASB standard.

The Secretariat then used a complex flow chart included in the presentation to make a key point: namely, that standards development is not always a fast process. Resolution of negative comments following public vetting of a proposed standard can – and often does – take significant time and commitment of the CB in order to ensure that the resulting standard reflects sue process and industry consensus. To date, ASB has successfully produced two completed terminology standards with more than 50 new work proposals in the works.

Participants were given the opportunity to ask questions and requested to send additional questions to asb@aafs.org. The full Power Point presentation from the January 11 event is available on the ASB portion of the Academy website under Documents and Forms. All are encouraged to watch the full 25-minute presentation which is especially helpful for anyone interested in understanding how ASB produces standards and other forensic documents.

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