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Other pages discuss the use of infrared to discriminate the differences between inks that visually and microscopically look identical.
Comparative analysis of a particular document against other documents from the same source and the same period may be of assistance in determining the relative date of documents or may identify a particular time frame in which a particular organisation used a particular paper type, printer, fax machine etc.
The different dating conventions employed in historical documents can cause problems for even the most seasoned of researchers.
Early documents, such as medieval deeds, for example, may be dated by reference to a day of the week, a nearby religious feast day and the year of the reigning monarch - a system which has little in common with the current method of noting day, month and calendar year.
The second ink dating method is the dynamic approach, this method is to determine when the writing occurred, or in simple terms, how long the ink has been on the paper.
The ink dating static approach is typically more useful as the difference between the date on the document and the present time increases.
Several different tests exist in this form of ink dating.
These ink dating methods include the comparison of the examined ink to a known library of standards, commonly called the library approach, the detection of chemical date tags placed in the ink purposefully by the manufacturer, commonly called the date tag method, and also the determination of the type of ink writing instrument used.
Analysis of the ink deposited on a document can then assist in determining a date after which the writing must have been made, that is the date will be on or after the date of manufacture of the ink containing a tag.Furthermore, even where a recognisable date is provided, it may not always be what it at first appears.The information provided within this skills unit aims to identify and explain some of the most common difficulties and pitfalls and to provide sources of assistance.When it can be determined that an ink came into manufacture on a certain date, it can be inferred that the writing made by that ink occurred either on or after the first date of manufacture.However, this type of analysis is relevant only to very old documents.