Authors: Chris Bogen (US Army Corps of Engineers) and David Dampier (Mississippi State University)



In any forensic investigation, planning and analysis activities are required in order to determine what digital media will be seized, what types of information will be sought in the examination, and how the examination will be conducted. Existing literature and suggested practices indicate that such planning should occur, but few tools provide support for such activities. Planning an examination may be an essential activity when investigators and technicians are faced with unfamiliar case types or unusually complex, large-scale cases. In complex, large-scale cases it is critical that the investigators provide computer forensics technicians with the appropriate amount of case data supplemented with keyword lists; too much case data or too little case data can make the forensics technician’s task very difficult. This paper presents the concept for a novel application of ontology/domain modeling (known as case domain modeling) as a structured approach for analyzing case facts, identifying the most relevant case concepts, determining the critical relationships between these concepts, and documenting this information. This method may be considered as a foundational analytical technique in computer forensics that may serve as the basis for useful semi-automated tools. An example case domain model is presented, the method for constructing a case domain model is described, and applications for case domain modeling are presented.