During the lifecycle of a single document, it may have to move between electronic and physical forms several times. A physical document may progress along several steps in a workflow during its lifecycle. Information-laden printed features such as bar codes can be used to move the physical item (document, package, envelope, carton, etc.) from node to node in its workflow (e.g. from manufacturer to consumer). These information-laden features are termed identifying objects. Current approaches use sequential barcodes for this purpose, which can use significant. "real estate" on the physical item. What is needed is an identifying object that does not grow in size as the item moves through its workflow. We have previously described such an incremental identifying object (IIO), familiarly designated a progressive barcode, as barcodes are one of the most logical instantiations and provide a means to tie the alteration of the IIO necessary to move one step along in the workflow to the physical attributes of the printed barcode itself. Specifically, we designate this as the forensic marking-IIO, or IIOfm. The approach outlined provides the means to tie a physical item to a workflow at each stage, even if the document is printed multiple times during its lifecycle.