The NIJ's National Criminal Justice Reference Service

By Waggoner, Kimberly J. | The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 1993 | Go to article overview

The NIJ's National Criminal Justice Reference Service


Waggoner, Kimberly J., The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Wondering what police chiefs ranked as their number one criminal justice need? Or how the State of Ohio finances prisons? Perhaps you need a copy of an out-of-print Government publication. If so, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) can help.

Established in 1972 by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), NCJRS is the largest criminal justice information network in the world. It serves more than 100,000 criminal justice professionals, policymakers, and researchers by providing comprehensive information on recent criminal justice studies and projects.

NCJRS Resources

NCJRS provides a range of services, most at little or no cost. The NCJRS Data Base--a computerized database containing citations and abstracts of nearly 120,000 criminal justice books, research reports, journal articles, grants, Government documents, program descriptions, and evaluations--can be accessed by the NCJRS staff or on DIALOG, an international electronic information retrieval service. In addition, CD-ROM discs, updated every 6 months, provide users with direct, immediate access to the NCJRS Data Base.

The National Institute of Justice Catalog contains descriptions of selected new titles added to the NCJRS Data Base, as well as a list of materials available from NCJRS and a calendar of upcoming events. These events--such as conferences, seminars, workshops, and training sessions--are also listed in the NIJ Conference Calendar and provided on two databases--the NIJ Criminal Justice Conference Calendar Data Base and the Juvenile Justice Conference Calendar Data Base.

The National Institute of Justice Journal, a free, bimonthly periodical, contains information on current issues, programs, and trends in criminal justice. Other free NIJ publications distributed by NCJRS include the Research in Brief series, Evaluation Bulletins, and a series of Program Focus Reports, which provide summaries of recent, significant research and evaluation findings. Many of the available titles are reprints of NIJ Journal feature articles.

The condensed information and easy-to-read format of these publications can greatly assist criminal justice professionals. And these are just a few of the advanced resources available from NCJRS. Others include:

* An electronic bulletin board, which provides 24-hour access to electronic mail and document transfer, contact with other users, and updates on criminal justice activities and publications

* An extensive microfiche collection, which allows criminal justice agencies, libraries, and research organizations to acquire over 30,000 full-text documents for a fraction of the cost of hard copies

* The Crime File videotape series, which focuses on critical crime issues facing the public and provides law enforcement professionals with innovative ways to implement community policing and other emerging law enforcement tools in their districts.

Moreover, NCJRS does not limit its information gathering to the United States. An international information collection covers criminal justice practices and problems unique to countries worldwide.

Specialized Information Services

To further assist criminal justice professionals in their research needs, NCJRS maintains information clearinghouses for a variety of disciplines. …

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