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Resources for Criminal Justice

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Criminal justice is a field of study located at the intersection of social issues, public institutions, and the law. Students of criminal justice will use a variety of research materials including studies in the fields of sociology, political science, psychology, and the law, statistical information, and government documents. The sources described here are merely a place to start; don't hesitate to consult with a reference librarian for more ideas.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
For more information and additional suggestions, visit the Databases Guide for Criminal Justice.
  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
    1975-present; updated daily
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Search current news, business information (including business news and corporate financials), and legal news and information. International news sources are also included.
    Coverage varies by title; mostly 1980s-present
  • NCJRS Abstracts Database
    This freely accessible database is maintained by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, a "federally funded resource offering justice and substance abuse information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide." It includes abstracts (but not full text) of nearly 200,000 documents and journal articles relating to corrections, courts, crime prevention, criminology, drugs, juveniles, law enforcement, criminal justice statistics, technology, and victims.
  • Public Affairs Index
    Covers global contemporary public policy issues, ranging from public health, the environment, housing, human and civil rights, to international conflict and natural disasters. Draws on scholarly publications, conference papers, government documents and reference works.
    1972-present; updated weekly
  • ProQuest Statistical Insight
    Includes summaries of statistical publications and searches and displays tables of statistical data. Statistical Insight includes links to the full-text of selected publications and government web sites, including the information contained in the Statistical Abstract of the United States.
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
Reference Works in Criminal Justice
  • Atlas of Crime: Mapping the Criminal Landscape
    Oryx 2000
    In addition to maps of crimes of violence, property crimes, family violence, organized crime, and criminal justice topics, this volume offers insight into the uses of geographic information systems in analysis of criminal activity.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 6783 .A85 2000
  • Crime and the Justice System in America
    Greenwood 1997
    A short handbook that defines terms and provides brief overviews of topics in the field, including precedent-setting cases, key figures, policy initiatives, programs, studies, and agencies. Some of the topics, such as "community policing" and "lifers," come out of law enforcement and corrections fields; many of the entries, such as "discovery," "grand jury," and "plea bargain" define key concepts in the practice of criminal law.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 6789 .C6884 1997
  • Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice
    Macmillan Reference 2002
    Covers issues in law, criminology, and sociology; includes references to classic studies and recent research for further digging. Though the focus tends to emphasis the US, international perspectives are included. One of the best sources available for overall coverage of the field.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 6017 .E52 2002
    4 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment
    Sage 2002
    Covers a huge range of topics from crimes to policing to corrections in an accessible manner.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 6017 .E524 2002
    4 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of Criminology and Deviant Behavior
    Brunner-Routledge 2001
    Covers history and theory, crime, sexual deviance, and self-destructive behaviors in substantial, scholarly essays.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 6017 .E53 2001
    4 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement
    Sage 2005
    In volumes covering state and local, national, and international law enforcement, this set offers articles on topics ranging from ballistics and DNA to women in policing and search and seizure. Especially helpful for background on topics in policing or information about specific commissions or issues in policing such as Compstat or the "Broken Windows" theory.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 7921 .E53 2005
    3 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime
    Sage 2003
    A one-volume compendium of articles on types of crimes, notable cases, and themes and topics. The bibliographies are helpful for locating related scholarly publications.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 6515 .E5323 2003
  • Encyclopedia of Rape
    Greenwood 2004
    A single-volume collection of short articles on topics related to rape, including legal and social issues, cases and historical context, and treatment of rape in the media and in literature.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 6558 .E53 2004
  • World of Criminal Justice
    Gale 2001
    Brief entries on theories, topics, concepts, organizations, and figures in the field written for a lay audience. Some coverage of international topics, but the main focus is on U.S. law enforcement.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 7411 .W67 2001
    2 vols.
Reference Works in Related Fields
  • Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior
    Macmillan 2001 3rd edition
    Includes articles on crime and alcohol, crime and drugs, legal aspects of drug abuse, specific drugs, physiological aspects of addiction, and more.
    • Location(s): Ref HV 5804 .E53 2009
    4 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of Psychology
    American Psychological Association 2000
    An authoritative source of articles on topics, methods, findings, advances, and applications in the field. Each article is followed by a current bibliography of the key works on the topic.
    • Location(s): Ref BF 31 .E52 2000
    8 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of Sociology
    Macmillan 2000 2nd edition
    This set provides up-to-date and scholarly discussions of topics in the field such as class and race, ethnicity, economic sociology, and social structure. Each article is written by a specialist and all have excellent bibliographies.
    • Location(s): Ref HM425 .E5 2000
    5 vols.
  • Violence in America
    Scribner 1999
    Explores the various facets of violence in nearly 600 articles on historical events, types of violence, research on violence, social issues, violence in the arts and popular culture, etc.
    • Location(s): Ref HN 90 .V5 V5474 1999
    3 vols.
  • Gale Encyclopedia of American Law
    Gale 2011 3rd edition
    [Formerly West's Encyclopedia of American Law] Offers over 4,000 entries devoted to terms, concepts, cases, legal issues, and people of note in the American legal system.
    • Location(s): Ref KF 154 .W47 2011
    14 vols.
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of criminal justice.
  • H Social Sciences (general)
  • HA Statistics
  • HM Sociology (general)
  • HN Sociol history, problems, reform
  • HT Communities, classes, races
  • HV1-9960 Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
    • 5001-5840 Alcoholism; Drub abuse
    • 6001-7220.5 Criminology
  • 7231-9960 Criminal justice administration


Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library. Websites
  • Portals and Directories
    • MegaLinks in Criminal Justice
      Maintained by Dr. Thomas R. O'Connor of the Department of Justice Studies, North Carolina Wesleyan, a well organized and deep set of links to topics in the field, including police in society, evidence, forensic law, and profiling.
    • Zeno's Forensic Site
      An essential resource maintained by Zeno Geradts, a forensic scientist at the Netherlands Forensic Science Laboratory.
  • Government Agencies
    • National Institute of Justice
      The research arm of the Department of Justice. Publications include reports on using DNA to solve cold cases and policing on Indian reservations.
    • U.S. Department of Justice
      Enormous amounts of information. The site includes a useful search engine that pulls up reports from many federal law enforcement agencies.
  • Portals for Public Documents
    • Search Systems: Public Records Online
      A commercial directory to a wealth of federal, state, Canadian, and World public records. In some cases, searches cost money, but these are clearly marked. An extraordinary portal to online records of all sorts.
    • University of Michigan Documents Center
      Offers a well-organized and current list of links to local, state, federal, foreign, and international Web sites with official information, as well as links to statistical information sources and a guide to political science material on the Web.
  • Statistical Sources
    • FedStats
      A portal for all sorts of statistical data from federal Web sites. To search for Minnesota data: Select Minnesota from the menu under "MapStats" for state statistics; you may also limit by Minnesota county or city.
    • U.S. Bureau of the Census
      Statistics on population and housing, business, agriculture, transportation, and many social variables.
  • Legal Information
    • Findlaw
      A commercial directory to law resources. Includes a handy law dictionary and a well-designed full text database of US Supreme Court decisions from 1893 to the present. Site requires free registration.
    • Legal Information Institute, Cornell University
      A directory to legal information on the web, including texts of case law and statutes for state, federal and international jurisdictions. The site - organized alphabetically by topic - also provides links to court opinions and directories to law organizations and journals. From the Cornell University Law School.
  • Criminal Justice News
    • CJNews
      A crime and justice newsfeed, updated daily. Maintained by Frank Schmalleger.
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