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The NIJ's national criminal justice reference service.

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. These include the following:

* The Construction Information Exchange, which disseminates information about prison and jail construction (The exchange also distributes the National Directory of Corrections Constructions and the Construction Bulletin series, featuring case studies of innovative construction techniques.)

* The Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, which distributes publications of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and provides customized responses to requests for information

* The Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, which distributes Bureau of Justice Statistics publications and offers document database searches, information packages, and referrals regarding crime and criminal justice statistical data

* The Bureau of Justice Assistance Clearinghouse, which supplies Bureau of Justice Assistance program information designed to provide Federal funding and technical assistance to State and local governments to improve the criminal justice system.

The specialized services offered by NCJRS provide criminal justice professionals with extensive, current information on a variety of important issues. While some individuals may wish to call these clearinghouses directly, others may not know exactly what information they need or how to obtain it. In these cases, an NCJRS reference specialist can help.

NCJRS Reference Specialists

NCJRS reference specialists are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., eastern time. They can respond to information requests on a myriad of criminal justice issues, providing such services as:

* Topical searches of the NCJRS Data Base, which include 30 document citations on such topics as capital punishment and illegal substance abuse among juveniles

* Topical bibliographies, which contain up to 200 citations from the NCJRS Data Base--including subject and title indexes--for such subjects as the criminal justice system and victim services

* Fact-finding services, which produce customized reports for professionals who do not have the time, resources, or access to NCJRS source documents to conduct their own research. NCJRS research specialists supplement NCJRS resources with information obtained from criminal justice agencies, professional associations, and the media. They can also recommend sources for information not available through NCJRS.

Of course, research specialists provide NCJRS publications when appropriate. Many of the more than 700 publications distributed by the service are available at no cost. Furthermore, NCJRS makes most documents available through interlibrary loans. Many can also be photo-copied and bound, and approximately one-third of the documents in the NCJRS Data Base are available on microfiche.

Conclusion

Clearly, NCJRS provides a valuable service to the criminal justice community. Its extensive resources, innovative dissemination techniques, and knowledgeable staff can help law enforcement professionals find the most current information on any criminal justice topic. Combining this exchange of information with the research of the National Institute of Justice will help to improve the quality of our criminal justice system.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Federal Bureau of Investigation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:National Institute of Justice
Author:Waggoner, Kimberly J.
Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:900
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