Via its public website, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service provides abstracts of publications across the entire field of law enforcement and criminal justice. Publications indexed include books, journals, magazines, and government documents. Subject areas include corrections, courts, crime prevention, criminology, drugs and crime, juveniles, law enforcement, statistics, technology, and victims of crime. The NCJRS also offers separate access to the full-text of numerous government publications relating to criminal justice. This guide covers searching the abstracts database only.
|Searching||Saving and Printing|
|Result List||Using the Thesaurus|
The search screen consists of the following options and fields, beginning with the option to choose the type of search you wish to perform.
CHOOSING A SEARCH TYPE
The default search type is Boolean, however you may also perform Concept or Pattern searches.
Example: To find abstracts dealing with HIV in prisons, your search might look like:
(HIV OR AIDS) AND ("correctional facilities" OR prisons OR jail)
Concept: A Concept search will find abstracts containing the words or phrases entered, as well as related concepts. For example, a search for "death penalty" will also retrieve abstracts which contain the phrase "capital punishment".
Pattern: A Pattern search will find abstracts containing the words entered, as well as words with similar spellings. This is useful if you are not sure of the exact spelling of a word, phrase, or author's name. It will also help in searching for terms spelled in British/Canadian style.
PERFORMING A SEARCH
After choosing the search type, you may search by one or more of the following fields: Title, Subject, Author, NCJ Number, General Search, and/or Date Range.
Subject Search: Looks for index terms taken from the National Criminal Justice Thesaurus. See Using the Thesaurus below for information on finding and searching with index terms. Index terms can also be used in the General Search field.
Author Search: Looks only for authors' and editors' names, including the names of people and organizations. Some records include the authors' full names and others include only the first initial of the first name, users need to search for both.
Example: The name Paula Rubin should be searched for as:NCJ Number Search: If you know the serial number assigned to a document by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, enter it in this field.
General Search: Allows you to search for terms across all fields at once, as well as within the text of the abstract.
Date Range: Use this field to limit your search to materials published in a certain time period. You must specify the month and year for both the beginning and ending date.
Example: To limit to materials published since 1995, enter 01/1995 - 05/2003
ADVANCED SEARCH TECHNIQUES
Example: correction* will retrieve corrections, correctional, etc.Proximity operator: The pattern is word1 word2 within N, where N is a number of words.
Example: incarcerated mothers within 10 will retrieve records that contain the words incarcerated and mothers within 10 words of each other
Results from your search are listed as brief citations in order of NCJ Number. You may re-sort the list alphabetically by title, or by date.
To save or print abstracts:
To Print: Print the page using your browser's print function
The NCJRS Abstracts database uses a controlled vocabulary to assign subject and index terms to documents indexed in the system. The thesaurus should be consulted to determine the appropriate index terms to use in your search of the NCJRS Abstracts. The thesaurus can also be used to find synonyms and related terms in order to broaden or expand your search. You may also perform searches for abstracts from within the thesaurus.
ACCESSING THE THESAURUS
At the main NCJRS Abstracts page click located above the search box. The thesaurus provides the option to Browse an Alphabetical List of index terms, or to Search for a Term.
Clicking on a term allows you to expand the term and see its full entry in the thesaurus. This may include a scope note which briefly defines the term and makes suggestions for its use. The expanded entry will also include those terms for which the selected term is the accepted substitute, as well as broader, narrower, and related terms. These can be used to refine, re-direct, or broaden you search.
SEARCHING WITH TERMS
When you encounter a term you would like to use in your search, select it by clicking in the check box to the left of the term.