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Criminal Justice: Finding Books

Suggested resources for Criminal Justice research

Introduction

Use the Library Catalog to search for print resources, multimedia resources, and ebooks. The Library Catalog also provides location and availability details. Use quotation marks for "phrase searching"

Books are a great source for background information, big themes, and analysis of a large topic. They are not such a great option for up-to-date statistics or cutting edge research because of the amount of time they take to publish.

If you find a book that looks like it might be useful, look at the table of contents and index and try to find the topic keywords you identified. If you can't find your keywords, the book is probably not going to be helpful for your research. If the keywords are in certain chapters, you can identify which sections you'll need to read instead of wasting your time on the whole book.

Where to start in the catalog

Subject headings are a good way to find relevant search keywords and also explore related resources. Below are some subjects you could start with, and be sure to look at the other subject headings in the item record to find new directions for your research.

Tips for Finding Books

Types of Searches

Keyword

  • Combine terms using AND.
  • This search returns records that contain words that match exactly what you typed in.
  • This is often (but not always) the best place to start.

Subject

  • Catalog uses pre-defined subjects. 
  • This type of search works well if you are browsing for a particular subject that you know or a broad term. So if you aren't finding anything, switch to the keyword search instead.
  • Subjects are arranged using the Library of Congress Classification system.

Author

  • Author searches are for looking for items a particular person has authored or written.
  • The library catalog works best if you type in searches in the format "Lastname, Firstname."
  • If you want books about a person, search for their name by subject.

Title

  • Use this search if you know the title of the material that you want.

Locating books and other materials in the Alkek Library

  • Call Numbers will guide you to the location of physical items within the library.
  • If you are having problems with finding a particular book, you can ask a librarian for help.
  • This guide may also help you: Locating Books by Call Number

What does the catalog record tell you about a resource?

Each item in the library's collection has its own catalog record, like the one below.

Here you can see the item's location and call number and also its status. If it says AVAILABLE, the item should be on the shelf.

Take a look at the parts of the record that are hyperlinked. If you click on the author's name, you can see what else in the catalog he or she wrote.

The subject terms are useful not only for finding other materials that are closely related to the one you're looking at, but also for suggesting additional search keywords.

If you find a really relevant book in the catalog, look at the subject terms to see if they use different words to describe your topic than you did. Try incorporating those new words in your searches to get a different angle on your research.

Where in the library is my book?

After you've found a book in the catalog, you'll need to find it on the shelf. Each book has a Library of Congress call number that identifies where exactly it's located.

Library of Congress call numbers should be read one line at a time as follows:

Example of a complete call number, DA 36 .A55:

Line 1   DA
Line 2   36
Line 3   .A55

 

1. First, look at Line 1:

Books are arranged in alphabetical order, by the letters on the first line of the call number.

Example: first come all the D call numbers, then all the DA call numbers, then DB, etc.

An illustration showing three groups of books. The first groups all have the letter D on the spine. The second group have the letters DA on the spine. The third group have the letters DB on the spine.

2. Next, look at Line 2:

Within the DA call numbers, books are arranged in number order.

The numbers are arranged in numerical from low to high.

Example:

An illustration of five books standing in a line. The spines read, in order, DA 1, DA 2, DA 22, DA 36, and DA 38.

3. Then look at Line 3:

Line 3 of the call number has a letter and a number. The letters are in alphabetical order. Then read the numbers—but BEWARE!

The numbers are not whole numbers, they are DECIMAL numbers.

Example: A55 is read as A .55—this is why A55 comes before A6 (A .55, A .6, A .65, etc.)

An illustration showing six books standing in a line. The spines read, in order, DA 36 A5, DA 36 A55, DA 36 A6, DA 36 B21, DA 36 B212.

 

Criminal Justice & Sociology Call Numbers

If you like to browse the bookshelves, some general call numbers to help you locate books by broad topics are:

Subclass HV
 
HV1-9960 Social pathology. Social and public welfare.
Criminology
HV5001-5720.5 Alcoholism.
HV5725-5770 Tobacco habit
HV5800-5840 Drug habits. Drug abuse
HV6001-7220.5 Criminology
HV7231-9960 Criminal justice administration
HV7428 Social work with delinquents and criminals
HV7431 Prevention of crime, methods, etc.
HV7435-7439 Gun control
HV7551-8280.7 Police. Detectives. Constabulary
HV7935-8025 Administration and organization
HV8301-9920.7 Penology. Prisons. Corrections
HV9051-9230.7 The juvenile offender. Juvenile delinquency.
Reform schools, etc.
HV9261-9430.7 Reformation and reclamation of adult
prisoners

Reference Resources and Ebooks

Reference material can be very useful for finding broad overviews on a topic: