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February 26, 2001
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Criminal Justice Periodical Index

A valuable resource is now available electronically for researchers in the area of criminal justice. The Criminal Justice Periodical Index (CJPI) can help you compile a list of articles in criminal justice related periodicals.


CJPI provides citations to and abstracts of articles related to criminal justice from over 180 periodicals. Full text is also available for about 25% of the titles. Most journals tend to concentrate on practical issues in crime prevention and deterrence, juvenile delinquency, police issues and court room procedures, but there are also a number of highly respected theoretical journals.


Titles are indexed as early as 1972, but coverage for the majority dates from the mid 1980's. The earliest that titles are available in full text is from 1991 onwards, though most begin in the mid 1990's. CJPI is updated weekly. (1)

Comparison with Other Databases

The UW Madison Libraries also provides access to two other indexes of criminal justice publications. These are the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Abstracts and Criminal Justice Abstracts (CJA).

NCJRS Abstracts is available to anyone over the world wide web. It covers about 150,000 publications from the early 1970's to the present. Unlike CJPI, however, the emphasis is on publications from government and national organizations and less on criminal justice related law journals.

Criminal Justice Abstracts is accessible to all UW Madison users. It covers journals and other publications from 1968 to the present. CJA is broader in terms of scope than CJPI; it not only indexes books and other scholarly publications, but it selects articles from periodicals that do not necessarily specialize in criminal justice (e.g. the American Journal of Legal History or the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry). CJA's abstracts also tend to be more extensive than those of CJPI. However, CJA's coverage of periodicals that are primarily centered around criminal justice is not as comprehensive as that of CJPI.

How to Use CJPI

To access the database, point your internet browser to the law library's home page at Click on Electronic Resources, then select Journal Article/Publication Indexes. Choose Topical-Criminal Justice from the table of contents, then select Criminal Justice Periodical Index.

From the search screen, select a type of search from one of the three tabs above the search box. The Basic search mode is the default. It enables you to find citations in which the terms you have chosen appear. The Guided search allows you to search in thirteen different fields, including author, title, subject, abstract, publication title, etc. The Natural Language Search allows you to frame your search as a question.

Search terms can be connected with connectors ( i.e. AND, OR, AND NOT), which allow you to broaden or increase the precision of your search. Click on the Help button in the top right hand corner of the search screen for more operators and other search options.

1. For older articles, CJPI is still available in print from 1975-1998 in stack 34 of the Grand Reading Room.

Written by: Sunil Rao
Reference Librarian

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