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Indexes: How to Save Time When Researching Legal or Criminal Justice Subjects

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Whether you’re researching juvenile sex offender laws or marijuana taxation or jails or something in between, you will want to use an Index, that is, “indexes to periodical literature,” including magazine, journal, newsletter, and other print and online specialty or general publications indexes.

Indexes save you time, lots of time, and enable to you to locate articles you might otherwise miss if you search only full-text resources or simply “Google” a subject.

Most of the following indexes are online, but none is free online, although one or more may be “free” to institutional members, e.g. public library cardholders, educational institution students, staff, and faculty, and professional associations, to name a few groups that offer no-charge online index and other database and literature searching to their members.

This is not a complete list! There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of indexes to legal and non-legal literature (and I use the word “literature” broadly, i.e. meaning pretty much “the written word” though there are also indexes to images, but that’s another topic).

General Legal Indexes:

1) W Wilson Indexes to Legal Periodical Literature (ILP)
2) Gale Group Legal Resource Index (LRI) (aka Legal Trac)
3) Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

Criminal Justice and Social Science Indexes and Abstracts:

Universities with criminal justice programs provide excellent criminal justice research guides, often available from their library websites. Look for Indexes, Abstracts, Periodicals, Journals, and related headings to link you to the indexes you need. Here are some guides we like:

1) Rutgers University Libraries Criminal Justice research guide
2) Georgetown Law Library Criminal Law and Criminal Justice research guide
3) College of Criminology and Criminal Justice

There are also these free resources:

1) NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service)
2) CCJR (Center for Criminal Justice Research)
3) OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency)
4) Google Scholar