Australian Institute of Criminology

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Information services

Objectives

The objectives of the Information Services Group are to provide information technology services and to provide clients with timely criminal justice information services.

Description

Information Services are organised under the following sub-programs:

  • Library
  • Information Technology

Strategic priorities

The strategic priorities of the Information Services Group are to:

  • develop a coordinated and consistent approach within the Institute for the strategic dissemination of information both internally and externally;
  • provide timely and accurate information services;
  • identify and implement revenue targets from information services, noting that the provision of certain information is a core funded public service;
  • provide the most efficient and cost-effective information technology services and support which meet the diverse needs of all groups within the Institute; and
  • utilise modern, cost-effective technology for the provision of quality information.

JV Barry Library

Description

The Institute's JV Barry Library is a major criminal justice information service that not only supports the information needs of the Institute's research programs but also services key stakeholders and other clients, and produces the CINCH database, an index of Australian criminal justice subject matter.

Achievements and continuing activities

Services to Clients

Reference Services

The Library aims to provide clients with timely and efficient criminal justice information services, utilising staff expertise, the Library's collection, and other information resources.

The Library's work involves responding to a wide variety of requests for information from within the Institute. The work also involves developing an understanding of criminal justice information among the Library's clients and assisting in their understanding of the information services and sources that are available. Within Australia, the Library maintains close links with libraries within the Commonwealth Attorney-General's portfolio, and also with a wide range of Government libraries.

During 1996-97, the Library handled 800 reference inquiries from Institute staff and 1621 from outside of the Institute.

Loans and inter-library loans

During the year the Library made 930 loans to Institute staff and handled 1836 items on inter-library loan, 1593 were issued to other libraries and 243 were received from other libraries.

Collection

Collection development

This work involves developing the Library's collection and identifying the location of criminal justice information and other relevant information to meet clients' information needs. The emphasis is to collect material which provides current information and which is relevant to the Institute's overall program.

During the year 1253 monographs were received. Of these, 753 were gratis or exchange items and 500 were purchased. At 30 June 1997, the Library was receiving 1362 current serial titles and a further 92 serial titles that are not retained by the Library.

Cataloguing the collection

During the year ending 30 June 1997, 264 titles were added to the Australian Bibliographic Network with original cataloguing and 216 existing ABN catalogue records were upgraded. In the same period, 1378 holdings were added to existing ABN records.

CINCH and Other Databases

CINCH, the Australian Criminology Database

The JV Barry Library makes a unique contribution to the dissemination of criminal justice information by producing and developing CINCH, the Australian Criminology Database. This bibliographic database is an index of Australian subject matter relating to crime, crime prevention, and criminal justice. CINCH is available online through the National Library of Australia's OZLINE Service and on CD-ROM as part of the AUSTROM disc.

All indexing for CINCH continues to be undertaken by contract indexers. The current contractor is Datascape Information Pty Ltd. The database is updated ten times per year with 1547 records added in 1996 compared with 4071 records for the previous year. Effective from the end of June 1997, the Database had 33 806 records.

During the year the online version of CINCH has been used for a total of 44 hours and 08 minutes of royalty-earning connect time.

Australian Crime and Justice on CD-ROM

In May 1997 the Australian Institute of Criminology published the first CD-ROM in the series Australian Crime and Justice on CD-ROM. The Institute has contracted with RMIT Publishing to produce the series. The project has been assisted with funding from the Commonwealth's Confiscated Assets Trust Fund.

This first CD-ROM, Crime and Justice in Australia 1996 includes the full-text of papers from the Institute's series, Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, together with the scanned image of a range of Australian criminal justice publications. Four other CD-ROM titles are scheduled for publication in the series.

Home Page

The Institute's Home Page (http://www.aic.gov.au) provides information about the work of the Institute and the Criminology Research Council. It also disseminates Australian criminal justice information. Home page work is undertaken by Information Technology staff, coordinated by an internal home page committee.

The past year has been a period of development and growth in terms of size, scope and use of the home page.

Development

Features added, or further developed, over the past year have included:

  • Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice.Two samples of the Trends and Issues series were added, one as a full text document, and the other in pdf (Adobe® Acrobat®) format;
  • An extract adapted from the Institute publication: Violent Deaths and Firearms in Australia : Data & Trends, by Satyanshu Mukherjee and Carlos Carcach (Research and Public Policy; No. 4);
  • Information about the Australian Violence Prevention Awards;
  • Resumes for Institute Research staff;
  • More detailed information about Institute Conferences;
  • More statistical tables; and
  • Links to Related Sites.
Growth in use (Requests for Pages)
MonthRequests
Jul 1996891
Oct 19962484
Jan 19973332
Apr 19977546

Information technology

In the 1995-96 budget the Institute allocated funds to revamp its information technology (network, desktops, printers) and received a Confiscated Assets Trust Fund (CATF) grant to develop new information services (Internet, data warehouse, Library Management System).

Network

The Institute building is equipped with structured cabling, catering for voice and data communication.

Desktop

All the microcomputers run Windows 3.11, the application being MS Office (Word, Excel and Powerpoint). The Internet browser is Netscape.

Internet connection

The Institute is running its own Internet server (SUN Netra/i). This server ensures the protection of the internal network through a combination of firewall software (Central Point FireWall-1) and a router. The server is also the host for the Institute external home page (http://www.aic.gov.au).

The Internet connection is used by the Institute staff for:

  • electronic mail;
  • access to ABN for the library; and
  • web access.

Library management system

The Library is currently implementing a fully integrated Library Management System (FIRST) based on client-server technology, the end-user of which will access it using an Internet browser. Once the system is in place and tested, a mirror system will be installed on the Institute external web server.

Financial management system

At the request of the Auditor, the Institute is replacing its current accounting system (Intergy) with a fully integrated Financial Management System. The selected system is SunSystem, which is a client-server application.

Future

The data warehouse is currently under development, with the first phase in progress.