CJ blog watch! Any ones I’m missing?

I follow alot of blogs. Although I don’t personally write alot about criminology or criminal justice related matters (maybe in the future when I have more time or inclination), but I figured I would share some of my favorites and query the crowd for more recommendations.

So a few with general discussion related to criminology and criminal justice matters are;

Both sites are well known criminologists/criminal justicians. I am aware of a few blogs written by current/former police chiefs;

  • Tom Casady’s The Director’s Desk. Tom Casady is currently the director of public safety for Lincoln, Nebraska and was previously the Police Chief at Lincoln’s department for quite some time. Tom is also very active in a variety of criminology/criminal justice organizations (so if you go to a related conference there is a good chance he is around somewhere!)
  • Chief’s Blog by Chief Ramsay of the Duluth Police Dept in Minnesota.

There are also a few that are highly focused on crime mapping & analysis;

  • Location Based Policing by Drew Dasher. He is a crime analyst for the Lincoln Nebraska PD.
  • Saferview – crime, fear and mapping: A blog by a retired police officer who is a student at University College London.
  • Diego Valle-Jones: Although his blog has a wider variety of topics, he has a series of very detailed posts and analysis on violence in Mexico and central american nations. I know crime stats are frequent fodder for generic statistical demonstrations, but this is real insightful analysis. My favorite is his investigation into the validity of homicide data statistics.

Are there others I am missing out on or should know about? Let me know in the comments if you have other suggestions.

FYI – the title of the blog post was motivated by Hans Toch’s new book, Cop Watch.

Not participating in SPSS google group anymore, recommend using other SPSS forums

I have participated in asking and answering questions at the SPSS google group for close to two years now. I am going to stop though, as I would recommend going other places to ask and answer questions. The SPSS google group has become over-ridden with spam. Much more spam than actual questions, and I have spent much more time for at least a few months marking spam rather than answering questions.

I have diligently been marking the spam that arises for quite some time, but unfortunately google has not taken any obvious action to prevent it from occurring. I noted this mainly because the majority of recent spam has repeatedly come from only two email addresses. It is sad, mainly because I have a gmail account and I am fairly sure such obvious spam emails would not make it through my gmail account, so I don’t know why they make it through to google groups.

I believe amounts of spam and actual questions have waxed and waned in the past, but I see little reason to continue to use the forum when other (better) alternatives exist. Fortunately I can recommend alternatives to ask questions related to conducting analysis in SPSS, and the majority of the same SPSS experts answer questions at many of the forums.

First I would recommend the Nabble SPSS group. I recommend it first mainly because it has the best pool of SPSS experts answering questions. It has an alright interface, that includes formatting responses in html and uploading attachments. One annoyance I have is that many automatic email replies get through when you post something on this list (so people listening set your automatic email replies  to not reply to list serve addresses). To combat this I have a mass email filter, and if I get an out of office reply in response to a posting your email address automatically goes to my email trash. In the future I just may send all responses from the list serve to the trash, as I follow questions/answers in the group using RSS feeds anway.

Second I would recommend CrossValidated if it has statistical content, and Stackoverflow if it is strictly related to programming. SPSS doesn’t have many questions on StackOverflow, but it is one of the more popular tags on CrossValidated. These have the downside that the expert community that answers questions related to SPSS specifically is smaller than Nabble (although respectable), but it has the advantage of a potential greater community input on other tangential aspects, especially related to advice about statistical analysis. Another advantage is the use of tags, and the ability to write posts in markdown as well as embed images. A downside is you can not directly attach files.

Third I would recommend the SPSS developerworks forum. There has been little to no community build up there, and so it is basically ask Jon Peck a question. For this reason I would recommend the other forums over the IBM provided forum. While the different sub sections for different topics is a nice idea, the Stackoverflow style of tags IMO works so much better it is hard to say nice things about the other list-serve or forum types of infrastructure. Jon Peck answers questions at all of the above places as well, so it is not like you are missing his input by choosing stack overflow as opposed to the IBM forum.

I hope in the future the communities will all just pick one place (and I would prefer all the experts migrate to CrossValidated and StackOverflow for many reasons). But at least no one should miss the google group with the other options available.

Some tips on keeping up with contemporary scholarly research

A brief tip on two tools I use to keep up with contemporary scholarly research, RSS feeds from peer reviewed publications, and google scholar alerts.

RSS feeds are a really awesome way to aggregate information into easily readable short clips. And using RSS feeds has greatly improved the amount of information I consume on a regular basis.

Most peer-reviewed publications I am interested in have RSS feeds for the current issue and online first articles, and they post the title, abstract and authors for every feed. One of the nice things about this is that publications publish infrequently enough that they aren’t particularly bothersome, and so I have a huge list of publications I follow and peruse the titles/abstracts. Also because I use google reader as my feed reader, I have a custom “sendto” button to send the article directly to my citeulike library to read later if I’m interested.

I also use google scholar alerts to send me emails when new articles appear under specific search terms. For instance I have a search for “journey to crime”, and I believe I get an update for a new article on average every two weeks. I suspect if you use more general search terms it would be more bothersome with updates, but if that is the case it would be better to refine your search terms to be more specific anyway.

I previously used this tool to keep up to date on some authors whose work I’m generally interested in, but Rob Hyndman mentions that a new option is signing up for email alerts directly from an individual scholar’s profile page (which is a fairly new addition I believe).  I even see I can sign up for alerts for articles that cite my own (meager) list of publications so far.

These two tools, RSS feeds and google scholar alerts, have greatly aided me to be aware of contemporary research. In particular RSS feeds have really expanded my awareness of fields outside of criminology/criminal justice that I do not read articles from as frequently.

Some other tools that I use, but the breadth of information is not quite as large as RSS feeds or google scholar alerts (but are worth an honorable mention are);

  • citeulike watch lists, groups, connections & watched tag lists. I would guess similar networking tools are available in Mendeley
  • Public repositories of working papers, such as SSRNNBER, arXIV. Unfortunately these popular ones don’t have any categories that really conform to my field, but it appears a new program called Academia.edu allows to post working papers. For an example see my friends, Kelly Socia’s profile.

SPSS resources at the Cross Validated tag-wiki

In both my work and personal projects I frequently use the statistical program SPSS to conduct data management, statistical analysis, and make statistical graphics. Over the years I have collected various resources for the program, and have subsequently compiled a list of them at the SPSS tag-wiki over at the Cross Validated Q/A site.

Instead of having a seperate page of these resources here at my blog, I figured the one at Cross Validated is sufficient. The Cross Validated resource is nice as well in that other people can edit/update it.

If you have some suggestions as to resources I missed feel free to add them in to the tag-wiki, or give me a comment here.