Skip to main content
Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Forensic science: Background & reference information

A guide to finding (mostly published) information in forensic science. By Ellen Sexton.

What is forensic science?

"Forensic science is the application of science pertaining to the law and requires the complementary interaction of a wide range of scientific specialties and disciplines...."
To read more, click here.
From:  D. Wielbo, HISTORY | Forensic Sciences, In: Editor-in-Chief:   Jay A. Siegel, Editor(s)-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences, Elsevier, Oxford, 2000, Pages 1070-1075.

A little light reading

Some books in the stacks  (can be borrowed for 3 weeks):

Benecke, M. (2005). Murderous methods : using forensic science to solve lethal crimes. Stacks - HV8079 .H6 B4613 2005 

Blum, D. (2010). The poisoner's handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York.  Stacks  HV6555 .U52 N373 2010

Cobb, C. (2007).  Crime scene chemistry for the amateur sleuth. Stacks HV8073 .C584 2007. 

Englert, R. (2010). Blood secrets: chronicles of a crime scene reconstructionist.  Stacks HV8077.5 .B56 E54 2010

Gerber & Saferstein. (1997).   More chemistry and crime : from marsh arsenic test to DNA profile. Stacks - HV 8073 .M763 1997

Houck, Max M. (2004). Trace evidence analysis : more cases in mute witnesses. Stacks - HV8073 .T675 2004

Lee, H. (2010).  Shocking cases from Dr. Henry Lee's forensic files.  Stacks HV8073 .L395 2010. 

Lee, H. (2006). Dr. Henry Lee's forensic files : five famous cases--Scott Peterson, Elizabeth Smart, and more.  Stacks HV8073 .L369 2006

Lee, H. (2003). Blood evidence: how DNA is revolutionizing the way we solve crimes. Stacks - RA1057.55 .L44 2003

Lee, H.  (2002).   Cracking cases : the science of solving crimes. Stacks - HV 8073 .L44 2002

 Owen, D. (2007). The little book of forensics : 50 of the world's most infamous criminal cases solved by science.  Stacks HV8073 .O95 2007

Owen, D. (2009). Hidden evidence : 40 true crimes and how forensic science helped solve them.  Stacks HV 8073 .O93 2000.

Ramsland, K. (2001). The forensic science of C.S.I. . Stacks - HV8073 .R325 2001

Ramsland, K. (2004). The science of Cold Case files. Stacks - HV8073 .R326 2004

Starrs, J & Ramsland, K. (2005). A voice for the dead: A forensic investigator's pursuit of truth in the grave. Stacks - HV8073.5 .S75 2005

Reference books - general forensic science

General Forensic Science

Encyclopedia of forensic and legal medicine. Reference RA1051. E54 2005. Also available as an electronic book.

Encyclopedia of forensic sciences. Siegel, Sakko & Knupfer. Ref HV 8073. E58 2000. Also available as an electronic book.

Ethics and the practice of forensic science. CRC Press, 2010.  Available as an Electronic book.

FBI Handbook of crime scene forensics. Reference HV8073. F35 2008

Forensic chemistry handbook.  Kobilinsky, L.  Reserve HV8073. F5595. 

Forensic science. Salem Press. 3 volumes. Reference HV 8073. F5837 2009

Forensic science handbook. Saferstein. (2002).  2nd edition. Reference HV 8073 .F585 2002 (volume 1 only – for volume 2 & 3 use first edition, same call number).

Forensic science in court: challenges in the 21st century.  Shelton, T.  2010.  Electronic book.   

Forensic Service's directory.  (Annual).  Reference HV 8073. F62.

Guide to information sources in the forensic sciences.   Reference HV8073. H63 2006.

Introduction to criminalistics. Fisher, B.  2009. Electronic book.

Reference manual on scientific evidence.  2011.  National Academy Press. Electronic book. Print format in reference law area, KF 8961.R45.

Wiley Encyclopedia of forensic science.  5 volumes. Reference HV 8073. W55 2009.

World of forensic science.  Gale. 2005.  Electronic book.

Reference books for toxicology and other special forensic topics


Casarett & Doull's Toxicology. Reference RA1215.C37 2001.

Color atlas of forensic pathology.  2000.  CRC Press.  Also available as an electronic book.  

Comprehensive toxicology (13 vol). Reference RA 1199.C648 1997.

Courtroom toxicology. Reference RA 1228.H68. 

CRC Handbook of basic tables for chemical analysis. 3rd edition. 2010. Electronic book.

CRC Handbook of chemistry and physics. Annual. QD65.H3

Criminal poisoning : investigational guide for law enforcement, toxicologists, forensic scientists, and attorneys.  Stacks - RA 1228 .T74 2000.  Also available as an electronic book. 

Design and analysis in chemical research. Reference QD75.4.S8 D48 2000

Detecting forgery. Reference HV 8074.N53 1996

Disposition of toxic drugs and chemicals in man. 7th edition. (Arranged in alphabetical order of the drug name). Reference  RM301.55 .B37 2004.

Encyclopedia of toxicology. 2nd edition.  (2005). Wexler, P (Ed.)  Elsevier. Available as an electronic book.

Forensic neuropathology.  2nd edition.  Ref RA 1147. L44 2009

Handbook of autopsy practice.   Reference  RB57. L8 2002.

Handbook of forensic toxicology for medical examiners. 2010.  CRC Press. Electronic book.

Handbook of toxicologic pathology, 2nd edition. Reference   RA1211 .H3196 2002

Hayes Principles and methods of toxicology. RA 1211. P74 2001

Principles of forensic toxicology. Reference RA1228.P75 1999



Advances in forensic applications of mass spectrometry.  (Yinon).  2004.  Stacks HV8073.5 .A38 2004.  Also available as an electronic book.

Atlas of human hair: Microscopic characteristics.  2nd edition.  CRC Press. 1999.  Electronic book

Ballistics: Theory and Design of Guns and Ammunition. (2007). Carlucci, D. &  Jacobson, S.  CRC Press 2007.  Electronic book.
Bitemark evidence.  Stacks RA1062 .B58  2005
Chemistry foundations and applications. 4 volume encyclopedia. Reference QD4.C48 2004

Color atlas and manual of microscopy for criminalists, chemists and conservators. Reference - QH205.2 .P486 2004.

Encyclopedia of climate and weather. Reference QC 854.E523 2011

Encyclopedia of DNA & the U.S. criminal justice system. Ref   RA1057.55 P34 2004.

Essential guide to blood groups.  2010.  Wiley-Blackwell. Electronic book.

Forensic anthropology and medicine.  Stacks RA1059 .F672  2006

Forensic human identification   Stacks RA1055 .F67  2007  

Handbook of firearms and ballistics. 2nd edition.  Heard, B. . 2008. Electronic book.

Handbook of forensic drug analysis. Reference RA 1160.H36 2005.

Pigment compendium: a dictionary of historical pigments.  Reference TP 936. P575 2004. 

Questioned documents: A lawyer's handbook.  Reference  HV 8074 .L48 2001.

Rape investigation handbook.  Reference HV 8079.R35R36 2005

Terminal Ballistics:  A Text and Atlas of Gunshot Wounds.  Dodd, M. (2005). CRC Press.  Electronic book.

Truth machine: the contentious history of DNA fingerprinting.  Ref RA 1057 .55 .L96 2008