Most of the demographic pick lists are easy to understand but some can be confusing when you're new to using LIMS-plus. Below are some questions posed by a new system administrator. Since they had the questions, we're posting the answers here because we're sure someone else will have them too.
Case type: Is this offense type (homicide, robbery) or our agency's response (crime scene investigation, latent print examination)?
Case Type is just another way to categorize the case as a whole and it appears on the Case Info screen. It's separate from the offenses on a case which are tracked under Offense. The response would be tracked under Crime Scene or as a Request. A common use is to tag internal affairs cases.
Communication type: I presume this means phone call, email, left phone message, received phone message, etc.
Complexity: I presume this is defined by us for application to complicated or difficult cases (sort of as a heads-up to the examiner).
Correct. It may also be used when you have analysts of varying experience levels or to more fairly balance workloads. (So one analyst isn't getting all of the complex cases for example.)
Disposition: Is this something like evidence returned to submitter, evidence destroyed, etc?
You got it! Consumed in Analysis is another common value.
Evidence type: Does this describe the actual physical item itself (a gun, a can) or the evidence derived from it (touch DNA, fingerprint) or both?
These are broad categories. You set a default description but that can be edited at the time of entry. For example, Controlled Substances could have a description of Sealed manila envelope containing: (and the rest gets filled in at the time of actual entry)
Investigation type: Does this mean the underlying offense (a homicide, a robbery) or how we responded (crime scene investigation, respond to ME's office, laboratory analysis, etc.)
Probably the later. Honestly, for this one it's whatever makes sense to your organization. It appears in the grid view on the Investigation screen and is just a way to categorize entries.
Narrative type: Glossary p. 604 gives examples that are meeting-like in nature; does this include written reporting (which we call narratives)?
Again, whatever makes sense for you here. When you have an investigation record added, you can start adding narratives. (These can be combined into a report if you like.)
Phone type: How does this differ from communication type? Is it just a subset?
Phone types are more granular; things like Home, Work, Mobile.
Reason: I see the glossary entry on p. 606, but I'm still clueless. Can you give me some examples?
Reason is often used in conjunction with complexity to filter through requests. The most common entry is Rush so you can pull rush cases quickly.
Response time category: ?
Response times are used in the Crime Scene screen. They appear in a "timestamp" that is added to a responder record. Entries might be things like Left Office, Notified, Arrived on Scene, Departed Scene, etc.
For example, the scene can be Toys R Us. I may be a responder. I can add timestamps for when I departed the lab, arrived on scene, started scene review....each of these would be a response time category.
Result calculation parameters: ?
These are used for Blood Alcohol analysis. This is where you set how the final BA value is calculated.
Scene type: During our training, you noted this is for crime scenes. Should this be the offense type (homicide, robbery) or a description of the scene (residential building, open field, etc.)?
Scene type is the second; business, school...however you want to classify them for reporting purposes.
Suffix: Is this the standard Junior, III, etc?
Yes, however you want them to appear on reports.
System report category: ?
This category gives you the ability to further group all of your "other" reports. You might have things like Annual Stats, management, analyst tools. These can be added later as you build up a report library.
Title: Is this the standard police ranks, Mr./Ms./Mrs., Dr., etc?
Yes. Add things like Officer, Sgt. Lt. in addition to the traditional ones too.