This entry discusses sources for finding ...
- Answers to General Questions
- Financial Ratios
- Lists and Rankings
- Research Guides
A. Answers to General Questions
For answers to general questions, search the online archives of the BusLib-L listserv or look through the Research Guides discussed below. Another option: call the Brooklyn Business Library (718-623-7000), NYPL Premium Services (212-592-7200) or another business library; the librarians can be very helpful. (Note: For information on a particular business, see the separate "Company Information" entry).
There are a zillion sources willing to supply business-related articles.
Current news articles are aggregated by Yahoo! News and Google News. Also, a subscription to WSJ.com gives you easy access to articles from the foremost business newspaper in the U.S.. See also the separate entry for "News - Fast, Free, Current - Business."
Your best source for researching business articles may be your library card. Many public library systems, such as the New York Public and
Enoch Pratt, provide card holders free online access to first-rate business article databases. If you haven't signed up for a library card, this is a good reason to get one.
You can also use the fee-based services -- Lexis, Dialog, Factiva, Westlaw, etc. all offer a broad range of business and non-business coverage.
Some Dialog databases I've found particularly useful include:
1. Business and Industry (B&I): For a single database, B&I offers a notably wide selection of business news culled from business news and general news sources. B&I is in Dialog File 9.
2. Management Practices Database: The Management Practices database collects articles "about business planning, decision-making, and management issues." This is exceptionally useful for finding articles on the internal workings of a business. The Management Practices database is in Dialog File 13.
3. TableBase: TableBase offers charts and tables from newspapers, magazines, government reports and trade journals. These charts are generally not available in online databases. TableBase is available as Dialog File 93. TableBase is also available on Lexis (BUSREF;RESTBL) and Westlaw (TABLEBASE). Note: If you use TableBase in conjunction with the B&I database, on Dialog you can eliminate any duplicates with File 9 by adding "not dt=journal" to your search string in TableBase.
4. PROMT: PROMPT is a database of articles covering companies, markets, products and "applied technologies" from a broad range of press sources, trade journals, research reports, etc. I've found the indexing to be particularly good. PROMPT is in Dialog File 16 (for published from 1990 to the present) and File 160 (for materials published from 1972 through 1989).
In addition to database searching, you can look up articles using the Business Periodicals Index and its predecessor, the Industrial Arts Index. These sets are often found in academic business libraries and the business sections of public libraries.
C. Financial Ratios
The leading information sources for financial ratios (or "business ratios") are D&B Industry Norms & Key Business Ratios (in print or online, RMA Annual Statement Studies and Troy's Almanac of Business and Financial Ratios. Other sources include Economic Census Industry Ratios by the U.S. Census Bureau, BizStats and Standard and Poor's Industry Surveys (see the back of each pamphlet).
C. Lists and Rankings
Good sources for business-related lists and rankings (ex. the leading insurance brokers by revenue; the top brand of toilet paper) include Business Rankings Annual, CNNMoney, Hoover's, Forbes, Fortune and Standard & Poor's (see "Standard & Poor's").
The Crain's newspaper periodically publishes lists of the biggest companies in various fields for various cities. You can generally find these through the respective paper's Web site (e.g., Crain's New York Business at www.crainsny.com; Crain's Chicago Business at www.crainschicagobusiness.com and Crain's Cleveland Business at www.crainscleveland.com).
Bizjournals publishes a "Book of Lists" for about 60 U.S. cities with business rankings covering a wide range of industries.
ThomsonReuters' Deals Intelligence has a wealth of financial industry "league tables" (i.e., rankings), market snapshots and ad-hoc research reports covering debt and equity offerings, mergers & acquisitions, project finance and syndicated loans. There are quarterly rankings for financial and legal advisors, co-managers, bookrunners, agents and underwriters. Weekly and monthly reports update the quarterly M&A and capital markets surveys. Geographic coverage varies by deal type, but usually includes at least a global report. Access is via free registration.
Layoffs: Significant layoffs are generally reported in the business press and blogs (use a good search engine and/or search a good business news database). Layoff news is compiled in the Vault Business Tracker and the Forbes Layoff Tracker.
D. Research Guides
Research Guides covering the most commonly requested business topics are compiled and posted by Harvard's Baker Library, and the University of Pennsylvania's Lippincott Library and the Milner Library at Illinois State University.
To get the names of source materials, etc., check out Business Information: How to Find It, How to Use It, and/or International Business Information: How to Find It, How to Use It, the Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources and/or any of a wide array of similar titles (see "Book Stores").