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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Business Information

This entry discusses sources for finding ...

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).

B. Articles

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 Library and Enoch Pratt in Maryland, 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, Factiva, Westlaw, etc. all offer a broad range of business and non-business coverage.

The PROMT database on ProQuest Dialog contains 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.

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.

PrivCo does rankings for private companies, such as the PrivCo 100 (U.S.) and the PrivCo Europe 100.

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.

E. Treatises

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").

F. Business Culture

SHRM members can access Detailed Country Guides that cover business skills, culture & customs, names & phrases, and other information relevant to doing business in dozens of countries.

See Also
American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)
Company Information
Doing Business in Foreign Countries
Economic Data and Statistics
Industry Reports
International Trade
Market Research
Market Share
News - Fast, Free, Current - Business
Trade Journals

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman