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Online Resources for Business Research (August 2016): Not Just for Librarians

Celia Ross

Not Just for Librarians

Many of the resources spotlighted in this final section are guide-type pathfinders or member organizations whose specialty is business reference.  In the frenzy of a search, it is easy to overlook these rather unassuming treasures.  BUSLIB-L: Business Librarians’ Discussion List is an e-mail group managed at Northern Arizona University that comprises a hearty band of helpful business reference experts from all arenas, spanning public, academic, and corporate library settings.  Stumped by a business question?  The BUSLIB-L group has heard it all, and its members are willing to share their knowledge.  Subscribe to get into the flow of questions and answers of all kinds, or search the archives to see if a particular query has already been addressed.

As mentioned earlier, ALA’s Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) is an organization for those engaged in business reference and related activities.  In addition to developing and sponsoring conference programs and publishing two online newsletters, Academic Brass and Public Libraries Briefcase, it produces web guides that cover many of the topics and resources addressed in this essay.  Under the BRASS Professional Tools section, one can find nearly two dozen guides to the major free and fee-based resources in specialized fields such as banking, hospitality, management, or taxation.  BRASS’s Business Reference Essentials guide is especially noteworthy.  It presents the must-know business research books and periodicals, associations, information literacy resources, business school accreditation resources, subscription databases, and resources for continuing education, serving as an excellent overview for new or seasoned business librarians and all levels of researchers.  One can also follow the #bizref hashtag on Twitter to see posts on business topics from BRASS members, or follow the feed on the BRASS home page.

The activities and resources of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and its Business & Finance Division website focus on the corporate-library audience.  However, within the SLA there is a College and University Business Libraries Division that members can join to access its e-mail discussion groups.  SLA’s Competitive Intelligence Division might also be of interest to business researchers.  The SLA website offers career guidance and other resources for business information professionals of all kinds.

Lippincott Datapoints is the blog hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, covering business reference databases and research strategies.  A former Lippincott librarian, Terese Mulkern Terry, maintains her own blog, BizRefDesk, offering frequent posts and updates on business resources.

Alacra, a market-research aggregator and access provider to multiple databases for corporate clients, offers an appealing, color-coded Periodic Table of Business Research Databases to help researchers sift through the myriad of choices.  Its filter categories (Company Profiles, Credit and Investment Research, Deal Info, Economic Data, Filings, Market Research, News, Share Ownership) really help users narrow down the options.

Bob Berkman is the coeditor of Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research.  This subscription newsletter is one of many publications from Information Today, a publisher whose website does more than advertise and sell its own books; it also aggregates news, blogs, conferences, and other events and websites relevant to all types of information professionals, including business researchers.  Berkman also offers a free monthly Best of the Business Web e-newsletter in which he reviews freely available online business resources, and whose Thinking Out Loud section features his business research insights.

The Business Blog highlights business-related resources and other library news and services from the Ohio University Libraries.  Here one finds some valuable guides and tutorial videos tailored to students researching specific industries and companies (e.g., the cruise line industry, or local tourism and hospitality markets); many serve as inspiration to other business librarians hoping to create similar tools for their patrons.  A fine example is one titled “Should Target Open a Store in Athens, Ohio?” that walks users through the process of researching store location feasibility, and is easily extrapolated to other locations, collections, and users.

The University of Florida’s Business Information Portal serves not only that institution’s students and faculty but anyone looking for reliable, well-organized guides and tutorials for business research.  And librarians at both Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro have developed particularly useful guides, Citing Business Databases using APA style, giving plentiful examples of frequently used business resources.