Most articles are found with the help of a commercial article databases:
For example, ABI/Inform, produced by UMI, covers the many aspects of popular business, management and marketing including abstracts and citations to nearly 1000 business and management periodicals. Further descriptions can be found from SilverPlatter, EINS, Dialog, FirstSearch or OVID Field Guide. See Commercial Databases.
Specific statistics are discussed in our other articles: Country Profiles, National Statistical Agencies and Discussion Groups.
US government statistics are well recorded in Statistical Abstract of the United States 1999 a 1000+ page document made available online in pdf format by the US Census Bureau.
Sheila Webber has a very good list of firms which market research reports.
Special Interest Groups - Researchers are particularly in need of contact with other researchers. Associations, discussion groups and events are important for this.
- Buslib-l (business librarians list), which has a bit too much traffic for most of us. See also the small developing Buslib archive: Best of Buslib-l and searching instructions (not downloadable in bulk).
- The Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), and associations like the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) bring information professionals together.
- The Journal Online & CDROM Review has a very good directory of up and coming events for this industry.
- LISnews.com (lisnews.com) - a library news website.
Commercial Databases -
LISA, the Library and Information Science Abstracts, is a useful commercial database to Library sources. For a description, see Dialog, SilverPlatter. Library and Research topics are also covered by other databases like Information Science Abstracts (for a description, see SilverPlatter or Dialog), or Library Literature (see Dialog, SilverPlatter or FirstSearch.
- The Intelligence Cycle, courtesy of the CIA library. This is a single-page summary of the research process.
- The Information Broker's Handbook by Sue Rugge and Alfred Glossbrenner, McGraw-Hill. Third Edition (1997) This is a must-read for those interested in the business side of information research.
- Secrets of the Super Searchers by Reva Basch. Unfortunately a 1993 book but unique as a look into the field of information brokers. Published by Eight Bit Books. (Dewey 025.524 BAS)
- Online is a good bi-monthly magazine for information brokers. (Dewey 025.04). Their website includes samples. It is also found on Business Periodicals Online (BPO).
- There are other interesting periodicals. This page has a list and description of periodicals by Information Today Inc. including Information Today, Information World Review, and Searcher. The contents pages for Information Today, a monthly, newsy, review of the information industry, are online. Information World Report is another impressive publication but no longer has a website.
- BUBL keeps a good collection of Library and Information Science Periodicals, though most of them are not linked to online periodicals but rather to contents pages or abstracts.
- This site by Professor Tom Wilson keeps a fine World List of Departments and Schools of Information Studies.
- 1995/96 Burwell World Directory of Information Brokers, provides contact details and descriptions to 1700+ organizations worldwide. Edited by Helen P. Burwell and Carolyn N. Hill and available for about US$100. See their promotional webpage. There are also large directories like the Information Industry Directory (Gale Research) which attempt to list every information business in the world. These directories are useful if you have a name but difficult if you are looking for products.
- ECHO has a database called I'M Guide which is really a directory of the European Information Industry.
Software Archives - One of the fixtures of computer studies are the large archives of computer software. In some cases, like CPAN for Perl programming, these archives are central to distributing advances in programming.
ASP directory of Shareware - An alternative source of competitive information would be the Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP), is strong in organizing and reporting on Shareware. There is a directory of shareware delivered through the Simtel archive (mirrored everywhere but here in the US) Look in the directory msdos/info and look for: asp804.zip [Oct 30 20:00] 382k and the updates any update files: aspdat71.zip [Jan 30 13:32] 61k.
- SimTel Software Archives archives Windows, Dos, and other software. Here is the primary site with a list of mirror sites further down the same page.
- Winsite (www.winsite.com) is a large archive for windows software. See their Winsite mirror list but don't overlook the Winsite search function featured here.
- Tucows www.tucows.com, is a precise archive of internet software.
- Further ShareWare Lists and Search Engines can be found with the Virtual Software Library (VSL), available through shareware.com, with its power search option.
- The ASP (www.asp-shareware.org) also has the definitive listing of shareware archives and sites (with a short description).
RFC and FYI Archives - The "Request for Comment" (RFC) and "For Your Information" (FYI) documents have a central role in the development of new standards in the computing field. Start with the Ohio State University, Computer & Information Science site, with its fine RFC and FYI archive.
Archie is one of the oldest search engines constructed. Essentially, Archie is a database of ftp addresses to files found in ftp archives. As Unix allows for long file names, you may locate information about a topic without necessarily knowing a specific file name. Ask Archie for a list of sites with files (or directories) matching your search word. A few words of advice: keep the words small, think of alternative spelling, and try to have the name of an existing program first. You can use this ArchiePlexForm from CUI. Consider visiting this list of archive servers internationally.
Ping and IP/Domain names - this WWPing Form Page holds a script for dns or http pings. Investigate IP address and domain names with SWhois.net.
Newswires - Newsbytes is a newswire solely on computer topics, computer, telecom and online world. Their websites includes a current search. InternetWire and Urlwire also bear investigation.
- Computer Select - commercial database of text from computer magazines.
- Computer Database Plus, by Ziff-Davis is another large computer database.
- Internet & Personal Computing Abstracts , by Learned Information, includes abstracts from 75+ computer publications. Further descriptions available from FirstSearch and Dialog.
- There are a small collection of full text databases available too. Consider CMP Computer Fulltext, by CMP Media, for about 2 dozen periodicals (see further descriptions by Dialog), or Computer News Fulltext (further description on Dialog).
- Information Access Company produces the IAC Computer Database, a mixed fulltext & abstract database to 75+ periodicals. Further description can be found on Dialog or Datastar.
- Further commercial databases focus on software programs, including MicroComputer Software Guide Online (further description on Dialog) and Softbase (further description by Dialog or Datastar).
The Small Business Advancement National Center (SBAER) publishes a collection of 33 small business profiles free on the net but unfortunately slightly dated now.
US Industry and Trade Outlook 2000 is an NTIS publication compiled by industry analysts from Dept of Commerce. Their blurb describes a 650-page volume, reviewing most important sectors of the US economy. If your library does not have a copy, the book is inexpensive at about US$70. See their webpage description.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (Australia) - The ABS publishes business benchmarks in their industry analyses. If the ABS has undertaken surveys, and you search their online catalogue to determine this, then they will have compiled information that can be used as business benchmarks. You may have to calculate the percentages yourself, the ABS tends to have older data than other sources, and focus more on industry. The ABS collects their data from surveys sent to businesses.
Other benchmarks are published as books. The [Australian] Bureau of Industry Economics publishes a series of studies on various Australian infrastructure industries. Each study compares between states and against best work practice, including costs, services and operating efficiency. All have the titles "International Performance Indicators ..." and you can get a list by entering this in the AGIP database of Australian Government Publications.
FMRC Benchmarking Team (Australia) - The FMRC Business Benchmarks are Australian-wide, recording the expected costs as a percentage and certain business ratios for a range of mostly small business industries. I have not had time to review their new website (www.benchmarking.au.com but previously they came in two formats... a single sheet and a small pamphlet that is little more than the single sheet with an explanation attached. Accountants use benchmarks frequently, and this may well be the easiest place to go to get them. The State Library in Western Australia has an aging collection in a binder held behind the business help desk and The Small Business Development Corporation's Free Advisory service in WA incorporate this information into their advice. You could also purchase these directly from the SBDC (formerly $250 for hard or softcopy for complete information or about A$40 each.) Be careful of their age. Each industry is only analyzed every few years and the libraries may not have the most recent version. Further, it helps if you understand business ratios.
Westralian Business Ratios (Western Australia) - John Watson, from the Economics Department of the University of Western Australia, compiled a very professional set of business benchmarks on Western Australian businesses. Unlike most business benchmarks, these are annual, present quartile information and describe the statistics in a most professional manner (including sample size !). You may need the help of your accountant to get a copy.
Lastly, consider Purposeful Benchmarking where you seek out comparable 'best practice. Thus, compare Airplane turnaround with a Racecar Pit crew. See the Benchmark Self-Help Manual or Best Practice manuals and journals on this activity.