Business Information at Work

Wenxian Zhang (Rollins College)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




Zhang, W. (2000), "Business Information at Work", Library Review, Vol. 49 No. 6, pp. 303-310.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Information is power. As the world we live in is increasingly turning into an information‐based society, information management will become ever more important in the new century. Based on his experience as a reference librarian and professor of library information studies, the author sets an ambitious objective for himself in this book of building the bridge between business need and potential information. The book is written for managers and business decision makers at all levels in all industries as well as for information professionals and students. The goal is to relate together the points of view of information providers, information professionals and business people.

Business information is defined in the book as it has come to be understood by a large industry and profession: as information on those factors outside and largely beyond the control of the business, which have a direct commercial significance. The book is organized by the common divisions of business information: Company Information, Market Information, Financial Information, Product Information, and Country Information. There are also separate chapters on accessing business information, business news sources, industry sources, etc. Information on technology, legislation and economics is excluded from the coverage.

For each category of business information the author attempts to contemplate a businessperson’s problems and information needs in relation to the subject, to examine the relevant primary information in the field, and to characterize and evaluate the available sources. The methods used by the author are both theoretical and practical. It is theoretical in that it analyzes and categorizes relevant elements of businesses and external information, and practical as it also relates real information needs to specific types and examples of information sources and services. It is therefore a combination of a reference tool and a textbook on business information. This approach is well suited for students and people who are new to the field of business information, but a business librarian seeking to identify a quick reference source may find the detailed discussion unnecessary.

The focus of the book is on business information in the UK while providing limited coverage to Europe, the USA and other countries. Other similar titles in the field include Kaye’s Information and Business (Library Association, 1991), and Burke and Hall’s Navigating Business Information Sources: A Practical Guide for Information Managers (Library Association, 1998). In Lowe’s book business sources from reference books to Web sites, from newspapers to special online services are included, and plenty of examples are given. However, it is not to be used as an exhaustive guide to business sources. A major advantage of the book is its coverage of online electronic sources in the business field. It would be really helpful to users if the author could set up a Web page covering this sector of business information as it is in a constant stage of changes.

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