Chawner, B. (2000), "Online/CD‐ROM Business Sourcebook 1999 ", Library Review, Vol. 49 No. 6, pp. 303-310. https://doi.org/10.1108/lr.2000.49.6.303.8
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This, the 1999 edition of an established guide to business information sources, is a well‐organised list of mainly commercial databases and services. The first six chapters present background information on: the business information landscape, developments since the previous edition in 1997/1998, online hosts, filtered services, the Internet, and CD‐ROM publishers. These will be most useful for people new to the field of business information, and the descriptions of online hosts and CD‐ROM publishers are especially helpful, particularly for European ones not covered elsewhere. The chapter on the Internet is very general, and focuses on search engines such as Alta Vista, Infoseek, and Yahoo, with a relatively brief mention of key business guides like Sheila Webber’s Business Sources on the Internet.
However, the real strength of this title is in the following 17 chapters, which include descriptions of 1962 electronic databases, arranged by broad topic. The list of topics includes many that will be familiar to business information specialists, ranging from company directories (389 sources) to company financial data (155 sources) to mergers and acquisitions (nine sources) to prices, markets and industries (98, 152, and 266 entries respectively). Within a chapter, entries are arranged geographically, except for the chapters on prices, international trade, and management literature, which are arranged in a single alphabetical sequence.
Entries for an individual database vary in length from roughly 20 words to around 500 – while the introduction says that each database has been evaluated, many of the entries are purely descriptive, listing only the type of information included and update frequency. Prices are provided for most CD‐ROM products, but generally not for other sources. URLs are included in only a few entries, and it would have been easier for the reader to spot them if they were distinguished typographically from the surrounding text, rather than being placed in parentheses. The coverage is international, though there is a strong emphasis on information sources relevant to the UK, Europe and the USA.
The book finishes with a section entitled “Further Information”, which contains contact information for all suppliers included in the directory, followed by a brief bibliography and a detailed subject index, a country/region index, and a name index. My only quibble is that the indexes refer to page numbers (the entries are not numbered), and it can be difficult to work out which database an entry refers to, particularly in the subject index.
While it may appear expensive at current exchange rates, this is a valuable guide to business information databases and CD‐ROM sources, and it is recommended for anyone needing descriptions of business information sources, particularly large collections with a business focus.