eReviews: Gale Business Insights | November 15, 2011

Gale, part of Cengage Learning; www.gale.cengage.com/businessinsights; for a free trial, go to www.galetrials.com/TrialRegistration.aspx?AcctSt=nAcct;sProdID=2851

Content Gale Business Insights: Global enables researchers to work effectively across geographical and cultural borders. Its content includes industry statistical data, academic and industry journal articles, global market research reports, company and country overviews, 945 (at the time of this review) case studies from the publisher’s CaseBase collection, charting tools for economic and business analysis, business rankings, and associated news reports. Machine translation of much of the content is available; the languages offered are Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Material is easily shareable via email or social networking. Librarians will appreciate the sortable Excel spreadsheet of titles included in the database. This is accessible from the homepage and details ISSN, coverage and embargo dates, publisher, etc., for the resource’s 2,487 sources.

Usability The opening features a button for Advanced Search and a toolbar that offers the option to compare countries, industries, and companies and provides access to case studies, saved items, and search history. Depending on the computer monitor, it may be hard to find the search box‚ some users will have to page down to reach it, a design problem that should be remedied posthaste.

The search box prompts users to “Get Started!” with search suggestions (e.g., countries, companies, industries, topics). A search for Mexico resulted in options ranging from “de m?xico” to “Mexican border,” with “Mexico” falling midlist. Clicking on that returns 460,684 hits, the first of which is the 2011 country profile for Mexico, a gold mine that offers key information (e.g., GDP, unemployment rate, and literacy), a list of top companies and their revenue, top industries with their NAICS code, and a Dun and Bradstreet Country Risk Overview (with solid charts and tables). Also presented is more narrative-form material such as 61,000 recent news articles, six case studies (e.g., “Regional Integration and Economic Growth in the Long Run: A Comparative Case Study of Vietnam and Mexico in the Asia-Pacific Region”), and 180 journal articles.

The real purpose of this file, though, is to help business students and researchers “compare and contrast” companies, industries, and countries. Choosing “Compare Countries” on the homepage and searching for Mexico again turns up a chart of the country’s GDP from 1960 to 2010. Adding Switzerland and Japan results in a clear, neat graph displaying the three countries’ GDP. The click of one button transforms the data into a table with figures expressed in U.S. dollars, and clicking on Related Articles in the chart window leads to 1,541 pieces related to Mexico, Switzerland, or Japan and GDP.

I quickly discovered that I could compare six countries at a time according to a host of search metrics ranging from GDP to unemployment rate and from “% of firms expected to give gifts to tax officials” to “Access to an all-season road (% of rural population),” with related articles available at each step.

Next was a Compare Companies search. Ford and General Motors were easy to find, as the database provided a graph showing each company’s workforce numbers. A search for Subaru, however, showed only subsidiary bodies (Subaru of America, Subaru of Indiana, etc.), so a true company comparison was difficult. It took time‚ longer than five seconds in some cases‚ for the system to locate certain companies, and it was unclear what made some searches slower than others.

An industry search offers two modes of access. Librarians and experienced business researchers may enter a NAICS code, but for others it is possible to type an industry name and get a list of suggestions. Type even the first few letters of the search term “pharmaceuticals,” for example, and Gale suggests “Pharmaceutical Preparations Manufacturing” and “Pharmacies and Drugstores.” Revenue data provided about these industries includes the option to research such variables as number of companies and of employees and sales per employee.

Advanced Search offers three search-term rows (with the option to add more), and I input “apple” in Company Name and “steve jobs” in Keyword and asked for Case Studies (it is also possible to limit by publication title, industry, and date)‚ and up popped two relevant studies. These can be translated into other languages or listened to‚ an attractive option for many users.

It was fast and easy to print and download results (via clear icons) throughout the system. And the searchable glossary, which ranges from “30 Day revision momentum” to “Zero sum game,” is excellent.

PRICING Pricing for Gale Business Insights: Global is based on an institution’s full-time enrollment (FTE) and the size of the population served, with a one-year subscription starting at $1,995. Libraries already subscribing to Gale’s Business & Company Resource Center are offered preferred-customer pricing.

Bottom Line This is a sophisticated database with powerful search capabilities that are easy to use. The content is mostly very good, and the way in which Gale has interwoven the various pieces of information makes for a product that goes beyond simply providing stand-alone collections of information‚ it enables researchers to see complex relationships clearly and to get fuller stories than mere data alone can convey. I give it a nine and recommend it to libraries serving undergraduate and graduate business and social science researchers.

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Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980's, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early 90's (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at claguard@fas.harvard.edu, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.

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