University Library’s Research Guides & Databases: A Gold Mine Hiding in Plain Sight

Unbeknownst to some, all UIC students have access to the treasure trove of information that is the collection of databases accessible through the UIC Library portal. Every student has access to 634 databases, over 60,000 journals, and more. Consumer and industry data across a wide variety of topics are just a few clicks away. Supplement your coursework with in-depth, real world market data. Or perhaps you are a budding entrepreneur looking to validate a product concept. In either cases, there are multiple resources to fit your needs. GlobalData, for instance, provides socio-economic trend analysis and other consumer marketing information. In comparison, databases like Frost & Sullivan provide in depth market research and strategy reports of emerging technologies.


Not sure where to begin? Library chat is a great place to start. Library chat is a real-time chat feature that allows students to communicate with library staff and receive immediate responses while on or off campus. Utilize this amazing tool and broaden your research. Library staff are at the ready to answer questions and point you in the right direction.


We sat down with Sharadind Peddiraju, UIC Business graduate student and Reference Assistant in the Idea Commons to discuss the resources further:


How can students leverage these databases to help with their coursework?

In my second semester at UIC, I was enrolled in a marketing class where we were exposed to these databases. We were tasked with researching consumer data, most of which isn’t available on the general internet. The UIC databases have access to reports drafted by professional consulting firms that currently being offered on the market. Right now, as UIC students we have access to all of these resources that can give us demographics, consumer data, public policy outlook. These resources gave us priceless insight into the markets we were analyzing as a class.


What are some of the ways students have utilized the databases for things outside of course assignments? Are there any trainings or certifications?

The possibilities are really only limited by the creativity of the researcher. Say you have a new product idea and you want to see if there is a market for it. This is where you could start building a market strategy, conducting the research to answer those questions.


In terms of certifications, Lynda is a great option. It’s full of individual courses on many different business topics from Python to R, IBM Watson Analytics and more. Students can complete these courses, add them on their resume and gain experience with specific programs and skills specific to their desired career path.


Awesome, what specific databases would be great for students conducting that kind of entrepreneurial, preliminary research?

We have the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), which is a very comprehensive database. They have country-focused macro-economic outlooks, in-depth political outlooks as well. They give a global outlook to any given situation. Frost and Sullivan is another great one for researching emerging markets.


What kind professions utilize databases?

We have access to Bloomberg terminals, which are used by professional traders, as well as multiple financial databases that are used for research. We have MBA students that come in looking to understand a company’s policies or an analysis of any given company, we help them conduct this research. Professionals in the financial services use Bloomberg Terminals to analyze real-time market data. Analysts use some of the reports we have access to to gain market insights.


Talk to me a bit about Library Chat, I was surprised by how immediate and helpful my first experience was.

This is part of what makes UIC Library different, we are very receptive to a wide range of questions through Library Chat. Maybe students are stuck with something, maybe they don't have time to go back a contact their professor, there is always someone they can ask.


Which database have you found to be the most powerful or most interesting?

Frost & Sullivan is  favorite of mine. They give you ready-made industry dashboards. You can search an industry and they give you every single financial indicator for that industry. Mergent Intellect is another good database that has census data and consumer data. No single database can answer every question, I would encourage students to use multiple databases simultaneously.


Anything else you would like for students to know?

I would say that, what the library website has been trying to do, and has been successful in, is aggregating all of the resources and packaging it in a way that’s useful for students. There has been some major redesigns in recent years and it’s only a matter of time before students come and make something out of them.