Portsmouth Business School – A comparison of two business databases

A library reminder to staff and students about using your business databases: IBISWorld and Key Note.

If you are looking for market research and statistical analysis of industry sectors then don’t forget about these subscription databases. Similar in content but not in structure; both provide market and company information and enable the researcher to assess market opportunities, monitor trends, minimise risk and target new business. Both databases give good coverage of UK industry sectors together with a small amount of international information.


IBISWorld’s sub-section SIC coded reports are much easier to find as they are in alphabetical order. Key Note’s sub-sections are in no order which makes searching difficult when there are lots of results.

SWOT and PEST analyses are labelled in Key Note but not in IBISWorld. Key Note displays the contents page in the full text PDF; however IBISWorld has a different layout with tabs displayed across the home page so you can select separate sections such as Industry Performance, Industry Outlook and Competitive Landscape. In IBISWorld you will need to look for SWOT and PEST factors yourself as they are not labelled as such. However, the tabs are very helpful and show any sub-sections. So if you look under Competitive Landscape, for example, it covers Key Success Factors and Barriers to Entry.

You can save, print and email your reports as PDFs in both databases and Key Note allows you to create and manage your account so you can save reports you want to refer to later. There are also list builder and benchmarking tools in Key Note. Both have a list of additional website resources within each industry report. New reports are added regularly. Both databases have a presence on Twitter and Facebook but Key Note also has Chat (9-5 weekdays) to provide support when required.

They are both excellent resources for staff and students of marketing, sales, banking and finance, corporate strategy and entrepreneurship. And with company information available it’s useful for job hunters too. Key Note has access to all Companies House records.

So take your pick, both databases are good for different tasks. It’s all down to personal preference. Look on our Subject Pages for more recommended business resources.

This is the first in a series of reviews of our specialist business databases to appear on the Library Blog. More will follow over the next few months. Contact sue.stevenson@port.ac.uk or lizzie.wildgoose@port.ac.uk if you have any questions about our business resources.

Posted in Reviews, Subjects: Business School Tagged with: , , ,

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