Antique Swords Robertsons Jam Rhino Dung Stationery All Days

Monday, 16 August 2010

Is there a market for stationery made of rhino dung? Can you help date my antique sword? Is there a shortage of hotel rooms in Stonehaven? Can you supply me with a list of all the banks in Liechtenstein?

To mark the 21st anniversary of SCOTBIS, the Scottish Business Information Service, holder of one of the largest publicly accessible business collections in both Scotland and the UK, is sharing some of the more unusual queries it receives.

Formed in 1989, SCOTBIS is located within the National Library of Scotland and holds information on over 110 million companies and thousands of industries worldwide. SCOTBIS' high profile clients include the BBC, Müller Dairy, Scottish Enterprise, legal firms Burness LLP and McGrigors LLP, Historic Scotland, the Scottish Parliament's Financial Scrutiny Unit and DTZ, the first real estate adviser to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Clients frequently call upon the business research service to provide client verification work and background information on new technology and emerging global markets.

But many queries are of a more individual nature. An antique sword collector contacted SCOTBIS with the name of the manufacturer on the handle of his latest acquisition. The business information service provided information that helped date and value the sword. A client who is researching his family history used details SCOTBIS supplied on the Robertson's Jam factories to establish background on his late father's working life, and when BBC's The One Show had an urgent need for manufacturing information, they turned not to the British Library in London, but to SCOTBIS. The researchers were very excited to see the results of their work featured on prime time TV just days after the original request.

By registering online with SCOTBIS' parent organisation, the National Library of Scotland, companies can gain access to a range of business databases that would otherwise cost them thousands of pounds to subscribe to.  Information ranging from millions of company profiles and detailed market research reports through to simple guides and tips to running a business are accessible at the touch of a button.   

John Coll, who manages the service, says, "Every query that comes to SCOTBIS, no matter how big, small or even 'quirky', is given our full professional attention. The team love a challenge and throughout our 21 year history have become very proud of our 100 per cent success rate in coming up with valuable information.

"SCOTBIS is ready, willing and able to help Scottish business achieve its greatest potential and we would like to encourage more businesses to take a peek into our colossal collection of commercial and corporate data."

SCOTBIS is a free, national business information service that provides access to information to enable people to start, grow and develop their business, based on the skills and resources of National Library of Scotland. It works in partnership with the Business Gateway network to ensure that Scottish companies have access to the widest possible source of data available. Resources can be used in person, over the web or using the skills of research staff, depending on the nature and extent of the enquiry.

Access the SCOTBIS website:
To register with the National Library of Scotland and gain access to these databases:

Notes to editors:

SCOTBIS was founded in 1989 to help Scotland's businesses and is located with the National Library of Scotland
It deals with approx 2,000 detailed research enquiries per year
It offers a free basic research service with more detailed research and data supplied for a charge
Requests from clients are varied and include:
Lists of companies located in particular geographic areas
Lists of overseas companies in the pharmaceutical sector
Worldwide companies with an annual turnover of over £100m
List of top 100 companies in Edinburgh by turnover and number of employees
Smoking cessation figures
Renewable energy companies
Current figures on number of people with dementia
Scotch whisky market
Company financial information

Some of the databases and reference information include:
COBRA (Complete Business Reference Adviser) - practical information for new or expanding businesses
FAME - full accounts on 2.4 million UK companies
Factiva  - articles from 14,000 newspapers and trade publications worldwide
Frost & Sullivan - international market research on global manufacturing sectors
Global Reference Solution  -   information on over 110 million businesses of any size, anywhere in the world
Mintel  -  market research reports