Business Reference 101

Monday, 10/31/2016 - Sunday, 12/4/2016

Asynchronous course.

Register online now! Or, register by mail or fax by downloading the registration form (PDF format.)

Course Objectives and Description

Do you wish you felt more confident when faced with a business reference question? Want to demystify SIC and NAICS codes, ROI and 10k's? Then Business Reference 101 is for you! This four-week, Web-based professional development course is designed for academic, special or public librarians and other researchers and library staff who have a basic understanding of some business resources but who do not work with them often enough to build expertise. The course will provide students with a framework for understanding the business reference process as well as an overview of business reference sources specific to each of the course modules (see below). Business Reference 101 participants will also have access to proprietary business reference databases such as Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage, Gale's Business Insights: Global, Morningstar, IBISWord, Plunkett Research Online and ReferenceUSA, among others.

Business Reference 101 is a distance education, Web-based course tailored for public, special and academic librarians and other researchers and library staff who may feel somewhat intimidated when faced with business reference questions. It is a "101" approach, meaning that it is primarily targeted at those who are not very familiar with this subject area. Seasoned business researchers could take Business Reference 101 as a refresher course to brush up on their skills.

Learning Outcomes

  • Week 1: Introduction & Company Research(4-8 hours)

    The introduction will include an overview of the Business Reference 101 course objectives as well as provide a framework for understanding business reference questions and business reference resources. This introductory week will provide context for the remaining weeks. The Company Research section will introduce some of the basics of company information search strategies. Corporate finance and accounting will also be addressed briefly. Participants will also be asked to submit a personal profile and introduce themselves to the class as well as to post some "Business Reference Stumpers" to the discussion board.

  • Week 2: Small Business & Industry Research (4-8 hours)

    This section includes coverage of Small Business issues. The Industry Research section discusses industry research questions and how to work with industries that aren't easily defined or made up of small, private companies. Industry codes are also explained. Week 2 includes several assignments.

  • Week 3: International Business & Consumer Research & Business Statistics(4-8 hours)

    The International Business Research section discusses some of the issues involved when a business reference question involves a foreign company or industry. Consumer Research introduces strategies on digging for marketing and demographic information. The Business Statistics section covers how to approach statistical questions creatively. Week 3 includes several assignments.

  • Week 4: Investing/Stock Market & Course Wrap-up (2-4 hours)

    The Investing/Stock Market section introduces the basics of investing and strategies for finding market information, including historical stock data and data on defunct entities. The Course Wrap-up reviews the highlights of the course and points to additional business reference resources that aren't included in the earlier modules. Week 4 includes several assignments.

Who Should Attend

Anybody interested in Business Reference is welcome.


Celia Ross has gained over a decade of practical business reference experience in a variety of settings, including a venture capital firm, a large public library, a global consulting firm and academic libraries. She has conducted business reference workshops since 2002 and has been teaching Business Reference 101 to sold-out crowds since 2006. She is active in ALA and was the 2009-2010 chair of RUSA's Business Reference & Services Section (BRASS). She published the book, Making Sense of Business Reference, in September 2012, from ALA Editions, and is currently an Associate Librarian at the Kresge Business Administration Library at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.



  • $130 for RUSA members
  • $175 for ALA members
  • $210 for non-ALA members
  • $100 for student members and retired members

How to Register

  • Online
  • By Fax: download, complete, and fax form (PDF format) to (312) 280-1538
  • By Mail: download, complete, and mail form (PDF format) to American Library Association, ATTN: MACS/Online CE Registration, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Tech Requirements

ALA uses Moodle for all online educational courses. It is hosted at Learn more about Moodle at


Questions about your registration should be directed to Technical questions about the webinar should be directed to Andrea Hill, RUSA Web Manager, at

Thank you and we look forward to your participation!