Category Archives: Business Reporting

CRS Reports: Valuable Sources

Looking for in-depth, expert research on current issues? CRS Reports are a great resource! The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is an arm of the Library of Congress that exists to keep members of Congress informed about issues related to pending legislation. CRS staff are subject experts in a variety of fields and they produce nonpartisan reports that relate these issues in an easily-digestible format.  

CRS Reports can be hard to find. The federal government doesn't currently make them widely available to the public: you must request a CRS Report by title (or report number) from a member of Congress. However, you can find CRS Reports through subscription databases (like ProQuest), for some vendors for a fee, or for free from the following collections. 

CRS Reports on many subjects:

Collections with specific topic areas:

Subscription database for CRS Reports:

Search strategy for finding other CRS Reports:

More about CRS Reports…

This presentation talks more about CRS, summarizes past legislation that attempted to make CRS Reports public, and how to write your member of congress to request a report. For more information about CRS Reports, see this page:

Economic Census at your fingertips

Looking for information from the Economic Census?  Taken by the U.S. Census Bureau every five years, the Economic Census provides a detailed statistical profile of a large segment of the national economy, including quarterly financial reports for different industries, data on home ownership and sales, and much more.  You can find information directly at the U.S. Economic Census website, or you can view a table of economic census holdings here at Columbia University Libraries.

Bloomberg Basics

lehman2009-03-09dsc_43911This session will teach the basic navigation and searching skills necessary to begin using Bloomberg.  Instruction sessions are offered both in the Business & Economics Library and in Lehman Library, and be sure to check out the Bloomberg Help Guide for navigation commands and tips.:

Bloomberg at the Business & Economics Library:

  • January 29, 11am ~ 12pm FULL
  • February 12, 11am ~ 12pm FULL
  • February 26, 11am ~ 12pm
  • March 19, 11am ~ 12pm
  • April 2, 11am ~ 12pm  
  • April 16, 11am ~ 12pm

These sessions will be in the 1st Mezzanine reading room.  Space is limited – please email to reserve your spot.

Bloomberg at the Digital Social Science Center, Lehman Library:

These sessions will be in 321A at the DSSC in Lehman Library.  Space is limited – please register at the links above.

Bloomberg Training – not too late!

There are 2 remaining Bloomberg training sessions available at the Watson Library of Business & Economics.  Sign up today to get an introduction to the basics of navigating the Bloomberg terminal.lehman2009-03-09dsc_4391

Advanced reservations are required – send email to to reserve your spot!

Business License Check from NYC’s DCA

Looking to verify the license number of a business?  NYC’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has an Instant License Check database for the following: Debt Collection Agencies, Electronics Stores, Employment Agencies, Home Improvement Contractors and Salespeople, Locksmiths, Tow Truck Companies, and Used Auto Dealers.

The DCA also posts the following lists online:

Public Records – Criminal Records, Political Contributions, Real Estate Records

Looking for sources on criminal records, political contributions, and real estate records?  Then look no further than this public records guide.

People, Experts, and Consumer Watch

The Basics: phone numbers & addresses
I wish I could tell you we had some super-duper special people-finder tools. But we don’t. Here are some decent free sites instead.

  • Verizon (, then click on People Pages). The source. This is an online white pages. No reverse lookup, though.
  • Infospace ( This was one of the only sites that had my current address right! Includes a reverse lookup by address (just click on “search by phone” to reveal reverse phone and address lookup forms). Accuracy seems good here, too.
  • Switchboard ( Another good option – data seems as accurate as Infospace, and also includes reverse lookup under “search by phone.”
  • New Yorkers and where to find them
    Looking for interesting New Yorkers to profile? Here are a few tips.

  • Gothamist ( is an excellent way to stay on top of NYC arts, sports, events, and pop culture.
  • Gotham Gazette ( The same site that keeps you informed on the latest doings in NYC politics can help you find interesting stories in New York’s neighborhoods. Pay special attention to the Community Gazettes section.
  • New York Public Library branches ( frequently hold events, like storytelling hours, poetry readings, and seminars. Check out the one nearest you and see what’s on!
  • ( is an online forum for people who share similar interests to meet each other. Browse by city to find groups who may make interesting subjects (like the “NYC Boston Red Sox Meetup Group”). Possibly also of interest for the Consumer Watch segment if you want to expose a possible scam.
  • Finding experts
    Preparing a Roundtable discussion? New York City is full of experts, but how to find them?

  • Academics: Visit the website of a local university (start with Columbia). All universities have listings of faculty by department, and most include specific research interests of each faculty member. Can’t find a professor on short notice? How about a doctoral student? Try visiting the department HQ, if it’s at Columbia. Looking at the flyers on the wall there may lead you to interesting people.
  • Others: Who has spoken on this subject before? Search Factiva or LexisNexis to find transcripts or quotes from newspapers stories on related topics.
  • Consumer Watch

  • Craigslist ( is a good place to look at the services New Yorkers are seeking and providing (click on the services section). Some may surprise you!
  • Daily Candy ( is a daily newsletter reporting on shopping and service trends in a number of US cities, including New York.
  • Crain’s New York Business (access via Factiva, access restricted to current Columbia affiliates) is a weekly publication which covers all aspects of business in New York City. Search to find articles on a topic of interest.