Three of the oldest and best known companies providing access to commercial data base are DIALOG Information Services Inc., a division of Lockheed Corp. in Palo Alto, California; SDC Search Service, a division of System Development Corp., in Santa Monica , California (the system is named ORBIT); and BRS (Bibliographic Retrieval Services) of Latham, New York. These companies, and others provide access to large numbers of database; indeed done data bases are available through more than one vendor. Many other online data base producers sell access only to their own databases, such as HW Wilson’s Wilsonline or Dow-Jones News / Retrieval. Computer information systems and data base number in the thousands. They may be identified through a variety of directories, including Data base Directory Service, which lists about 3,000 data bases in all fields; Data Pro Directory of on line services, which lists nearly 2,000 data bases; and Directory on-line Services which describes available bibliographic and non-bibliographic data bases.
Special Database Producers:
In addition to those databases available through vendors, a number of business research firms provide their clients with data taken from their own proprietary database. These include syndicated service firms such as those discussed earlier. Most of these firms not only feature systems providing easy access to their data banks but also make available sophisticated analytical and decision support software packages and models to use in conjunction with the data. For example, SAMI / Burke of Cincinnati, Ohio is introducing its Decision maker SM system. which will deliver electronically, via a standard PC in conjunction with a high capacity optical disk storage device, access to the SAMI / Samscan data bases.
In addition to the above, the following demographic databases are available:
Advanced Demographic, Stamford, Conn.: Donnelly Marketing Demographics Database underlying Census Update and ZIP Profile. Donnelly also produces American Profile containing key measurements from the 1980 census, proprietary data from Donnelly, and Dun & Bradstreet’s Commercial Database.
CACI New York. Demographic information and consumer spending in any area of the United States.
Demographic Research Co. Santa Monica, Calif, Census data organized by ZIP code area an demographic marketing research and multivariate analysis assistance.
Market Statistics, Inc New York. Demographics and retail sales information by individual US counties.
Simmons Market Research Bureau, Inc. New York. Demographics, lifestyle, media, and category / brand usage characteristics.
A number of media data bases are readily accessible including those listed below. Both Nielsen and Arbitron provide databases of their TV and radio ratings.
ABC Data Book Services. Schaumburg, III Audit Bureau of Circulation. Circulation information on 2,000 periodicals information from the Survey of buying Power and other marketing information.
Broadcast Advertiser’s Reports (BAR) Inc., New York. Statistics and information on television and radio commercials in the United States.
Standard rate and Data Service, Inc III Rates, markets, and consumer demographics for all media.
Problems in Using Commercial Data bases:
Although commercial agencies do not have the user’s specific problems in mind when they collect data, they do collect information toward a particular purpose – measuring industry or product sales, the intensity of advertising activity by brand, recall of an advertisement and so on. When a researcher has need for such information, the data form commercial agencies may be very helpful.
In buying commercial data, the researcher must be sure that the data are accurate enough for the purposes at hand. Such an evaluation is easier to make with these data tan it is with most other secondary data, because detailed descriptions of the methods of data collection can be obtained. In some cases, essentially similar data can be bought from two or more sources which differ in their collection methods. The buyer must then decide which of the methods most adequately meets the project’s needs. The measurement of radio ad television audiences, for example, as accomplished by organizations which use such differing techniques as meters, spot telephone calls, diaries, recall interviews and combinations of these. Whoever buys such audience data must make an evaluation of the alternative in the context of the problems.
In India Tata Yellow pages commercial data base is more comprehensive and easy to refer. They also circulate the book free of cost to large corporates free of cost. But corporate groups like Larsen & Toubro Limited Reliance Industries Limited have their own vendor master manuals giving more information about their specialist vendors. However these manuals are for their exclusive internal use and are treated as a confidential document.