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British Library Industry and IP Guides 

Our colleagues at the British Library Business & IP Centre have handpicked the best information for understanding intellectual property (IP) within specific sectors and for researching key industries, including (but not limited to) Arts and Craft, Business and Finance, Charities, Fashion, Health & Fitness, Board Games and Pet Products.

These guides highlight useful databases, publications and websites, some of which are available at our South Yorkshire Libraries. 

Can’t see what you are looking for? If there is an industry report which you would like the team to develop, you can email the British Library and submit a request. 

Free industry and IP guides


When starting a business, it’s crucial that you create an action plan. COBRA is an easy to use online resource with lots of information for people starting up a business, providing hundreds of small business guides as well as practical how-to fact sheets, covering everything from writing a business or marketing plan to highlighting relevant legislation. Use our Quick Guide to access COBRA wherever you are, you just need your library membership number!

Quick guide to Cobra577 KB


Are you looking for new companies to sell to, but haven’t got the time to call new sales leads up? We can help you get past the gatekeeper! Using our global information database KOMPASS, our Quick Guide can help you use the database to get in direct contact with the person in the exact department that you need to do business with, saving you time and money, directly from your home or office. 

Quick guide to Kompass600 KB

The Intellectual Property Office 

The IPO UK is the official government body responsible for granting intellectual property rights in the United Kingdom. 

Get started with a free IP Health Check and check out their handy guides to find out more.  

Benefits of Business Information Databases

The table below shows you where to start searching the different business information databases, depending on the query.

I want to:Start with:How will this help
Advice & Funding:  Cobra
Supporting business in functional aspects of how to run a business and any potential loans or grants that may be available
Market Research/Desk Research:  Mintel
Ibis World
Local Data Online
Passport (Sheffield Only)
Statistics & Analysis on: Market Research, Market Trends, Current and Future Consumer Behaviour, Market Size, Market Forecasts, Competitor Analysis need to inform business plan and test viability of business proposition
Company Data:Fame
Marketing lists, identify partners, Identify distributors, Identify Suppliers, Lead Generation, Due Diligence, Competitor analysis. Helps segment the market: TurnoverIndustry typeNumber of employeesLocationService AreaProduct Type

Benefits of Cobra

The table below shows you where to start searching the COBRA database, depending on your query.

I want to:Start with:
Research my business ideaBusiness Opportunity Profiles.
Market Synopses (under Sector Guides).
Sector Research Guides (under Sector Guides).
Research a particular sectorSector Guides.
Find out about business support and funding.  Local Area Profiles.
Business Information Factsheets – browse the Business support and advice, and Finance categories.
Understand the practical aspects of starting or running a businessBusiness Information Factsheets – browse by category.
Understand my legal responsibilities.Business Information Factsheets – browse the Trading legally category.
Find out what training or qualifications I need for a particular trade or profession.Business Opportunity Profiles.

Benefits of Mintel

The table below shows you where to start searching the Mintel database, depending on your query.

I want to:Start with:
Research my business ideaReports
Research a particular sectorReports – The Market  – Key Takeaways
Industry Trends
Expert Insights
Filter Search using trend drivers
Understand my ConsumerReports – Consumer
Filter a search using Demographics
Understand my competitorsReports – Brand/Company

Benefits of IBISWorld

The table below shows you where to start searching the IBISWorld database, depending on your query.

I want to:Start with:
Research my business ideaIndustry Research Guide.
Research a particular sectorIndustry Research Guide.
Understand how an industry in performingIndustry Research Guide – Industry Performance
Future performance of the industryIndustry Research Guide – Industry Outlook
Learn about the competitors in the industryIndustry Research Guide – Competitive Landscape

Benefits of GRANTfinder

The table below shows you where to start searching the GRANTfinder database, depending on your query.

I want to:Start with:
Find a:

venture capital
equity finance  

for my :

Public sector organisation
Voluntary, Community or Social Enterprise
Private Company
Search GRANTfinder
I want to find:


Based on:

£X Amount
Different Regions
Search GRANTfinder and filter on funding amount & Geographic Scope
I want watch specific grants and have them emailed to meSave the search in “my resources” “my folders”
I want help completing a funding bid“library” tab, “Successfully secreting Grand Funding: A Beginners Guide”

Benefits of Kompass

The table below shows you where to start searching the Kompass database, depending on your query.

I want to:Start with:
Find A Supplier, Distributor, Service ProviderUsing the Kompass Classification, tick the appropriate Column
I want to email a contact directly from KompassWhen you have found the company, click on the Contacts folder. If they have an envelope next to their name you can contact them directly. If they are NOT from UK, USA or Lebanon you will not see their personal email address if the list is printed
Will my “Bulk List” updateEach time you run a saved search the data will include any news prospects as the information in the database is constantly updated.
I want to print my search1 company profile can be printed from the 2 customer accounts. To print a “Bulk List” the customer needs to share the “Saved Search” with the Administrator Account and Frontline staff can print it from “My Saved Searches”. Each company is a Credit and each Library has limited credits which will not be renewed
My ListsWe are not advising customers to create “my lists”.  When using the terminology “Bulk Lists” we are referring to “Saved Searches”

Benefits of FAME

The table below shows you where to start searching the FAME database, depending on your query.

I want to:Start with:
I want to find companies matching a specified profile including size, industry and locationCreate a Search
I want to find a specific CompanyUse the icon (that looks like building) and click on companies to start your search
I want to find out whether a company has a CCJ against themYou can either this information in Company Profile if you are looking at an individual company. If you are performing a search you will find it in  under the category Credit Data & CCJs
I want to find out who the directors are of a company and who ultimately owns the companyFind the Specific Company and using the Key Information chapter you can see the headline information. You can drill down further by looking at the Directors and contacts chapter and the Corporate ownership chapter

Strengths of Business Information Databases

Advice & FundingMarket Research/ Desk Research (B2C – Businesses to Consumers)Company Data – (B2B – Business to Business)
Information Extracted  

Business Information Factsheets
Business Opportunity Profiles
Legal Information
Intellectual Property information
Access to funding
Credible Data
Awareness of Possible Risks
Insight of Future Potential
Informed Decision Making
Viable Business Plan  

Information Extracted

Market Size
Market Issues & Trends
Market Forecasts
Consumer Behaviour
Competitor Analysis
Competitor Analysis
Lead Generation
Identifying Suppliers
Due Diligence
Identifying Partners  

Information Extracted  

Background & Financial details Ownership
Target Sales
New Suppliers/ Partners