Mining Industry Data: A Checklist Approach

By Ojala, Marydee | Online Searcher, January-February 2013 | Go to article overview

Mining Industry Data: A Checklist Approach


Ojala, Marydee, Online Searcher


Two years ago, in the January/February 2011 issue of ONLINE, I wrote about checklists for private company information. It was well-received, so I thought I'd try my hand at creating one for industry research. This is much more challenging for one important reason. While there is a paucity of information sources available for privately held companies, the opposite holds true when researching an industry. Industry information is plentiful. The trick is to narrow the abundance of information down to something usable.

I've used the mining industry as my example to amplify the checklist points because it's a worldwide industry, with many subsections and the object of numerous news stories.

WHY CHECKLISTS?

In The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (New York: Henry Holt and Co., LLC, 2009), surgeon Atul Gawande makes the case for a checklist approach in his field, medicine. He tells stories about checklists in hospitals and investigates how checklists can improve performance and prevent disasters. Although he doesn't mention business research, information professionals can easily adapt the checklist approach to ensure they cover the salient sources for research projects.

Checklists are written guides that include key steps for complex procedures. Gawande says, "Good checklists ... are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything...." Checklists help ensure that you get critical information in a systematic fashion. Gawande stresses that checklists aren't intended to be "comprehensive how-to guides." Instead, he sees checklists as "quick and simple tools aimed to buttress the skills of expert professionals." They also aren't set in stone. When a resource on your checklist changes character, disappears altogether, or prices itself beyond your ability to access it, you should remove this source from your checklist and, possibly, add an alternative.

FIRST STEPS

For industry research, the first step is to determine if there's an applicable industry code. We usually think of NAICS and SIC codes, but don't forget about other applicable codes, such as those relevant in a particular country, tracking international trade, or created for a subscription database such as ABI/INFORM. The high-level NAICS code for "Mining, Quarrying and Oil and Gas Extraction" is 21. This breaks down into multiple subsections so you can drill-down to coal, metal ore, nonmetallic minerals mining, and more.

ABI/INFORM has mining industry as a thesaurus term, but its code is 8500, which ABI/INFORM describes as "extractive industries," with the word "mining" nowhere in sight. Both Factiva and LexisNexis use their own indexing for industries. Factiva, for instance, has imet as the most general code but breaks the industry down into numerous components, using alphanumeric codes such as i211 for metal ore mining.

For some industries, particularly those undergoing rapid change or ones too small to rate their own code, descriptive words are the better approach. Suppose you were looking for emerald mines. The closest NAICS code, 212399, concerns gemstones; emeralds are not mentioned. EBSCO Business Source Premier, however, supplies Emeralds and emerald mining as a thesaurus term.

Geography is another important item. Are you looking for copper mining in Peru, gold in South Africa, diamonds in Canada, or coal in China? Within the U.S., which state or region piques your interest? Some parts of the country are more dominant in a given industry than others. The Census Bureau's Economic Census: Industry Snapshots (www.census .gov/econ/census/snapshots) provides a handy map of industries by state, determined by number of establishments, number of employees, and payroll per employee, down to the six-digit NAICS code level. Colorado, for example, leads for uranium/radium/vanadium mining (code 212291).

DECODING YOUR SEARCH

Determining the relevant codes and thesaurus terms is first on the checklist, but it's not the most important element of an industry research project.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mining Industry Data: A Checklist Approach
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.