Located in Sheffield's Central Library and based on the successful centre in the British Library in London, we provide a range of business databases, trade publications, business literature and guides to support your business information needs.  

How to use the Business and Intellectual Property (IP) Centre

Anyone is free to use the centre's resources at the reading room at the Central Library during opening hours. You can also book computers and meeting pods in advance or on a drop in and see what's available. 

If you want to access the 24/7 business databases remotely or take books home you'll need to be a library member.

Business and company information

  • access to the COBRA (complete business reference advisor) database
  • company information from Mint UK and D&B Hoovers Global databases
  • selection of business books and start up guides
  • market research available on our databases
  • current and past editions of newspapers and journals
  • E library resources including Newsbank

Intellectual Property Information

  • member of Patlib UK
  • guidance on protecting your ideas with patents, trademarks, design and copyright
  • GB historical patents from 1617 to 1900

Free computers, networking area with study space and private, bookable meeting pods.

Free clinics, workshops and networking events

  • patent clinics
  • trademark clinics
  • Innovator in Residence sessions
  • accountancy for business clinic
  • Business Legal Advice clinic

 We run workshops including:

  • Research your market using market research databases
  • Essential business research using COBRA
  • How to use business databases for research
  • Everything you need to know to protect your business idea
  • What’s in a name! – why trademarks matter?
  • Introduction to copyright
  • Social Media for business
  • Inspiring Entrepreneur’s live screening
  • Business & IP Talks

Mailing Lists

We can provide a bespoke mailing list service for a small fee, which utilises the business database MINTUK. This service is especially useful for anyone interested in locating potential suppliers, compiling a directory of useful addresses, researching the competition or conducting a business analysis by region or industry.

Business and market research databases

We can give you access to the following business databases at the centre. Cobra and Newsbank can be accessed remotely for free, 24/7, with your library card.


Has an extensive range of topics and ideas related to starting up, running or supporting the development of small firms, including practical how-to guides.

IBIS World

The UK’s most comprehensive collection of Industry Market Research and Industry Risk Ratings.

D&B Hoovers

A comprehensive database of company information and unincorporated businesses throughout the world. You can access financial information, industry research, director and key contact details, peer groups and comparisons. Global Market research reports are available.


Fame database provides detailed financial analysis and corporate information for UK-based companies.


Read current and historic articles from UK and European newspapers for free. Search for specific news articles in national and local newspapers including The Star, Yorkshire Post, Financial Times, and Guardian.

Contact Libraries Team