Back in the day every one of us basically had to use a phone book if every one of us needed to find a particular corporation in the area.
If I needed to find a modern used book store I had never been to in the past, I had to grab the phone book plus open the yellow pages.
The yellow pages were basically for corporations while the white pages were basically for residents in the area. This is pretty much how you’d find a friend’s phone number if you lost it or had moved back to the area not so long ago. But residents regularly had the opportunity to remain unlisted if that is what they wanted. I’m positive that journalists absolutely took full advantage of the information in phone books back in the day, because commonly addresses were listed as well. And you basically started by looking up last name first before you chose to match it with a first name. The yellow pages were almost the same with businesses. However, instead of listing everything by corporation name plus going in alphabetical order, the yellow pages in the phone book easily categorized everything based on corporation type. There’d be a section for steakhouses, another for grocery stores, plus individual sections for florists, sporting goods stores, plus nurses’ offices just to name some. At this point the categories were in alphabetical order while the corporations within each genre were also put in alphabetical order. When I had a pretty major disaster in our basement so many years ago, I needed an emergency boiler rental or our pipes would have been entirely frozen. The only actual place I could turn to in searching for boiler rentals was the yellow pages. I was truly lucky to find a Heating as well as Air Conditioning corporation that offers rentals for boilers plus chillers.