Friday, April 27, 2007

Tip: Linking to the Online Catalog

Have you ever tried to e-mail or post a link to a particular item in our online catalog, but your e-mail or Web publishing program balked at the cumbersome URL (example - Now you can get a nice, short URL by clicking on or right-clicking on the "Click here for a permanent URL for this record" link. When you do that, you'll notice that the URL in the address bar will be something like, Much easier to send to a friend or post in your blog or personal Web page.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

There Went the Neighborhood

Wondering what your neighborhood or street looked like back in the early 1900s? Genealogists, architects, local historians and urban planners alike will find the library's Sanborn Digital Maps of Virginia an invaluable resource. The Sanborn Map Company was the primary publisher of fire insurance maps for American cities for nearly 100 years. These maps were used to estimate the potential fire risk for urban structures and include information such as the size and shape of each building, the type of construction materials used, the function of various structures and even the location of windows and doors. Local Virginia cities include Warrenton, Culpeper, Leesburg, Manassas and Woodstock. Once only available in microfilm, the electronic versions of these maps allow you to magnify and zoom in on particular sections and even layer maps from different years. You can view the Sanborn Digital Maps of Virginia collection online at the library or from the comfort of home. If you are at home, visit the library's Web site ( and click on Databases, which is under the heading Electronic Resources. The link to the Sanborn login screen is under Genealogy & History. All you need is your Fauquier County Public Library 10 digit library card number to access the collection.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Business and Market Research at Your Fingertips

Did you know that the library offers patrons free access to ReferenceUSA? This database is a powerful reference tool that allows you to locate specific businesses by location, SIC code, location and much more. Some reasons you may want to use ReferenceUSA include:
  1. Looking to open you own business? Select a location and do a radius search to look up the number of similar businesses in the area;
  2. Looking for a job? Conduct research on specific industries and companies and also find specific executives to contact (name of a human resources director, for example);
  3. Locate a parent and/or subsidiary companies -- find out where the buck really stops;
  4. Looking for a contractor to assist you with a home improvement project? Results for businesses in the database include any public filings, including liens;
Records can be downloaded and sorted to suit your individual needs.

I recently assisted a patron, a photographer new to the area, who wanted to contact local real estate agents and offer them his services, taking digital photographs of properties for real estate Web sites. Since the yellow pages is not always exhaustive (and "Googling" can send you off on a wild goose chase), we were able to use the SIC code search (brokers, agents, etc.) and come up with a concise mailing list of real estate contacts limited to the town of Warrenton.

If you would like to take advantage of the ReferenceUSA database, please ask the reference librarian at your local branch of the Fauquier County Public Library system. Due to licensing restrictions, patrons must use the database inside the library.