Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get the competitive edge

Thinking about starting a business or just wondering who your competition is? Use the library's ReferenceUSA database to locate detailed information on competitors or similar businesses using the Custom Search in the U.S. Businesses module. You can watch the video below, to see how this works, or perform the following steps:

  1. Log in to the ReferenceUSA database using your 10-digit library barcode;

  2. Select the U.S. Businesses database;

  3. Click on the Custom Search tab (it will be defaulted to Quick Search);

  4. Click on Business Type;

  5. Click on Major Industry Group;

  6. Select an industry group that is similar to your business (or your interest). If you click the plus sign icons to the left of each listing, the industry group (or subgroup) will expand to allow you to drill down to a specific type of business. For example, if I wanted to open a coffee shop in Warrenton, I'd click on Retail Trade, then Eating & Drinking Places and then Eating Places and then check Coffee Shops (581228);

  7. To see what coffee shops are located in Warrenton (my competition), I'd then click on Geography (in left hand menu) and then select Radius (you could instead go by zip, county, etc., but I like the radius feature);

  8. In the Radius input area, I can then enter an address or zip and also the number of miles near that zip or radius. In my case, I put in the 20186 zip and chose a 2 mile radius;

  9. Click the View Results button;

  10. Since all I came up with was Starbucks, I decided to revise my search a bit to include some local bakeries that serve coffee (and are thus my competitors). What I had to do was click on Revise Search and then ADD Deli-Bakery (581229), which was also under Retail Trade > Eating & Drinking Places > Eating Places, as well as click on Retail Trade > Food Stores > Retail Bakeries (5461). I then clicked the View Results button and came up with not only the ubiquitous Starbucks locations, but also local retailers like Great Harvest Bread, Red Truck Bakery and Cafe Torino.
  11. Once you have your list of competitors, you can then view more detailed information such as their business demographics, corporate structure, etc.

Watch the video below for more information. Or, if you need help with this database (or any of the databases Fauquier County Library subscribes to), ask a librarian for assistance - get your questions answered by e-mail or call the Adult Reference Desk at (540) 422-8500 ext. 6862.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Distance Education Information

Did you know that the library's subscription to Testing and Education Reference Center includes information for those seeking information on distance learning providers? It's sort of hidden, but it's there. After you log in with your library card number, click on the College menu (located at the top of the page) and select "Find and pay for college." You'll then see the Distance Learning Programs Search that allows you to search a database of accredited schools and programs that offer distance learning options. You can search by course of study, degree/award level as well as for non-degree related courses.

With distance learning becoming more popular (and accepted), hopefully the Testing and Education Reference Center will make this more obvious/accessible from the home page.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Health Info on the Web - A Drug Rep in Disguise?

Interesting article in yesterday's New York Times magazine on the credibility of the popular WebMD site, specifically its cozy relationship with prescriptiondrug manufacturers. At the other end of the spectrum,, one of the sites recommended on our Health Resources page, is also highlighted. If you tend to self-diagnose via the Internet, you'll want to read this article.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Explore museums, great works of art

Google, via its new site Art Project, has undertaken a unique collaboration with some of the world’s most acclaimed art museums, including NYC's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), London's National Gallery and Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, to enable people to discover and view more than a thousand artworks online in extraordinary detail. Using Google's Street View technology, visitors move virtually around the museum's galleries and works of art.

  • Make sure you have a computer/connection that can handle this image-intensive site;
  • Some of the paintings and features captured with Street View were required to be blurred by the museums for reasons pertaining to copyrights;
  • The museums chose the galleries, artwork and information to include, not Google;

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Spotlight: Black History Month

Please see recommended online resources highlighted in 2010; in addition, I encourage you to check out one of my favorite websites/search engines, findingDulcinea, which has a well-researched collection entitled, Learning About African-American History.

Groundhog Day

Tomorrow, Feb. 2, is Groundhog Day. According to legend, if it's cloudy when Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow, winter is on its way out. However, if it's sunny, and he sees his shadow, winter will continue for another six weeks. Whatever the weather brings us, you can celebrate the day with crafts and a good book.

eResource of the Month: Contemporary Literary Criticism Select

A time-honored timesaver for literary analysis
For over 30 years, Contemporary Literary Criticism® has been the world’s leading resource for information on modern literature. Contemporary Literary Criticism Select is a unique complement to the award-winning print series. In addition to providing online access to specially licensed critical essays and excerpts, you’ll also get links to biographical profiles of today’s most-studied authors. A subject/genre search will not only link to online entries, but will also cite relevant entries in all volumes of the print series, which is housed in the Warrenton Library’s adult reference section.

Students/literary researchers can use Contemporary Literary Criticism Select to:
  • Access biographical/critical introductions to major and new authors
  • Find full-text criticism on major literary works
  • Target sources for further research
Entries provide extensive information including:
  • Introduction to the Author — a discussion of the author’s life, works and critical importance
  • Critical essays — essays and excerpts taken from books, magazines, literary reviews, newspapers and scholarly journals;
  • Interviews with featured authors where available; bibliographical citations
  • Suggestions for further reading — an annotated bibliography of sources for further study
Search the database by:
  • Author name
  • Biographical details, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, year of birth or death
  • Title
  • Subject/Genre
  • Critic/Critical Source
  • Full-text Search allows you to search for a word or phrase in any Contemporary Literary Criticism Select entry