Thursday, August 1, 2013

E-Resource of the Month - ReferenceUSA

ReferenceUSA, which you can access for free using your Fauquier County Public Library card, provides access to information on over 25 million businesses and more than 262 million consumers. Business listings include such data as company names, phone numbers, complete addresses, key executive names, SIC Codes, employee size, sales volume, geo-codes for mapping, contact details, franchise and brand information, news, liens, judgments and bankruptcies and credit rating scores.

Residential information comes from more than 5,200 White Page telephone directories, with each listing as it appears in the phone book. Information is available 8 to 12 weeks after the phone book, and the residential listings are processed through U.S. and Canadian National change of address records monthly. U.S. residential listings also contain recent census information, including median household income, median home value, latitude/longitude, and percentage of owner-occupied housing. The database is continuously updated.

Other available databases, including U.S. Businesses, Canadian Businesses, U.S. New Businesses, U.S. Healthcare (Physicians and Dentists), U.S. Standard White Pages, U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles, Canadian White Pages, and U.S. New Movers/Homeowners.

All the available databases allow both a quick search and a custom search mode, with the former finding bare-bones information (for example, company name, executive name, city, state, and phone for U.S. businesses) and with custom options that allow for granularity and targeted list compiling.

For example, the Custom Search in the U.S. Businesses database allows users to query the data by such factors as company name; brands and products; executive name, title, gender, or ethnicity; keyword/SIC/NAICS; major industry group; geographic limiters from state down to neighborhood; map-based search, area code; number of employees; sales volume; public/private company, foreign parent, home-based business, government office, stock exchange, ticker symbol, credit rating, business expenditures, web address, Fortune 1000, Yellow Page ad size, years in database, year established, and square footage. The successive selection features of the search mechanism make it extremely fast and simple to carry out research.

Several databases, such as U.S. Standard White Pages and Canadian White Pages, are pretty straightforward, offering what you'd expect to find in a business information file. The U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles database is different, however. You can perform a quick search by typical access points such as name, phone, city, and state, and lifestyle categories ranging from apparel/fashion/beauty to charitable donor, personal finance/self-help, and purchase behavior. The file notes that “Lifestyles are scored based on level of interest from 0 to 9 in our database. 0 meaning no interest; 9 meaning heavy interest. Selecting Lifestyles from the categories below will include individuals with a score of 6 and higher (6 to 9).”

While the lifestyles search goes beyond the basics of most files, a custom search allows you to delve into consumer characteristics such as estimated home value, estimated household income, age, marital status, children present, ethnicity, gender, language spoken, religion, political party, female occupation, male occupation, mortgage present, home owner, years in home, year home built, location type, number of units. grandparent present, and veteran present.

If you've never used ReferenceUSA, or have only used it to look up contact information, consider taking a tour, which includes tutorials on how to locate detailed information on competitors and similar businesses by using the ReferenceUSA U.S. Business module (approximately three minutes in length).

Links to ReferenceUSA can be found on the library's website (Articles & Databases -- Business Information; Business/Small Business Resources) and in the library's online catalog.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

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