Getting Down To Business

This post is the first in a series giving an overview of the databases (please, don’t stop reading here) we offer at Mercer County Library System.  As a member of the database committee, we have often discussed which ones are popular and which are not and why.  One thing I come back to a lot is the word “databases,” which for many people conjures up sitting in a library scanning pages of results of journal articles on some topic they had to research for a paper in school.  But that is not really the case with today’s databases, which can range in topic from free streaming media to automotive or home repair to language learning to cooking to, well, you get the idea that they are not just journal articles anymore.  So please follow along with this monthly review of our databases and explore what we have to offer by topic, starting with today’s review of business and investing resources.  Future topics will include homework help/databases for kids, health, history, science, languages, news, skills learning, and education/research.  I encourage you to review each article, even if the topic does not seem like it would pertain to you, as there are some hidden gems in our collection.  For example, Medicare Gap Coverage shoppers will find one of the databases below helpful and almost anything that will be listed on the review of kid’s resources will help out on pub trivia night.  One thing to keep in mind – even if they are focused on peer-reviewed journal articles, a database is still a reviewed and vetted resource that you can use to obtain accurate information instead of relying on questionable sources.

So, let’s get down to business.  On our library’s database page, you will find an A to Z listing of our databases or you can narrow by subject.  The two subjects reviewed below are business and investments.

Business Source Premier – This is a more traditional database offered by Ebsco that allows you to search by keyword to retrieve news and journal articles from the business world.  But wait, there’s more!  The database also includes some handy tools for investors and researchers, such as company financial reports and profiles, industry overviews, and market research reports that talk about trends and strategies for marketing.

Corfacts – Billed as a business to business directory for New Jersey, Corfacts can also be used by job seekers looking for information on a company they are set to interview with, home owners looking for information on suppliers or contractors, as a general yellow pages, or by marketing researchers who need basic data or lists of businesses.  The search allows you to narrow results by industry, county, zip code, and a host of other options.  Results provide corporate structure, sales volume, and contact information.

Financial Ratings Series – This is a new database that was added this month and contains a lot of information from a wide variety of business fields.  The primary use is for investors, as there are stock and mutual fund ratings sections.  But, the database also includes sections on shopping for insurance, Medigap Plans, and banking services, as well as an exchange rate review.  The results are laid out in an easy to read set of graphs and text so you can see how an entity is rated on different aspects and compare it to other entities in the same area.  The database allows you to create an account so you can save information for future review.

Morningstar – The print version of this ratings service has a long history as a premier resource for investors.  The online version provides up-to-date data about companies, funds, and markets with ratings on different securities.  It also includes a tool for reviewing your portfolio with tips on asset allocation and calculators to help you determine how much to save for retirement or college.

ReferenceUSA – Research like a telemarketer with this database provided by Infogroup.  The database has millions of entries on businesses and households across the United States and Canada.  There are two basic types of searches, business and households, and then a host of options to single out specific types of businesses and households, such as new businesses or new homeowners/movers.  The advanced search lets you narrow down the results by industry, zip code, or even draw your own geographic border.  For most of the people searches, you can see an address and phone number, as well as information about the household and neighborhood they live in.  Researchers can build lists that can be printed or downloaded as an Excel file.

Small Business Reference Center – This is a go-to resource for anyone looking to start a business or non-profit.  There are topical sections to browse that include industry information, business basics, business plans, and even a start-up kit.  There is also a section featuring the eBook version of the popular Nolo legal series, all of which can be downloaded as a PDF.  Lastly, there is state-by-state getting started information and a series of how-to videos.

If you need help using any of our databases, feel free to visit any branch and ask a staff member for more help.  Stop by the blog next month for a look at databases for kids and homework help (or settling bets at pub trivia).

- Laura, Information Technology