Welcome to ReferenceUSA

Reference eReviews | May 15, 2013

e reviews

ReferenceUSA Infogroup, Inc. www.referenceusa.com; to take a tour of the file please go to: www.referenceusa.com/Static/VideoTutorials.

 
Content 
ReferenceUSA is a database providing 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.

Usability 
A toolbar at the top of the home screen links to, for example, 
data quality, a database tour, contact information, FAQs, resource 
center, and library locator. Below that toolbar are two large buttons 
for Take a Tour (they really want you to take a tour) and Library 
Locator.

The home screen also offers a list of available databases, including 
U.S. Businesses/Employers USA, Canadian Businesses, OneSource 
(International Companies and Executives by Title), 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. To the right of these is a Latest News 
panel; during this review the news was about ReferenceUSA’s new 
Data Visualization with exportable pie or bar charts, as well as 
color-coded heat mapping of data. The powerful and sophisticaled 
data visualization features (both charting and heat mapping) enhance 
results offering “at a glance” ability to spot patterns and target 
group concentrations.

At the time of review, the tour includes tutorials on how to find a 
business type using ReferenceUSA’s U.S. Business Module (which takes 
about four minutes), and another on how to locate detailed information 
on competitors and similar businesses by using the ReferenceUSA U.S. 
Business module (a little over three minutes). These tutorials were 
provided by the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University 
San Marcos. The second tutorial threw me a bit because it begins by 
having you locate ReferenceUSA from an alphabetical list of databases, 
which will be odd for users who’ve started within ReferenceUSA. 
Otherwise, the lessons are helpful.

Library Locator prompts users to enter their zip code in a box; 
I found the 183 libraries within a 25 mile radius of my zip; listed were 
the names of the libraries, their phone numbers, and their addresses. 
This is useful information, but I question the amount of screen real 
estate taken up by the library locator and tutorial buttons, when the 
meat of the file is in the list of available databases.

And this is a meaty file. 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 including extensive, 
user-friendly choices that allow for incredible granularity and truly 
targeted list compiling.

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: it took me approximately ten seconds to locate the 25 
Fortune 1000 businesses in Massachusetts, for example.

Several databases, such as U.S. Standard White Pages and Canadian White 
Pages, are pretty straightforward, offering what librarians and patrons 
expect to find in a business information file. 
The U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles database is different, however, and 
fascinating. Here, users 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).”

A lifestyles search, then, goes beyond the basics of most files, but 
custom search delves even deeper 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. This level of 
granularity is amazing.

Pricing 
Pricing for annual institutional subscriptions starts at $2,000 
and increases based on population served and modules available.

Verdict 
ReferenceUSA’s incredibly easy, yet extremely sophisticated 
search capabilities are stunning. And the quality of the data is every 
bit as good as they describe at their data quality page 
(www.referenceusa.com/Static/DataQuality). 

Heartily recommended for public, special, and academic libraries.
____________________________________________________________________________________
ReferenceUSA is the premier research tool for public and academic 
libraries.  This site is designed to give library staff a resource to 
read the latest updates about our service and access a variety of 
supporting materials.  Subscribing is easy and will guarantee that you 
are up to speed on any changes and updates.  Find the link on right 
side of this page and customize the settings to see daily, weekly or 
monthly.

We have built this site to help you with anything you may need related 
to ReferenceUSA.  You can help us out, in turn, by telling us what we 
can do to help you out or make our database even better.  We appreciate 
the input we receive from our libraries and 'power users' and we do our 
best to incorporate the feedback into enhancements on ReferenceUSA.
asked questions, demonstrating search strategies, profiling
interesting people and places or discussing various aspects of
ReferenceUSA that we know are of interest.
web-based tutorials that cover topics of interest including using
ReferenceUSA as part of a job search strategy and how businesses
use ReferenceUSA.  You will also find short form tutorials
that demonstrate various search scenarios, tips and techniques.
download and print for your patrons - Sample Search Sheets, flyers,
bookmarks and brochures.
  • We know how important Usage Stats can be for you so we have created
a special section that walks you through the process of how to
access and interpret the usage stats for your library.
  • ...and if you are at all curious about who we are About Us takes you 
    behind the scenes so you can meet our team and link to a calendar that 
    shows you where your rep is going to be in the upcoming weeks.
    Please check out the various sections on this site and be sure to pass 
    this site along to your colleagues and patrons so they can benefit from 
    our daily offerings.