Using MAGIC for Business Research

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By Carla Christiano

If you are considering starting a new business or want to improve an established one, you might think you need a little magic to accomplish your research. And you’d be right. One of the best resources for both government and business information in Prince William County is located at the Management and Government Information Center, or MAGIC, in the Chinn Park Regional Library in Woodbridge.

“We’ve been here since 1991 when Chinn Park opened. Our collection includes magazines, legal materials, and county and city documents as well as specialized business and legal databases,” said Emily Bergstresser, one of two full-time county librarians who staff MAGIC. She noted that MAGIC is a free service and the librarians can assist patrons in finding whatever information they need. “We also have a link to business resources on our website (pwcgov.org/government/dept/library/pages/magic-small_ business_information.aspx),” she said. “We can train users in using our business databases or [conduct]searches for them.”

Here are some business resources you can discover at MAGIC.

IBISWorld Industry Report

One of the newest offerings at MAGIC, IBISWorld Industry Report provides detailed information about 1,000 industries in the U.S., such as construction, payroll services, franchises, health care, recreation and retail stores. An IBISWorld report includes industry performance, products and markets, market share concentration, barriers to entry and revenue volatility.

Although IBISWorld Industry Reports can be expensive—with a single report costing $900 for a single private user, according to the IBISWorld Help and FAQs Web page—an IBISWorld Industry Report from MAGIC is free. You will, however, need to contact MAGIC librarians to receive industry reports because the reports are not available through the library’s website.

Email: [email protected] Phone: 703-792-4880

AtoZdatabases

The AtoZdatabases resource is a popular and widely used marketing database for creating mailing lists, identifying competitors and locating businesses in any geographic area by size, sales, industry, number of employees, and so on, according to Bergstresser. In January 2017, she said the database had 749 logins, 4,898 searches and 178,214 records viewed.

With 30 million business and executive listings derived from such sources as annual reports, business directories and public records, AtoZdatabases can be used to search for a specific business or business type in any location nationwide. For example, you could search for coffee shops in Haymarket or in Honolulu and identify their sales trends since 2010, competitors in the area, the square footage in the buildings and even their credit ratings.

The AtoZdatabases site (atozdatabases.com/dataquality) also has information about 220 million residents, with information on 550,000 new homeowners added weekly, according to the site’s “Data Quality” page. This information is derived from white pages, real estate deeds, tax information, voter registration and even warranty cards. You could use this database to research the demographics of an area, such as the estimated household income and the home market value. The results show names and addresses and even the length of residency.

Business Insights Essentials

The Business Insights Essentials database provides detailed company and industry profiles including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), market share and financial reports. It provides detailed company and industry news and information, including company profiles, rankings, magazine articles and scholarly journals. You can also read thousands of company histories and industry essays from Gale’s core business collection. Additionally, you can produce comparison charts of several industries and companies at one time to determine revenue, employee counts over time and sales per employee.

Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage

Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage provides users with a single source of comprehensive business and financial information. It includes instant, online access to Standard & Poor’s most popular research products: industry surveys, stock reports, bond reports, corporation records, The Outlook and the register of corporations, directors and executives among others.

To access the above databases, you will need your library card. A link to these databases can be found in the business section of the Prince William County Library’s premium sites page: pwcgov. org/government/dept/library/pages/premiumsites-subjects. aspx#business.

Additional Information

To learn more about other MAGIC resources, go to the Prince William County Library’s website at pwcgov.org/government/ dept/library/pages/magic.aspx.

Carla Christiano ([email protected]) is a native of Prince William County, admitted history geek and a technical writer for Unisys.

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