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WELCOME to the January 2012 edition of The Information Advisor's BestBizWeb Enewsletter!
Here is our review of the best business research sites we've come across.



CATEGORY: Search Engine/Academic Research

PURPOSE: JURN is a search engine that indexes more than 4,000 free open access ejournals in the arts and humanities, with an archive dating from approximately 1995.


SOURCE CHECK: JURN was launched in February 2009 in alpha; it was out of beta by June 2009. It employs a Google Custom search engine to index the academic titles.

OUR VIEW: This is a great resource when you want to limit your internet searching just to academic publications in the arts and humanities. While this can also be done by jiggering with Google or Google Scholar, JURN makes it much easier and more intuitive. The site is maintained regularly as the URLs are checked often. There’s even an excellent and free guide to what websites to choose when doing various academic research, which can be found at Consider this site if you want to search academic and scholarly content, often difficult to find on the open web.

SITE: WetFeet: Industries


CATEGORY: Industry Information

PURPOSE: WetFeet’s industry section provides an easy-to-read narrative about working in scores of different industries and business functions.


SOURCE CHECK: WetFeet has been around since 1994 when it was co-founded by Gary Alpert and Steve Pollock, two MBA students at Stanford University. In 2007, the site was purchased by Universum Communications AB, a global employer branding company.

OUR VIEW: While you wouldn’t use the consumer-oriented job search site WetFeet for in-depth insider industry information, its appeal is that the narratives it provides on the industries and careers it covers are lively, well-written, and timely. The narratives are supplemented with valuable links and resources, such as average salary ranges and sources of additional information. Consider this site if you want a quick and up-to-date take on dozens of popular industries and careers.
This month's featured book from the publisher of The Information Advisor
Click here to learn more.

The Librarian's Guide to Micropublishing
Helping Patrons and Communities Use Free and Low-Cost Publishing Tools to Tell Their Stories

In this timely book, Walt Crawford explains the how, what, and why of libraries and community micropublishing. He details the use of no-cost/low-cost publishing tools Lulu and CreateSpace and equips librarians to guide their patrons in the production of quality print books. He offers step-by-step instructions for using MS Word to design and edit manuscripts that can be printed in flexible quantities via on-demand technology.

2012 ISBN: 978-1-57387-430-4 — $49.95
(Also available for Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, many more!)

SITE: FINTEL Business Scorecard


CATEGORY: Financial Information

PURPOSE: This scorecard provides a comparison of any firm’s performance with industry peers and competitors.


SOURCE CHECK: The origins of Fintel are in academia, as it was begun before the year 2000 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Business. Today it is a privately based firm based in Madison, Wis.

OUR VIEW: While Fintel offers several fee-based financial analysis products, this free one provides some simple but useful information to help benchmark a firm with others in the same industry. The way it works is that you key in data on a firm such as industry, net sales, net profit, accounts receivable, inventory, and a few other basic financial items. Then a report is generated with comparative industry data such as key ratios such as return on sales, as well as collection periods and other performance measurements. One nice feature is that not only are numbers generated, but a rating score and a short explanatory narrative help you understand the numbers and put them in context. Consider this site if you want to find out how your firm or another firm roughly compares to others in its industry.
CLICK HERE to view the BestBizWeb archive!

SITE: Reuters: Deals


CATEGORY: Mergers and Acquisitions

PURPOSE: This site provides a range of data and news on recent mergers and acquisitions.


SOURCE CHECK: Reuters’ Deals section is part of the Reuters: Business page, which itself is a creation of the information and financial giant Thomson Reuters.

OUR VIEW: This section of Reuters: Business offers some of the best free data on M&A we have come across in a long while, and it’s from an unimpeachable source. Here you’ll find information such as latest M&A deals (target/acquirer/value); global inflows and outflows by world region; M&A news by industry and region; and various technical considerations as to whether a possible deal will go through, such as arbitration spread. There are two other great features on this site: You can search for news or data about a specific firm by entering its ticker symbol, and you can track designated M&A deals via an RSS feed. Consider this site if you need to keep up with potential and recent mergers and acquisitions.

SITE: Industry Statistics Sampler


CATEGORY: Industry Information

PURPOSE: This site identifies, describes, and links to the data sources and series available from the U.S. government on hundreds of industries and subindustries.


SOURCE CHECK: The Industry Statistics Sampler is produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

OUR VIEW: While it’s gratifying that there is so much industry data and analysis available from the U.S. government, it can be quite difficult to keep track of what is available from the different agencies. This site helps you sort it out. You can browse or search for an industry and then view a table showing you what kind of data is available on that industry: producing agency, frequency of publication, and sample contents. So, for example, a search on the newspaper industry NAICS code 511110 results in the display of a chart with information on the Quarterly Services Survey, County Business Patterns, Service Annual Survey, Information Sector Services, Statistics of U.S. Businesses, Economic Census, and others. For each title, sample contents (e.g., number of establishments, revenue, operating expenses) are also shown, making this a valuable “first stop” when looking for industry information data. Consider this site if you want to find aggregate and official information on a particular industry from the government but are not sure where to begin.

We are particularly interested in hearing about any sites you'd like to nominate. If we use your submission, your name will be entered in our monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate. Please send comments to editor Robert Berkman (