Showing posts from November, 2006

and I quote...

Ok, so I have not felt inspired. But, today I was dealing with a request for copyright free quotes and this led me to a few sites of general interest. (Incidentally, many quotes are copyright free by nature – since so many of them are from historic personages, but the arrangement of those quotes in a given collection would be copyright protected.) The usual suspects are: The Quotations Page is a labor of love created and maintained by Michael Moncur and his wife Laura Moncur. They offer Quotes of the Day , Motivational Quotes of the Day and the usual search function by author and subject. There is also Wikiquote which further breaks categories down to those such as: Epitaphs Misquotations Films and Proverbs also has a Movie Quote page. And for a laugh: Things People Said which a collection of quotes from everyday people.

Cyber Monday?

Guess which day of the year is the busiest for most online retailers. Here’s a clue: Its not “Cyber Monday”. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, when shoppers return to work and their speedy internet connections, has been heralded as the top online shopping day. Turns out it’s really probably the 12th busiest day of the year. But that’s not stopping online retailers from using this term for their own marketing purposes. Read about the myth and the reality in this Business Week article . With all this online shopping, one might think that the paper catalog is a thing of the past. Turns out that catalogs (like many other paper-based products, including books and the clutter on my desk) are not leaving us just because a digital alternative exists. Read why the catalog is here to stay here . P.S. The busiest online shopping day is probably between Dec. 5 and Dec. 15.

Copyrighted or Not

The purpose of copyright is right in the U.S. Constitution, Section 8 of Article 1: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries Notice a few things: -the words copyright, patent or trademark are never used -the word "limited" is specified -the exclusive Right is designed to promote progress Some folks either do not understand this or choose to ignore it. An example from the workshop I attended is the Boston Globe reprinting the Declaration of Independence last year. At the end, it says (c)2005 Boston Globe. Interesting because the Declaration is not copyrightable! That's true on two fronts, actually: 1) material printed by the federal government (or what would become same) are not copyrightable - so go ahead, steal away from the Census Bureau, e.g., and 2) even if it HAD been copyrighted, the item by now would have lapsed into the public domain.

Multiples for Business Valuation Formulas

Wow . . . now there's a snappy, exciting title! When our clients are buying or selling a business, they sometimes need a formula that they can use to calculate a fair price. We have several books on determining a business' value, but none of them are comprehensive. There are always certain types of businesses for which formulas are not provided. I've come to like one resource in particular, because it does cover a wider scope of businesses. It hails from Here's a link to a sample of their 2006 version (it's a PDF file, just so you know). Page 1 provides a basic review of some pretty simple formulas, while the remaining 8 pages list multiples for various SIC codes. We have the 2004 edition in our collection, and plan on purchasing this 2006 edition very soon. Should you ask for a valuation formula in the future, it's very likely that data from this resource will be part - if not all - of the response.

What does your Phone Number Spell?

Phone Spell The PhoneSpell search engine allows you to look up your number to see what it spells. This service offered by Phone Spell works on the honor system - if you find the service useful, they ask that you make an appropriate donation. Seems fair enough: "The PhoneSpell® search engine provides three 4 services in one! You may have heard that now you can take your phone number with you when you move. Enter a 6 to 10 digit phone number and we'll show you what words and phrases your phone number spells to help you decide if you want to keep it. Opening a business and need a new phone number? Pick a new 7 or 8 digit phone number by typing in an available exchange (first 3 to 5 digits) and see what one-word numbers you can choose from. Searching for just the right toll free number to advertise? Type in letters and we will show you the corresponding phone number. We can even dial the number for you!"

A $3.6 billion industry, an average of $1.07 per pound, and 13.4 pounds per person per year…

Its turkey! For many of the major holidays the US Census website prepares fun factoids related to that time of the year, calling them "Facts for Features." Did you know that there are three towns called Turkey in the United States? Or that 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes were produced in the United States in 2005? Yummy. Read more about it here or just click on the turkey on the left side of the main census page, . Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

2005 American Community Survey

Here's the good news: there are annual data available from the American Community Survey . It now covers geographies of 65,000 or more, compared with the 250,000 population limit from last year. The ACS is designed to replace the 2010 Census long form questions. Here's the bad news: because of previous cuts in the Congressional funding, the 2005 ACS does not capture data from group quarters, which include prisons, college dormitories, and nursing homes. So, for instance, the population estimate for the city of Albany - calculated through a different methodology - is 93,523, down from 95,658 in the 2000 Decennial Census. But the 2005 ACS shows 78,404. One cannot make any population comparisons. Depending on the category, one may or may not be able to compare other characteristics either. For instance, 2005 ACS data in a place with dorms will skew older than what's really happening, whereas a place with a large nursing home will skew younger. Data on race, place of birth, vet

Business Lists & Reference USA

Not a day goes by here without fulfilling a request for a client who needs a list of this business or that. For years, the Research Network used a CD-ROM product called the American Business Disc (ABD) to make these lists possible. Last summer, InfoUSA announced that it was no longer making this CD-ROM available. The company (like every software provider in the information industry) is trying to steer former CD-ROM subscribers towards their web-based equivalent, called Reference USA. Many of you might be familiar with Ref USA. It is a common presence on databases offered for free to cardholders of local public libraries (as well as the New York State Library). If you're not familiar with it . . . you're about to be. Starting later this month, the Research Network will be creating business lists from this website. You shouldn't see much difference in the end product. Oddly, the web version of this product isn't nearly as versatile as the CD-ROM (a lot of useful sea

Statistics on housing, demographics, quality of life in NYC’s neighborhoods

Angel Roman sent us a link to an interesting report with housing and community stats by community board, issued by the Furman Center: State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods 2005 . "Every year the Furman Center compiles statistics on housing, demographics and quality of life in New York City’s neighborhoods from a variety of sources. "This edition streamlines the presentation to focus attention on the critical data that reveals how the City, its five boroughs, and its 59 community districts, have fared in recent years. It shows how each of the City’s neighborhoods is progressing, both in absolute terms and in relation to other areas of the City. It provides the first independent analysis of the just-released results of the 2005 Housing and Vacancy Survey. Finally, it adds a chapter analyzing how the affordability and availability of housing has changed between 2002 and 2005."

New Arrivals: Books

Flecker, Cody. Collect Your Money: Fenix, Walter. Cleaning Services Bid Estimation: Hynes, William G. Start & Run a Craft Business Mcknight, Thomas Will it Fly? Louis, Louise 101 Home Based Businesses for Pet Lovers Taylor, Don Up Against the Wal-Marts Levine, Mark L. The Fine Print of Self-Publishing Richards, René V. Online Marketing Success Stories Baourakis, George. Marketing Trends for Organic Food in the 21st Century Mitchell, Susan American Generations Stanberry, Scott Federal Contracting Made Easy Pressman, David Patent it Yourself Chain Store Guide 2006 Directory of Apparel Specialty Stores

Nonprofits & Charitable Giving

We’ve received a number of questions related to nonprofit organizations lately. The National Center for Charitable Statistics is another good resource for finding information about the US nonprofit sector as well as charitable giving statistics. The number of non-profit organizations in New York 1996-2004 is located here : the data can be broken down by type of nonprofit (i.e. public charities, private foundations) and includes information on asset levels and/or topical areas. More interested in household giving statistics? Try this “ Table Wizard ,” which will yield reports on giving by state, county or income level.

Copyright and Digitization

I attended a workshop last month sponsored by the Capital District Library Council, entitled "Copyright and Digitization for Libraries, Archives, and Museums" by Peter B. Hirtle, the Intellectual Property Officer at the Cornell University Library. Fascinating stuff, copyright in the digital age. One of things Mr. Hirtle always makes clear is something we librarians at the Research Network try to make clear when we address one of your copyright, patent, trademark or similar questions, which is what he calls IANAL - I Am Not A Lawyer. For many of the issues, the issues are not black and white, which leads to litigation. Librarians, as users of protected material, have a certain awareness of their obligations. One of the things I DID NOT KNOW is how digitization makes US, the librarians, the users. Whereas when someone goes to the library and uses the copier, or even uses the librarian as his or her agent, the patron is the user. So you'll be seeing some additional verbiage

An URL of Your Own

Back on September 18th, I wrote a post that described the Research Network's plans on providing information digitally in response to client requests. Today, we took a big step in making this a reality. We'd been experimenting in attaching files (Word docs, Excel sheets, PDF files, HTM pages, etc.) for several months, but it was causing unforeseen problems. Our mail server & your mail server may not agree on certain things (like the size of a file being sent, or whether a message would fall prey to a junk mail filter, etc.). As a result, some messages weren’t being received. So, rather than trying to memorize the quirks of 20+ mail servers around the state, a different method was born. Gus Geidel (our harried but diligent MIS guy) created a section on the main SBDC website in which any of the RN librarians can "drop" a file. More often than not, the file will be several documents stitched together, and saved as a PDF file. The file name will comprise two parts: the


Given the huge popularity of Craig’s List and the spawning of so many other online communities, you may be interested to read this article from Fast Company that offers Craig Newmark’s view of “communities” and how to build them, their shortcomings and best practices. Are You on Craig's List? Craig Newmark has organized a community whose members include some of the Web's most influential people. Here is his manual for (virtual) community organizers. From: Issue nc02 November 2000 Page 26 By: Katharine Mieszkowski Photographs By: Sam Jones

Free Photos

Currently, we at the central office have a subscription to an online image database, and several of the photographs that appear on the SBDC website come from this resource. But, as I make revisions to the website (and I hope you’ll see some of them soon), I’m trying to put up fewer “canned” images and more pictures of our gorgeous clients. But what if you don’t want to pay for images and you don’t have a wealth of smiling faces to put on your website? Try these sources: U.S. Government Photos and Multimedia Most images on U.S. government websites are in the public domain, and can be freely reproduced and reused without permission. Browse available images from this site- just be careful to check each source’s policies to make sure you’re in the copyright clear before nabbing any images. Creative Commons Image Search For less governmental images, try the search engine at Creative Commons. Images indexed here still may be licensed in various ways (read more about Creative Commons licensi

Performance Based Interviewing

The Department of Veterans Affairs has put together something called Performance Based Interviewing . PBI "is a method to increase the effectiveness of the interviewing process in selecting and promoting quality staff. With PBI, the interviewer carefully defines the skills needed for the job and structures the interview process to elicit behavioral examples of past performance." One interesting feature is a bank of interview questions designed by the job function. Following each level is a sample question. Level I: Frontline staff, those who do not supervise others. "Give a specific example of a time you had to deal with an upset co-worker, patient, or other customer. What was the person upset about and how did you handle? What was the outcome?" Level II: Work unit leaders, those who lead the work of a natural group of people, either temporarily (process improvement team leader) or as an ongoing role (foreman, section leader). "A part of this job is documenting

Small Business Statistics

We've mentioned this before (in June 2005, to be precise), but it bears repeating: If your local media/legislator/campus office contacts you for some immediate data regarding the state of small business, then here are some sites you can visit to get that information: SBA's Office of Advocacy is the primary resource regarding studies of national & state small business trends. On their home page, note a menu on the left-hand side titled "Research & Statistics". A number of links appear beneath that heading, including "State Economic Profiles" (which provides small business data for New York & other states for the individual years 2002-2006, inclusive). Other choices on this menu include "Data on Small Business" and "Owner Demographics," both of which lead to pages that cite reports written by Advocacy over the last several years on a wide variety of topics (including women in business, the availability of financing to smal


The New York Times had put most of their opinion columns and online archives behind a subscription wall and called it Times Select. It suddenly cost fifty smackers to access their columnists. Not this week. November 6-12, 2006


Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7. For more information, contact your local Board of Elections and/or the League of Women Voters .

The Small Business Book of Lists

The StreetWise Small Business Book of Lists: Hundreds of Lists to Help You reduce Costs, Increase Revenues, and Boost Your Profits. The broad sections in this book are: Starting Up, High Finance, Where you Work, Day-to-Day, Your Taxes, The Geek Section, Your Customers & Prospects, and Your People. That sounds like the usual rundown but each of these sections covers lists like: Ways to Find Your Start-up’s Niche in the Market Things to do Before Writing Your Government Proposal Most Common Home-Based Business Zoning Issues Questions to Ask When Interviewing and Individual Accountant Best Ways to Reduce Inventories Popular Voice Mail Systems Popular CRM Vendors for Enterprises Tips for creating Your Direct Mail List Just another good source to add to our repetoire.

Adventures in Real Estate

Perhaps it is just my “nesting" instinct, but this apartment-dweller wants a house. For the time being, I’ll just have to settle for researching housing trends. To that end, here are a couple of good sites: Money Magazine has prepared several Top 10 lists on the real estate market, including which markets are forecasted to have the fastest growth, slowest growth, and highest and lowest home prices. This page also offers articles and advice on real estate topics. For more information on housing in this country, check out Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies . They offer some very useful full-text reports, including ‘The State of the Nation’s Housing, 2006,” “America’s Rental Housing, 2006” and “The Changing Structure of the Home Remodeling Industry, 2005.”