Database of the Month: PrivCo

Organizations that are family owned or private are typically hard to gather information on. PrivCo serves up private company metrics which would formerly have taken hours to accumulate.  It taps multiple reference sources, articles, and industry info.

PrivCo connects the user to company directory information, financial data on private companies, and investors involved in private company activity.

Who can use it? Who benefits?

Eligible users include Bentley students, faculty, staff, community users.  Beneficiaries are most likely participants in GB 320 who are assigned company research, and any future venture capitalists who will appreciate the due diligence that can be performed with this e-resource.

What’s inside?

Private company profiles and deals about them, laid out in tables. Find:

  • description and history of a business
  • known investors (for example, Uber Technologies’ largest stakeholder is Fidelity with 2.5 %)
  • revenue model
  • competitors
  • court documents

Why use it?

  1. Merger and acquisition information
  2. Venture Capital activity
  3. Private Equity deals
  4. Pre-search for an internship
  5. General private company searching

Sample search for venture capital information:

Imagine an entrepreneur seeking new sources for his next VC deal. He wants to identify companies and view activity within a specific geographic location (Massachusetts) and a certain dollar amount ($50K – $1M). He logs in to his PrivCo account and begins a search so he can analyze who has funded whom, for how much.

  1. In the screenshot below you’ll see the opening page to a PrivCo account. Note VC funding tab pointed out on left of the dashboard. Arrow on right displays log-in name within the profile (we recommend establishing a profile).

    PrivCo search screen
    Click to view larger image.
  2. Input parameters: for the venture capital transactions in question, he wants rounds in the range of $50,000 – $1M in Massachusetts in the last 5 years.

    PrivCo search screen - funding parameters
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  3. There are 343 results for venture capitalist activity which meet the criteria of $50K-$1M, located in Massachusetts. The link labeled “deal details” is the heart of the search. See screen shot below.

    PrivCo search results screen
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  4. Within the “Deal Details” of the first result for Weave Visual Analytics, Inc., it says this company received $750,00 in funds from Breton Capital. Weave was in its 2nd year of business at the time of the transaction, June 2016.

Where does PrivCo get its material?

Company information is gleaned from public documents such as regulatory documents, court proceedings, reference materials, industry information, and articles in the news.

What sets it apart?

  • Private company information with many links between companies reduces search time
  • Profile data can be exported to an excel spreadsheet, or exported as a PDF
  • Watchlists. I think this is PrivCo’s biggest contribution, an alert system which can connect to your email, for company activity
  • Well organized and has an easy interface to learn
  • Built with redundant navigation making it accessible to many learning styles
PrivCo company watchlist
Watchlist adds value to this database. Above: Uber’s company profile, with “Add to watchlist” circled.
Click to view larger image.

Locating PrivCo

Well-developed Self-help

  • PrivCo lets you export company profiles as an excel spreadsheet or PDF
  • Rich dictionary of terms
  • 85 page PDF of the entire Knowledge bank (FAQ’s) can be down loaded for further exploration

One last thing

Create a PrivCo profile and accumulate previous searches in one place; it will save time and allow a user to pick up an idea where they left off last. This makes research feel easy.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to a useful website or Library database, highlighting key features you should know about. If you would like more information about this free web resource (or any of the library’s databases), please contact us for research assistance. If you would like a demonstration of this resource for a class, please schedule a research instruction class using this form.

Database of the Month: ReferenceUSA

ReferenceUSA is a strong, reliable database filled with directory information on businesses and people. It is most popularly used for getting detailed company information or to create a list of competitors in a specific industry. It contains private and public company information and is updated monthly.

Who can use it?

ReferenceUSA is available online to all Bentley community users with active Bentley coordinates; find it on Bentley Library’s Databases A-Z page.

Students of GB320 are the most likely users of this resource, especially for company research assignments. Other typical projects informed by ReferenceUSA are business intelligence or research for an upcoming interview.

Our sample search today is research for an upcoming interview (see below).

What’s inside?

ReferenceUSA generates data in the form of addresses, phone numbers, and URLs, without narrative comment or storyline. The ReferenceUSA search interface guides users to select parameters and the database dynamically generates this list.

Sample search for potential internship places

The sample search that follows is preparation for an upcoming interview.  In this scenario, the goal is to identify organizations and inquire about internships. We will look for small organizations specializing in disaster relief work in the south of the United States.

  1. On the ReferenceUSA landing page, choose to search “U.S. Businesses”, then select the “Advanced Search” tab for best results.

    ReferenceUSA Advanced Search
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  2. On the “Advanced Search” screen, identify search parameters:
    ReferenceUSA Search Parameters
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    • Under Business Type, select to do a “Keyword SIC/NAICS” search, which will search within SIC or NAICS industry classification codes. A keyword search for “disaster” within SIC Codes results in several options. We will choose “832290 Disaster Contractors” and three related industries which look good for our future internship.
    • Additional parameters chosen for this search – “Geography” (state),  “Phone” (business phone) and “Business Size” (Number of Employees = less than 100). Note that in the screenshot above, “Sales Volume” is not checked as a parameter, reasoning that disaster relief organizations may not have metrics in this area.
  3. Click “Update Count” when finished selecting parameters.
  4. Click “View Results” to view 28 results in this search for disaster relief agencies located in 10 southern states of the US, with 100 or fewer employees. Drill into each record for granular information on that organization.

    ReferenceUSA Search Results
    Click to view larger image.
  5. Download this list of 28 to a laptop in .xlsx format for easy sorting and saving. Note that the number of downloads is limited to 500 hits.

You’re done! These are leads to pursue for a future internship.

What sets it apart?

ReferenceUSA prioritizes accuracy very highly and fact-checks everything by telephone calls. ReferenceUSA culls its information from the US White page telephone directories, the U.S. Census Bureau, and from publicly filed records. It has estimated 44 million US businesses, 1.5 million of them closed and 4.5 of them newly established, making historical analysis or projections possible.

Other goodies:

  • Links under the “Job Help” tab connect users to outside sources such as and , a reflection of ReferenceUSA’s origins in 1992 when it began as a search tool for students, job seekers and researchers.

For self-help, ReferenceUSA provides user-contributed how-to videos under the “Take a Tour” tab, each of these recordings explain the search process in under 5 minutes.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to a database available from the Library’s website, highlighting key features of the database that you should know about. If you would like more information about this database (or any of the library’s databases), please contact us for research assistance. If you would like a demonstration of this database for a class, please schedule a research instruction class using this form.

On Display: Testing, Testing 1,2,3

Now on display in the library’s lobby, the “Testing, Testing 1,2,3” display has three kinds of materials:

  1. Assistance with practice for professional exams, certifications, and credentialing.  Advancing a career to the next step sometimes requires taking a test such as GMAT, LSAT, GRE, CPA exam….  The likely users of these materials are graduate students or people about to finish their Bentley undergrad  journey.
  1. For anyone who has headaches getting ready for assessments in a timed setting, there is a wide selection of books with tips for users to study smarter, not harder.  Titles in this group address strategies for test taking, time management, study skills, and stress busting. Outsmart the  test.
  1. Finally, the “Testing, Testing 1,2,3” display offers material to answer academic questions such as, “What is the value of standardized tests in our school systems?” and “In what ways has teaching-to-the-test influenced education?” These materials will benefit researchers looking into education theory and the culture of standardized assessments.

Stop by to browse and borrow.

Database of the Month: JSTOR

image: JSTOR logoJSTOR history

The idea for JSTOR originated in a library that was running out of space at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, a small, prestigious liberal arts college. The Doane Library made a request for expansion of its building to house academic journals in print.  At that time in 1992, the higher education market for scholarly literature in hard copy format was active and increasing steadily.  Rising costs and infrastructure limitations applied pressure on academic libraries. Many feared this pressure would result in fewer libraries collecting less scholarly output, so the JSTOR Project was the answer, launched with help from a Mellon Foundation grant in 1992. JSTOR digitized multiple print and microfiche sources immediately and began offering paid electronic access to these files.  Its broad mission was, and still is, to help the academic community access scholarly resources online while capitalizing on advances in technology. It grew to become its own independent not-for-profit organization (1995), and today JSTOR is owned by Ithaka, a not-for-profit organization based in New York, NY.  JSTOR enjoys a strong reputation for delivering quality, scholarly content.

What sets JSTOR apart?

  • 2,000 academic journals with a large backfile, some of which dates from the 1850’s
  • 2 million primary sources
  • All scholarly

Libraries choose to subscribe to individual archive collections. Bentley’s subscription to JSTOR includes material from 78 different areas (“disciplines”) and the Bentley courses most likely to use JSTOR are:

  • business (marketing, management)
  • social sciences (writing, ethics, psychology)
  • natural and applied sciences

Searching JSTOR Efficiently

JSTOR is special because it contains a rich vocabulary drawn from the accumulation of many terms over many years, all of which potentially can point researchers to subtleties in the literature.  Researchers can use to their advantage keyword combinations joined by  AND, OR, and NOT operators.  The sample search below is built to get articles about Native Americans but not the country in southeast Asia which also uses the word “Indian”.

image: JSTOR advanced search boxes
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Researchers can set limits and seek only in specific content areas  (see below).

image: JSTOR journal filter
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JSTOR serves up its articles in PDF format. This is the landing page of an article with metadata and options:

image: JSTOR article landing page
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Technical Features

Like many databases, JSTOR offers…

  1. Organization tool, MyJSTOR in which researchers can set up journal alerts, save searches, and manage citations
  2. Mobile device access which is a recent development, boasting of responsive design enabling the JSTOR interface to adapt its output to the screen of a hand held device
  3. Friendly citations issued in a neutral style which can be exported to outside bibliographic citations tools such as RefWorks or EndNote
  4. Persistent and stable URL’s for suitable for email or posting in Blackboard
  5. Help tutorials and PDFs
image: JSTOR help
Click to view larger image.

Something to Keep in Mind

JSTOR carries publications with a time delay.  Much of this database’s collection content is subject to a “grace period” or embargo before users can access it.  From the JSTOR website they explain these are “moving walls,” usually between 3 and 5 years. Publishers may elect walls anywhere from zero to 10 years.

JSTOR will also carry current publications as well as inactive publications. Journals which have no new volumes being added to their archives have a “fixed wall.”

Did You Know?

JSTOR is philanthropic at its roots.  In 2006 JSTOR’s library was made freely available in Africa to all educational (and other non-profit organizations) who met their criterion. This benevolent program has expanded to 40 nations beyond Africa since 2008. See JSTOR’s Developing Nation Access Initiative for more information of how they waive or offer reduced participation fees to academic material.

Did You Know?

Pre-1923 content has recently become available for free to all users due to easing of copyright restrictions. At JSTOR, their Early Journal Content (EJC) initiative makes more than 200 journals published prior to 1923 freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

JSTOR is special because many of its rich resources are entire runs of academic journals. Although JSTOR houses not quite everything under the sun, sometimes result sets will give that impression. When searched thoughtfully, JSTOR can amply support the research needs of Bentley students in undergraduate, graduate, PhD, and online programs.


Chepesiuk, R. (2000). JSTOR and electronic archiving. American Libraries, 31(11), 46. Retrieved from

Database of the Month: Global Issues in Context

Gale Cengage has a great product with Global Issues in Context (GIC).  It is especially relevant to expository writing and classes discussing cultures, current events, and politics.

GIC serves up information on a broad variety of topics including:

  • Conflict diplomacy, society, and world politics (true to its namesake of ‘global’ there are 80+ issues)
  • Science and epidemics, such as ebola and vaccination
  • Technology, i.e., medical breakthroughs and space exploration triumphs
  • Human interest stories, such as literacy, ethics in cell genome research
  • Environmental topics, i.e., oil spills, Kyoto Protocol, fracking

They publish their material in two formats, both with inviting graphics and clickable links: the Portal page and the Results page. Presentation type depends on the timeliness, volume or persistence of the topic.

Global Issues In Context portal page
Note on this Portal page for ebola, the video option on the upper left and the “related portals” on the lower left. [Click to view larger]

Be wowed by Global Issues in Context and search it!

  1. Savor the depth of topic treatment and the varying degrees of scholarliness in the content. For example, go to Browse Topics > Conflict and Diplomacy  from the front page and activate “Iran: International Relations”.
  2. Slice it the Google way by entering keywords in the search box. Try  “Pollution” for an example of a good Results page with rich returns; don’t rush through it.
  3. Chase your topic by geography as an alternative. From the main page choose the path Browse Issues and Topics > Browse Regions > Asia. Choose “China” and then pick from an array of Portal pages.
  4. Sample the world map from the main horizontal menu. Focus on a country of interest and then activate the pin icon displayed visually in your target.

One last thing, the great navigation.  GIC’s main menu at the top persists on every page to make for predictable, easy wayfinding.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to a database available from the Library’s website, highlighting key features of the database that you should know about. If you would like more information about this database (or any of the library’s databases), please Ask a Librarian. If you would like a demonstration of this database for a class, please contact Adam Williams, Research Instruction Coordinator at