Business reference experts select annual list of Best of the Best Business Reference Websites

BOSTON—The annual Best of the Best Business Reference Websites list is hereby announced.

The list made its first debut in 2009 in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), RUSA’s research journal, and recognizes three websites highly relevant to information professionals involved in providing business reference services.

The 2016 list includes:

American Factfinder:

American Factfinder is the primary search interface for data gathered by the United States Census Bureau and serves as a valuable resource for researchers, business owners, and government policy makers.  American Factfinder allows access to current and historical data collected from the US Census Bureaus’ many surveys and censuses.  Data can be visualized through maps and tables and covers a wide spectrum of topics related to the population and the economy of the United States.  Highlights include: the American Community Survey, the Economic Census, and the Annual Survey of Manufactures. Geographic granularity varies by dataset, ranging from the national level to census block group.
Author/Publisher: United States Census Bureau
Free/Fee Based: Free
Date Reviewed: December 9, 2015 is the open access, aggregated data repository and portal to U.S. federal government agency data sources. The purpose of is “to increase public access to high value, machine-readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government and to expand creative use of those data beyond the walls of government by encouraging innovative ideas (e.g., web applications).” Championed by the Obama Administration and developed as an inter-agency initiative to promote federal data as a national asset, began in 2009 with 47 datasets representing twenty-six government agencies, and it has blossomed to include nearly 400,000 datasets, plus a growing array of data tools and applications, from 172 agencies and sub-agencies.
Author/Publisher:  U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies

Free/Fee Based:  Free
Date Reviewed: December 11, 2015


EDGAR is the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieving system provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  This system performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the SEC.  EDGAR increases the efficiency and fairness of the securities market by streamlining access to time-sensitive corporate information.  Users have free access to over 20 million filings through a recently updated interface and helpful search tools.
Author/Publisher: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Free/Fee Based: Free
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2015


The Best of the Best Business Reference Websites are nominated and selected by the members of the Business Reference And Services Section (BRASS) Education Committee.  The Committee Team that led the process this year consisted of Ashley E. Faulkner, Texas A&M University, Chair; Bridget Farrell, Auburn University; Monica J. Hagan, UCLA; and Cara Cadena, Grand Valley State University.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources and services they need. Learn more about the association at, and learn more about the Business Reference and Services Section at

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