BRASS Best of the Best Business Websites selected by business reference experts

For Immediate Release
Sun, 02/01/2015


Leighann Wood
Membership and Awards Specialist
Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)

CHICAGO —The 5th annual Best of the Best Business Websites list was announced at the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Book and Media Awards Ceremony at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter Meeting.

The list made its debut in 2009 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and 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 Best of the Best Business Websites are nominated and selected by the members of the BRASS Education Committee, based on the quality of content, ease of use and technical execution. BRASS, the Business Reference and Services Section of RUSA, promotes professional development for business librarians. The theme for 2015 winners, Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs, is aligned with the topic of the upcoming RUSA BRASS preconference at the ALA Annual Conference in June 2015.

The 2015 list includes:

Patent Lens

Patent Lens is a freely available online resource that provides tools to help individuals understand worldwide patent systems. Patent Lens is an initiative of Cambia, a non-profit institute that aims to promote change and innovation through transparency of patents and other intellectual property resources. The Patent Lens website offers an open access patent search tool for over 27 million granted patents and over 38 million patent applications. Search criteria include key words, dates, jurisdictions, inventors, owners, classifications and more. Patent Lens also provides patent tutorials, which use jargon-free language to explain how to read patents, apply for patents and the rights for those who file patent applications. Patent Lens includes links to patent laws for countries around the world, as well as links to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) database of international patent applications. Patent Lens is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs and businesses in the U.S. and worldwide. It is important to note that Cambia has announced that Patent Lens will soon be migrating to a new web address,

Intellectual Property Basics

Intellectual Property Basics is a freely available series of short videos, designed by Law Professor Bryce Pilz at the University of Michigan, that highlight key concepts all entrepreneurs and start-ups should know about intellectual property. The series is hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan and sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Each video is approximately three to five minutes long, focusing on issues including patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets and more. The videos are designed for an audience unfamiliar with the scope and legal issues related to intellectual property, making it appropriate for a wide range of business owners. Pilz uses interesting real life examples to highlight the importance of understanding patent rights and laws. These videos are an excellent resource for academic, business and public audiences.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office

The United States Patent and Trademark Office website provides a variety of freely available intellectual property resources to assist anyone interested in learning more about patents and trademark law in the United States. The USPTO offers tools to search for granted patents and registered trademarks, as well as pending applications. Additional resources include FAQs, full-text of legal documents and an Electronic Business Center, which provides personalized assistance for applicants with submissions and other related inquires and resources for parents, teachers and children to encourage innovation and creativity. This website is a one of the first stops to learn more about intellectual property in the United States.

The BRASS Best of the Best Business Websites selection committee consists of the members of the BRASS Education Committee including Natasha Arguello (University of Texas at San Antonio), Leticia Camacho (Brigham Young University), Kim Bloedel (University of Iowa), Ashley Faulkner (Texas A&M University), Penny Huffman (Penn State University), Hiromi Kubo (California State University, Fresno), Kelly LaVoice (Cornell University), Peter McKay (University of Florida), Tom Ottaviano (Cornell University), Lee Pike (University of Alabama), Susan Schreiner (Pittsburg State University), Christina Sheley (Indiana University), Eimmy Solis (New York University) and Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet (James Madison University). Nominations and voting were organized by Kelly LaVoice and Susan Schreiner.  

Visit the RUSA website to view previous recipients of the BRASS Best of the Best Business Websites Award and learn more about BRASS at

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, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about the association at