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Business Research Guide

Company Reseach Resources

Business Biographies in Reference for Business (Website) - A great source of background information on the CEOs and other leaders of major companies.

Business Source Ultimate (Database) -  As an upgrade of the Business Source Complete database, Business Source Ultimate offers more comprehensive full-text access to journals published in business disciplines, including management, marketing, finance, accounting, and economics. The "Company Profiles" section covers detailed reports of the world's 10,000 largest companies with over 3,100 SWOT analyses.

EDGAR Company Filings (Website) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR is the repository for all corporate filings submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Filings in EDGAR contain basic information about a public company, financial data, executives, risk factors, trends, and more.

International Directory of Company Histories (Book) - This directory is a must if you are looking for a thorough overview of a company. 

Mergent Intellect (Database) - Information about more than 310 million businesses globally (including 70 million in the U.S.), 90 million executives, 900 industry segments, and over 250 North American residents. Unlike many other business databases that primarily focus on public companies, Mergent Intellect focuses more on private companies. 

Mergent Online (Database) - Covers company history, subsidiaries, financial data, and annual reports on U.S. public companies and international companies.  Also provides access to SEC filings (EDGAR).

Thomas Register (Website) - Want to know who makes latex gloves?  Check Thomas. AKA "the Green Book," a great source for information on industrial distributors and manufacturers and related services. 

PrivCo (Database) - PrivCo offers detailed data on US-based, non-publicly traded corporations, including family-owned, private equity-owned, and venture-backed companies. Its advanced search capacity allows users to conduct in-depth company, investor, M&A, venture capital funding, and private equity research.

Data Axle Reference Solutions (Database) - A great resource for locating information about middle/small-sized companies and local businesses.

Ward's Business Directory of US Private and Public Companies (Book) - provides extensive ranked lists of companies in most industries and states.

Ward's Business Directory of Private and Public Companies in Canada and Mexico (Book)

Westlaw (Database) - Westlaw offers company information from Hoover's Company Records, including company profiles for thousands of private and public U.S. corporations and SEC Filings.  It also provides access to selected business and trade publications, such as Advertising Age and Inside Business.

Company websites - Although the information found on a company's website is often overlooked, it can be helpful and valuable for your research.  For example, sections such as "For Investors" and "About Us" indicate that the company is public and point you toward ownership-related information.


Value Line Investment Survey (Database) - Comprehensive source of information and advice on approximately 1,700 stocks in 97 industries, the stock market, and the economy. Includes Value Line's publications covering stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities as well as special situation stocks.

Mergent Online (Database) - Full text information on over 10,000 U.S. public companies and over 15,000 non-U.S. companies. Includes company history, officers, subsidiaries, financial data, and annual reports. Access to SEC filings (EDGAR) back to 1993. Also includes Company Archives, with information on over 4,000 public companies that were acquired, went bankrupt or merged out of existence from 1995 onward.

Westlaw (Database) - Featuring profiles of more than 40,000 companies from Hoover's Company Records, including company overview, company history, officers and board members, competitors, products and operations, auditors, rankings, related industry information, and historical financials.

Tips for Company Research

Not all company information is openly available - Companies do not want their competitors to know how they do what they do, how much of it they did last year or ten yeas ago, or whether they do it well or not.

Is the company public or private?  Subsidiary or parent?  International or domestic? - Knowing whether the company you are dealing with is publicly traded or privately held, a subsidiary or a large parent company, or based in the United States or another country will help you get a sense for where to turn for information and what you might expect to find.  It is generally harder to find information on private subsidiaries than public parent companies.

What kind of company information? - A generic company profile, company screening, or a particular part of the company's operations.

Do an article searching for pieces of information and clues - Especially when you are dealing with a private company or subsidiary, seek out local news articles on the company and CEOs.

Fresno County Libraries

Fresno County Libraries offer useful resources for company and other business-related research, such as:

NOTE: Must use your Fresno County Library ID to access the online resources.

Company Rankings

Business Rankings Annual (Book) - Well-indexed resource listing rankings of companies, products, and industries.

Ward's Business Directory of US Private and Public Companies (Book) - There is a section that ranks companies by sales within SIC code groupings.


Chat with a librarian or call the Information Desk at (559) 278-2174 anytime the library is open (Library Hours.)