Company Information Sources

Subject Guide


Companies are organizations doing business as corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships. They can be categorized as public or private, or as parent or subsidiary/division. Those that sell securities to the public and meet certain size thresholds must file disclosure documents with regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); these companies are said to be publicly-held. Parent companies may own subsidiaries, which are separate legal organizations, and be divided into divisions. It is difficult to find detailed financial information on privately-held companies as well as on divisions and subsidiaries of public companies. Sources such as company directories indicate the ownership status of the firms they cover.

The sources on this guide are a sample of important print and online company resources. They include books at Rod Library, online sources to which Rod Library subscribes (marked with an *), and other web sources which at this time are free or partially free. Call numbers are listed under the titles of print sources available at the library. Underlined titles can be accessed via the web. If accessing a Rod Library subscription database from off campus, you will be prompted for your last name and social security number.

Other Library User Guides go into more detail on finding information on topics such as accounting, companies, economics, finance, financial ratios, industries, management, and marketing. Authors such as Debbie Flanagan and Genie Tyburski (The Virtual Chase) have written guides that give helpful tips and advice on company and related legal research.

Some of the databases on this guide also are available through the Rod Library Business Portal.

Finding Books top

Use the keyword index of UNISTAR,, the online catalog, to find books in the Rod Library collection that focus on individual companies. Some of these are academic studies while others are general or popular.

Reference books include information on hundreds of companies but are not indexed in UNISTAR under the names of the companies. These books include information on topics such as company history, ownership, organizational structure, and outlook. Two examples are Corporate Statements : The Official Missions, Goals, Principles and Philosophies of Over 900 Companies (UNI Reference HD30.285 .H37 1998) and International Directory of Company Histories (UNI Reference HD2721 .D36).

Company Directories top

When beginning research on a particular company, it is a good idea to verify its current name and status. Does it file with the SEC? Is it a subsidiary of another company? Is the company name actually a brand name? Who are its competitors? Directories such as the following can help with such questions.

Brands and Their Companies. Also in *Business & Company Resource Center
UNI Reference T223.V4 A25
Alphabetical listing of brands indicates the manufacturer or distributor of the brand.

Business & Company Resource Center*
Profiles indicate whether the company is public or private, or a parent or subsidiary. Profiles include other useful information such as ticker symbol, sales, number of employees, and firms' NAICS and SIC industry codes. The first code is the primary line of business.

Hoover's Online Some premium company content available through ABI/INFORM*. Also available via LexisNexis Academic.
Company capsules include topics such as competitors, lines of business, subsidiaries, sales, and number of employees. Some information is free, some is not; some of the latter is available through other sources, including some to which Rod Library subscribes. This link points to the public version of Hoover's. A portion of Hoover's premium company information is available for no charge through ABI/INFORM.

Company entries include information such as contact us details, sales estimate, number of employees, credit rating, lines of business, competitors, and nearby businesses. Search forms makes it possible to identify, for example, biotechnology labs in California that employ more than 500 people.

Public Company Annual Reports to Shareholders, 10k Reports, and Other Filings top

Publicly-held companies that meet certain size thresholds are required to file disclosure documents such as Form 10-K with the SEC. Form 10-K reports follow a format prescribed by the SEC and include a business overview, strategies, and competition (see Part I, Item 1 of 10-K); audited financial statements; discussion of products, markets, and distribution channels; names of subsidiaries; and information on management and ownership. Such companies also usually issue annual reports to shareholders which include audited financial statements, the President's Letter, and glossy photos and other graphical information on products and results. These and other reports are available in various paper, microfiche, and electronic formats as outlined below.

Information about publicly-held companies not required to file documents with the SEC may be available through other sources.

Corporation Annual Report File
Filing Cabinets in Reference Desk area, Rod Library
This is a print collection of the latest annual report to shareholders for the Fortune 100 and about 20 additional Iowa companies. Services such as PRARS will send free paper copies of annual reports for some companies.

EDGAR Database of Corporate Information
U.S. public companies meeting certain size thresholds must file disclosure documents such as 10-K and 10-Q reports on EDGAR, a database maintained by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. This is the official federal government site. A section of the EDGAR site states, "Companies were phased in to EDGAR filing over a three-year period, ending May 6, 1996. As of that date, all public domestic companies were required to make their filings on EDGAR." Several business information companies have obtained EDGAR data from the government and made it easier to search, browse, or manipulate, sometimes for free and sometimes for a fee; examples are *LexisNexis Academic, *Mergent Online, and SEC Info.

*Mergent Online
Provides financial and narrative description and analysis of about 10,000 publicly-held U.S. companies. In Advanced Search, can look up companies by NAICS or SIC code and create customized tables that show variables of interest for all companies or for a specific company in comparison with other companies in the industry. Archives annual reports to shareholders from the mid-1990s to the present.

SEC File Index
UNI Microfiche HG 4028 B2 C74
Microfiche set includes 10-K report and Annual Reports to Shareholders for about 10,000 companies for 1978-1999. Filed in cabinets on first floor microform area in Rod Library. Consult paper index on cabinets to determine microfiche number for specific company report.

Financial Data and Analysis top

Mergent Handbook of Common Stocks
UNI Reference HG 4905 M59 (most recent quarterly edition); older editions in UNI Stacks Provides summary of company's business, recent developments, outlook, and ten-year financials for about 950 companies. The title is slightly different for earlier years.

LexisNexis Academic*
The Business/Company Dossier section includes data from numerous sources such as Standard & Poor's, Disclosure, and Hoover's. Also includes investment analyst reports.

*Mergent Online
Provides financial and narrative description and analysis more than 10,000 publicly held U.S. and non-U.S. companies. In Advanced Search, can look up companies by SIC code and create customized tables that show variables of interest for a group of companies or for a specific company in comparison with other companies in the industry.

*Morningstar Investment Research Center
Analyzes stocks, funds, ETFs, and industries.

*Socrates (KLD)
Rates large companies on corporate social responsibility factors.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys via  NetAdvantage*
UNI HC 101 S73 Library has: Oct. 1990-2004 in print. Latest online. In addition to aggregate industry data, lists and compares leading firms in various industries. Provides detailed financial information on companies by industry for easy comparisons. Some sections provide company rankings and market shares. Includes company index at the front of the volume.

Standard & Poor's Stock Reports via  NetAdvantage*
UNI HG 4905 Library has: 1998-2004 in print. Latest online.
Provides one page analyses of 3,500 companies; includes betas and ratios such as return on invested capital.

Value Line Investment Survey*
HG 4501 V26 Microfilm (Oct. 1972-1979) and Microfiche (1980-2007) Latest online.
Provides descriptive and evaluative information for about 1800 firms. Entries include about 16 years of key financial data, five-year forecasts for the same financial indicators, textual description and evaluation of the company, and beta coefficients. Companies are grouped by industry for easy comparisons. Also includes several rankings of companies as to investment worthiness. There is a company name index at the front of the first volume.

Stock, Bond, and Mutual Fund Data top

Mergent Bond Record
UNI Reference HG 4905 M78
Contains data such as Moody's rating, current price, yield to maturity, and high and low for the year.

Bond Reports via  NetAdvantage*
Includes pricing and yield data, S&P rating, and more for about 7,500 corporate bonds.

Daily Stock Price Record. New York Stock Exchange
UNI Reference HG 4915 S664
Library has: 1987-2005
Library collection also includes daily prices for American and NASDAQ stock exchange companies from 1996 on. Online services such as Big Charts Historical Quotes offer quotes as far back as January 3, 1969.

Fund Reports via NetAdvantage*
Provides profiles, risk and reward information, and more for some 14,000 funds.

Morningstar Mutual Funds
UNI Ref Desk CBT HG 4530 M68
Contains data, analysis, and rankings for about 1,500 U.S. and international equity and fixed income mutual funds.

The Outlook via NetAdvantage*
UNI HG 4501 O88 1996-2004. Latest online.
Published by Standard & Poor's, this advisory service analyzes economic and industry conditions and makes recommendations on individual stocks.

Security Owner's Stock Guide (Standard & Poor's)
UNI Reference HG 4915 S67
Data include S&P rating, price and earnings history, company financial position, and dividend payments. Library has latest six months plus year-end price volumes back to 1984.

Yahoo! Finance
Enter company stock ticker symbol to get last trade, day's trading range, 52-week range, three to five year charts, broker buy/sell recommendations, and company news.

Finding Articles and Government Publications top

These links go directly to the source if you are accessing from on campus. If accessing from off campus, you will be prompted to enter your last name and UNI ID number. All of the online sources in this section are also listed under Databases A-Z and under Field of Study on the library home page.

Multiple company information databases can be searched simultaneously using Panther Prowler.

Also, many of the databases can be accessed via the Rod Library Business Portal.

The search forms for these databases - ABI/INFORM, Business & Company Resource Center, and Business Source Elite - include a box that can be checked to limit results to scholarly or academic or peer-reviewed journals. This method does not work perfectly, but it will produce results that are more likely to be from academic journals.

Indexes periodicals in all major business disciplines; provides full text or image online in many cases. Covers academic journals, trade journals, business magazines and newspapers, doctoral dissertations, and Hoover's premium company information. Limiting results to Company/Org field in Advanced Search gets articles that focus on specified company.

Business & Company Resource Center*
Indexes periodicals in all major business disciplines; provides full text or image online in many cases. Covers academic journals, business magazines, trade journals, and business newspapers. Also includes includes investment analyst reports and company and industry information from various other reference sources. Articles on specific companies are subdivided by topics such as management, operations, people, technology, and strategic ventures.

Business Source Elite*
Indexes periodicals in all major business disciplines; provides full text or image online in many cases. It also includes about 10,000 company profiles from Datamonitor; many of these include SWOT analyses.

LexisNexis Academic *
Business Company Dossier section includes numerous U.S. and international company information sources.

LexisNexis Congressional *
Indexes Congressional publications such as reports, bills, and the Congressional Record; provides laws such as statutes and regulations; and also provides the transcripts of testimony before Congress. The testimony search makes it possible to search for testimony by specific executives and by representatives of particular companies.

*Wall Street Journal via *ABI/INFORM
The ABI/INFORM database contains the full text of articles from the Wall Street Journal back to 1984. Today's issue is available early in the morning. After logging on, do a Publication Search to go to particular issues of the Journal. Alternatively, limit search results to Wall Street Journal in Publication Title field in Advanced Search.

Company Websites top

Company web sites often provide detailed information about their products and services, organizational structure, and strategies. Public company web sites typically have a section for investors that may include press releases, articles about the company, SEC filings and annual reports to shareholders, stock information, pointers to investment reports done by securities firms, quarterly conference call audio files, and the text of speeches by executives. This type of information is often in sections called something like "Investor Relations" or "About Us."

Company web site addresses (URLs) can sometimes be guessed by inserting the company name or an abbreviation for the company name into this structure: For example, Sprint's address is and United Parcel Service of America's address is

Sources mentioned earlier such as  Business & Company Resource Center* and  Hoover's Online usually include the URL. The following is a directory of company web sites, including the web sites not just for parents but also for subsidiaries and related products and initiatives.

Internet Archive Wayback Machine
What if you want to see the web site for a company that no longer exists? Or what if you are working on a case set some time in the past and want to see what the company's web site looked like then? The Internet Archive provides access to many company web sites back to 1996. Searching is by company URL.

Company Conference Calls top

Most publicly-held companies hold investor conference calls shortly after the end of each quarter. Company executives explain results and often discuss strategies, plans, and the outlook for the firm. They also answer questions from analysts participating in the conference calls. Registration is sometimes required.

Company Web Sites
Conference calls are often made available through the company's web site under headings such as "investor relations" and consist of an audio file or audio plus visual information such as a PowerPoint show.

This is a directory of scheduled conference calls for thousands of companies. It also covers related topics such as how to analyze the comments and answers provided by senior company management.


October 1, 2010