Skip to main content

University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries

Research Guides

Company Research : Library Databases and Internet Resources

This guide describes sources of information on public, private, and nonprofit companies.

Company Research

The library provides access to a wide variety of sources, but the amount of information available varies by type of company:

  • Publicly-traded companies are the easiest to research. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires them to provide detailed information on a quarterly and annual basis.
  • Subsidiaries of public companies can be difficult to research because the parent company is not required to report on each of them individually.
    • Use the database OneSource Global Business Browser listed below to search by company name or ticker symbol.
      • You can find the Corporate Family and Ultimate Parent at the top center of the Company Profile page, or click on Corporate Family in the left sidebar for a list of all subsidiaries, their locations, sales, and number of employees.
  • Private companies are not required to release any information about themselves and are therefore more challenging to research.
    • The databases Business Source Complete, LexisNexis Academic, OneSource Global Business Browser, and ReferenceUSA listed below contain private company information, but there is often a limited amount of information available and sales figures are often estimates.
    • Financial ratios and industry averages are useful for comparing a company with its industry for benchmarking purposes.
    • Trade journals, magazines, and newspapers are excellent sources for the latest business news and trends, and can sometimes be the only source for private company information.
  • Nonprofit information can be found in the databases Charity Navigator, and GuideStar listed below.

Best Bets

Additional Library Databases and Internet Resources