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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 D&B 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, D&B Business Browser, Nexis Uni, 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

Business Reference Group


Business Reference Group


Business Reference Group


2200 Granger Hall
975 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706
Business Library Homepage