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Finding Company Information: A Research Guide: Home

This guide describes locating company information using resources provided through the University Libraries.

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Orientation Materials

Before You Begin

Establishing a few basic facts about the company first will simplify the research process.  Use Wards Business Directory of U.S. Private and Public Companies (Ref HG 4057 A2 W365x), LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations (Ref HG 4057 A219XA), America's Corporate Families: The Billion Dollar Directory (Ref HG 4057 A147) or web sites given below. For more ideas on how to research private companies or subsidiaries, see How to Find Information About Companies (HD 2771 H68).

Is the company public or private?

Publicly held companies in the United States are required by law to disclose a great deal of information, while privately held companies are generally not. It is usually more difficult to research a private company than a public company.  If you are researching a small private company, you may need to rely more heavily on local news and information sources.

Is the company a division, branch or subsidiary of another company?

Some of these entities may have different names than their parent companies. Usually, only the financial statements of the parent companies are made public.

What is the company’s ticker symbol?

Many of the electronic resources available through the University Libraries use the ticker symbol, the symbol which identifies a company’s stock on an exchange. To find a ticker symbol on the web, try:

Financial Times

What are the company’s SIC or NAICs codes?

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes provide a mechanism for classifying like businesses together. They can be used to identify a company’s competitors and to determine industry financial norms. Search the 1987 SIC manual:

Standard Industrial Classification Search (from OSHA)

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes are being phased in to replace SIC codes, but many standard reference works still use the SIC codes. You can look up NAICS codes and convert SIC codes to NAICS codes at:

North American Industry Classification System


Subject Guide


Guide originally created by Mary Van Ullen.