Berkeley Labor Guides
CORPORATE SEARCH: AN ONLINE GUIDE
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Business Magazines Online
Globalization and Business
A Select Guide to Other Corporate Research Tools
Author: Terence K. Huwe
In recent years, ever-increasing amounts of business information have made the World Wide Web a serious contender with print libraries for corporate research. Many business libraries publish full-service Web guides for corporate research, with links to licensed content that can be searched by on-site patrons or authorized Web visitors. This guide provides our "top picks" of starting points, assuming the researcher wishes to conduct most or all of the research online.
Because business touches all aspects of our lives and the research tools can be quite specialized (e.g., for investors, for consumers, for attorneys, etc) it is often helpful to approach corporate research from a variety of perspectives. While the problem at hand will dictate the best approach, we can recommend three very useful strategies points:
- Profiling Firms by Financial Performance. There is a great deal of Information on publicly
traded companies, which must report on their
activities. Not surprisingly, there is far less
information on privately held firms. However,
the Web now offers quite thorough coverage,
and the challenge of finding information on
private firms is receiving wider attention from
non-profit information providers. This guide
offers the best selection of starting points
to profile a firm by financial performance.
- The Firm as Corporate Citizen. Many
labor researchers explore corporate roles in
society, in local communities, and national
policy formation. This is a more complex research
issue, but several services offer top-notch
guidance. It should be noted that to capture
a thorough perspective on corporate citizenship,
the researcher must consider the media, financial
records, and government records on such diverse
issues as occupational safety and health, environmental
issues, and political activity.
- Legal Information on Corporations. Much can be learned about a firm by researching the legal actions it is party to. Litigation on employment, environmental and other issues frequently play a key role in corporate research. In historical matters, legal records are often the most reliable sources of information about business. This guide does not seek to offer a complete map of legal information; we recommend that researchers consult law library resources in supplement to this guide.
Relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings
Business and Politics
International in scope, this service has been vastly improved recently, and now has extensive searchable database of company profiles, reports, industry profiles, etc. It is divided into U.S. public companies, US private companies, state business links, and industrial sector links.
The Corporate Library
The Corporate Library is a central repository for research and study about the global corporation. It focuses on corporate governance and the relationship between management, boards and shareholders. Much of the content on the site is freely available. Subscribers have access to
Hoovers is a fee-based service that covers over 2,500 companies. It provides both company and industry profiles for a monthly subscription. It also provides a brief description of the company's activities, its address, phone numbers, Web sites, annual, CEO, number of employees, and ticker symbol. Subscribers may obtain a profile with a history of the company and its subsidiaries, major competitors, brand names, and historical data on sales.
Search-sec.com is a straightforward retrival service for searching SEC filings. The site also offers a Reports Menu and e-mail alerts.
Standard & Poor's
Standard and Poor's is a major publisher of business information. Its Web site offers a wide variety of free content about industries and companies, and also provides information of fee-based services and products.
Thomas Register Online
ThomasRegister.com is a leading resource for information on industrial products and services. Its Web site offers information about more than 170,000 manufacturers with extensive company and product information, downloadable CAD drawings, online catalogs and links to company Web sites. It also allows searches by product, company or brand name.
US Securities Exchange Commission (EDGAR)
The EDGAR database is the primary source for all government filings for public companies. Filings are available within 24 hours on this site. There are many EDGAR spinoffs, the best of which are listed below.
EdgarScan presents financial data from SEC filings in a fashion that allows comparisons between firms. It links directly to specific sections of the filing and utilizes a "Benchmarking Assistant" to produce interactive benchmarking. Tables can be downloaded as MS Excel charts and registered users can store company portfolios for future benchmarking.
This site offers summary financial data (income statements and balance sheets), and SEC filings for public companies. It also provides reference information on the SEC and the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
InvestQuest provides financial information on over 10,000 public companies. The site also maintains a limited number of corporate annual reports and prospectuses. These are separately indexed.
Stock Smart provides detailed stock information, linking the performance of the company relative to its industry. It provides the basic contact information (address, phone, fax), chief officers, a short company profile and current news. This site provides the top 50 institutional shareholders in the firm, as well as the top mutual fund holders.
This site contains press releases, statistics, stock quotes, and other market information for companies traded on the NASDAQ exchange. Researchers doing research on high technology firms should search NASDAQ data in conjunction with other sources stock performance data to develop a comprehensive company profile.
This site allows searches by ticker symbol or company name. It enables the viewer to link directly to company information on the company requested without reentering the search. It also provides links to business humor like the online edition of the Dilbert comic strip.
Online Annual Reports Service
The Public Register's Annual Report Service offers links to online annual reports provides an order from for free company annual reports via the US mail. It also maintains brief financial profiles and press releases on a limited number of companies and links to other sources of company news and financial information.
The American Banking Association
The ABA's Web site has extensive free offerings, including many industry studies that are directed at both consumer and lenders.
US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Home Page
The FDIC has made online summary financial reports on its members via its Web site. The reports Include detailed balance sheet information and loan portfolio/asset quality data.
National Information Center
The National Information Center (NIC) is a central repository of data about banks and other institutions for which the Federal Reserve has a supervisory, regulatory, or research interest, including both domestic and foreign banking organizations operating in the United States. This web site provides access to NIC data, allowing the public to search for detailed information about banking organizations.
News-oriented "enterprise information portals" and alert services enable researchers to set their own research parameters and follow company news on the Web. Many include advantageous pricing for reading the full text of articles.
AJR News Link (American Journalism Review)
This site offers "full" and "partial" service that is primarily tailored to the researcher on the run.
News Central is an exhaustive listing of online newspapers, and covers the local and regional papers quite thoroughly.
Business Magazines Online
This site includes archives of news articles going back to September 1995 as well as the Fortune 500 companies, and Fortune's 1996 survey of the corporations with the best reputations.
The Forbes Web site is very popular with business librarians. It offers the Forbes 500 Annual Directory, the 200 Best Small Companies, and, especially, the 500 Largest Private Companies. Information on these companies is abbreviated, but includes revenues, profits, number of employees, address, phone, and name and educational background of CEO.
This site includes the Inc. 500 (http://www.inc.com/500/home.html, a database of America's 500 fastest growing firms. The site also offers email alerts and discussion lists.
This site provides the latest financial news and data. Bloomberg provides a full array of information services for investors, but this site's best values are available to Bloomberg Personal Magazine subscribers.
This site contains articles from the Financial Times newspaper, including a 30-day archive. It most useful for locating information on firms traded on the London stock exchange.
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA's Envirofacts Warehouse
The Environmental Protection Agency's Envirofacts Warehouse allows the user to search five main databases: Superfund Data, Hazardous Waste Data, Toxic Release Inventory, Water Discharge Permits, and AIRS Facility Subsystem. It includes a Facility Index also includes the criminal and enforcement dockets. Users can search by facility name, geographical location, or industry SIC code.
R T K Net (The Right to Know Network)
R T K Net provides online access to many environmental databases, as well as to the Center for Responsive Politics Campaign Contribution Database.
Court decisions (FindLaw.com)
FindLaw.com is a comprehensive index source for legal information on the Internet. While the site offers links to all known issuers of court decisions, many are maintained third parties (e.g., law schools) and vary greatly.
SEC Enforcement Division Actions
This site includes the SEC's administrative proceedings, investor alerts, and releases describing civil and selected criminal proceedings filed in federal court.
National Labor Relations Board rulings
The National Labor Relations Board is increasing access to its records online. This site also gives instructions on how to obtain historical rulings.
OSHA Statistics and Data
This page on the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration Web site allows searching of OSHA inspection data and citations by establishment.
Federal Election Commission
The FEC is the best source of information on "political action committees", or PACs.
Center for Immigration Studies
This site hosts a database of US Immigration and Naturalization Service employer sanctions, enabling the researcher to cross-reference whether a firm has a history of violations.
Published by the AFL-CIO, this site offers the salary and compensation figures for the chief executive officers of the Standard & Poor's 500 corporations.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau has integrated the business reports from most of its regional branches into one searchable Internet database. It provides a list of affiliates that maintain separate databases.
Best Companies for Working Mothers
Working Mother magazine publishes an annual list of the 100 most woman-friendly companies based on a variety of criteria such as salary rates and provision of day care.
Domestic Partner Benefits
This site is managed by the Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples. It offers links to lists of firms that employee benefits to unmarried domestic partners.
The Labor Project for Working Families
The Labor Project for Working Families publishes newsletters and maintains a database of best practices for work and family issues.
Globalization and Business
Public Information Network
Public Services International Research Unit
Green Money Journal
This website hosts a database of tax exempt organizations. GuideStar derives its information from the IRS 990 form and from information submitted directly to GuideStar by non-profits.
National Center for Charitable Statistics
This site is the national repository of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States. Its mission is to develop and disseminate high quality data on nonprofit organizations and their activities for use in research on the relationships between the nonprofit sector, government, the commercial sector, and the broader civil society.
A Select Guide to Other Corporate Research Tools
Berkeley Business Guides
Published by the Thomas J. Long Library at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, this series is succinct, practical and easy to use.
The Internet Public Library
IPL provides a common-sense reference guide to business research that is well laid out for subject and topic driven research.
New York Public Library: Searching for Company Information http://www.nypl.org/research/sibl/company/c2index.htm
NYPL's topnotch business library publishes a question-driven research guide which will help researchers formulate their search strategies. Be sure to review the other business-oriented listings at this site; they're all very good.