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* Business Resources Guide: Home

Structured entry point to all the business databases available at the University of Rochester.

Welcome!

We’ve done our best to select the most pertinent materials for these Course Resources pages, but if these are not helping with your topic/project, we encourage you to use the Schedule an Appointment link in the Profile box on this page.

 

Business Librarian

Robert Berkman's picture
Robert Berkman

My Office Hours at Simon are: Tues/Thurs 11:30am-1:30pm in Career Center, Schlegel 3rd Floor

   
                             
        Chat is unavailable right now, feel free to email me.      
   
Contact:
Outreach, Learning and Research Services; Rush Rhees Library, 500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd. Rochester NY 14627

Resources by TYPE OF INFORMATION Provided

The tabs in this box provide lists of databases by the type of information they provide: so if you want to look up a company or create a list of companies in a particular line of business, try the databases on the Companies tab; if you need to know more about an Industry or you need market research, try the resources on that tab, etc.

The tabs are arranged (roughly! ;) by frequency of use: Company and Industry/Market Research information are usually what people are looking for most frequently; when more information is needed in either of those areas your next step should be to look for news or articles... etc. Make sense? If you have suggestions, please let me know!

Also, if you would like to see, at a glance, what each of the dozens of databases available here offer and how they compare, please click here to open a document that provides in matrix form, the titles of each database,grouped by key category,and what you can find in each and my "best bet" selections on which database to choose for what type of business research.

WRT 27x Classes: Professional Identity Company Research: Best Databases

 

Reference USA

Comprehensive company/residential directory; build lists using 30 variables or Map Based Search. Includes consumer demographics and historical business data.
 
OneSource
20M+ companies, US/int’l; financials, SWOT analysis, analyst reports, news articles. Use the "Build a List" function to select by region, line of business, size, more.

 

MarketLine Advantage

On the MarketLine homepage, scroll down to the list of "Databases" to find the Company Prospector screening tool. Also provides 15-25 page company profiles, US and global, many with a SWOT analysis.
 
 
PrivCo
Private company database; use the Advanced Search to build a list based on, again, location, line of business, size, but also sales and employee growth predictions. Each user must create a login using a UR email address.
 
 

Best databases for creating Target Lists (as well as regular company research):

NEW!

Image result for mergent online premium    Mergent Online

provides detailed information on over 50,000 publicly traded companies worldwide and 30 million privately  held companies. Special sections include the Investext collection of 18 million current and historical broker research reports on companies, industries, products and markets; and Mergent Horizon which offers supply chain data along with customer, competitor and product information.

Capital IQ - from S&P; data on public and private companies, M&A/financing transactions, public offerings, corporate executives, and more. Includes tools for fundamental financial statement analysis at the company and industry level.  AVAILABLE ONLY AT DESIGNATED WORKSTATIONS!  There are Capital IQ workstations in the Simon School Career Research Center (4th floor Schlegel),  in the Simon School IT Lab, and in the Simon PhD lab.

 


Additional databases to try for profiles of specific companies:

American and Foreign Companies with Global Operations (Uniworld)

Search for foreign firms operating in the U.S and American firms operating in foreign countries.Contains American companies that have substantial overseas operations and non-U.S. firms that have substantial U.S. operations. Search by country, industry codes or industry size.

Public Records Sites and Sources (for court records, business filings, etc.)

PACER

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) allows you to obtain case and docket information online from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.  It hosts millions of case file documents and docket information for all district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts. These are available immediately after they have been electronically filed.  

ORBIS 

Orbis includes (209 million) global companies’ financial accounts, credit scores from a number of independent providers, directorships, ownership structures, PEPs and sanctions information and details of mergers and acquisitions activity. Over 99% of the companies on Orbis are private. Private company information is more difficult to obtain as the legal obligation to file account varies widely from country to country

E-Secretary of State.com 

Often when you cannot find data on smaller companies from major sites and databases, you can glean some information by searching and reviewing the filings that all companies must file in the state they operate in. Within states, the office that requires and maintains these filings is called the "Secretary of State," and this site provides a listing and links to each of their Web sites as well as a direct link to the "entity search" page where you can search for the target companies.

 ALSO--See the LexisNexis entry under  the "Business News and Articles" tab. Although LexisNexis is best known for its coverage of articles published in newspapers around the world,, it also has a link where you can learn about companies as well. (Click "Get Company Info" in the lower right of the home page) Sometimes LexisNexis will also include names and phone or email contacts for top executives at a covered company, which is a valuable type of data that is hard to find.

Company Rankings: "Top" and "Best of" Lists

There are a variety of free on the Web publications and sites that annually publish ranked lists of companies in a variety of areas, globally, nationally, and locally. These are particularly valuable for job seekers, but can be useful for other business research projects as well. Here are my favorites, with links to their 2017-2018 rankings:

One Caution: Always try to review the specific criteria and methodology used for creating  these rankings. The subjective ones in particular can be, well quite subjective--depending on what is chosen to be measured and quantified, and how calculations are performed.

Best Companies to Work For in US/Globally: Rankings

Largest/ Best Places in Rochester to Work:

Sustainable/Socially and Environmentally Friendly Companies

These rankings are valuable, but it's good to be a little skeptical here as some companies engage in what is called "Greenwashing" to make their organization appear more environmentally and socially friendly than perhaps they really are. Always read the ranking criteria and methodologies where available.

 


Company Directories of particular interest to Entrepreneurs: 

(See also  PrivCo, listed above)

Best Databases for Industry Research

The first group here cover a wide spectrum of industries, and are keyword searchable:

Profound

Pinpoint sought after very niche company, industry and market data (eg market size, value etc.) included in thousands of market research reports published by hundreds of leading market research providers. SPECIAL NOTE: This database requires a special login and password. To freely conduct searches of Profound to discover if what you need is in a report, use this sign in information:

Username: edegroff@library.rochester.edu

Password: Meliora1!

But you must obtain prior authorization to actually download/view the data for this particular database. Contact Business Librarian Robert Berkman at rberkman@library.rochester.edu to request authorization.  You will need to identify specific tables, sections or pages, as opposed to entire reports--contact me to discuss this further

 

Next: multi-industry resources, but you must pick-from-a-set-list (not keyword searchable).

The following databases are more focussed on specific industries:

Best databases for Market - consumer - research:

A related resource - information on Advertising Spending:
 


If you can't find a nice pre-packaged report... then it's off to the article databases for you! Seriously, the article databases are your best bet for picking up anything that's been mentioned in trade publications, news, etc. about [your topic]. Go back to the resources listed under the first tab, "Business News & Articles."

Databases that provide News - newspaper articles, press releases, and similar:


Databases that provide Articles - arranged by the amount of popular vs. scholarly content they offer.

(i.e. ABI/Inform offers the greatest mix of contents: news wires, popular magazines, trade journals, reports, and some scholarly journals. ScienceDirect and the  Web of Science contain only articles from scholarly, highly-researched, peer-reviewed journals. Strangely enough, they still fall in alphabetical order. )

 

LOOKING FOR ACCESS TO THE DAILY DIGITAL VERSION OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL?

As of December 1 2017, we have added easy full campus access to the entire daily updated digital version of the Wall Street Journal! All you need to do is set up your own personal account, which you can do by first linking to this site:

https://partner.wsj.com/partner/universityofrochester 

Fill in the simple form, and then pick a password. You will be sent a confirmation email and then you will be in! For future access, going forward then, you can link directly to

http://wsj.com

And then just enter your user ID (your email); and then the password you created.

 

For Local Business News--Sometimes the best stuff, especially on private companies that play a major role in a particular community can be found by reviewing what's been published in local business journals. You can find some of the best Rochester focused business news by searching the Rochester Business Journal; you can also search dozens of other cities' local business journals simultaneously too by searching the collection of American City Business Journals.


Databases that provide Working Papers, Case Studies  (and other different kinds of documents):

For Case Studies, check out The Case Center which provides scores of free business case studies from leading business schools ranging from Stanford, to MIT to Copenhagen and more. Browse its free studies here.

Google Patents Patents and patent applications from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Has a thumbnail viewer for drawings.

FreePatentsOnline Full text and images of U.S. patents from 1974+, U.S. patent applications from 2001+, and European patents 2000+.

USPTO Patent Database Full text and images of U.S. patents.

Espacenet Identifies patents from many countries, some with page images.

Japan Platform for Patent Information

English machine translations of Japanese patents. Search using links under "Patent & Utility Model".

NEW: Innovation Q Plus! Innovation Q Plus is a patent search tool that rapidly sifts through data and uses advanced technologies to quickly and efficiently pinpoint relevant patents, applications, and non-patent literature from IEEE. There are visualizations, advanced features, and the ability to locate "similar" patents to the target one. IMPORTANT NOTE: When you bring up the initial screen, be sure to change the blue pull down box from “non-patent literature” to the “patents & applications” option, listed below it if it is not already selected.
(Users are also encouraged to sign up for individual accounts to access certain advanced functionality.)

"Hot Topics" data/stats:

US Demographic and business stats:
 

For historical census data (pre 1990), click here https://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/hiscendata.html

Gallup Analytics

This database contains primary economic, well-being, and political data at the country, state and U.S. city levels. It allows users to view data by demographic categories, compare results across geographies to develop and report findings.

DataUSA

Great open Web source of all sorts of economic, demographic, housing, education data on cities and regions around the country. See, for example the set of data available for Rochester here

International Data and Statistics, including Import/Export data

Statistical Advice When Doing Surveys

Sometimes when you are researching an extremely specific, narrow and customized question (e.g. what percentage of New York State college seniors prefer Uber over a cab?  etc.), you won't find anything "out there" at all in a database or on the Web that answers your question. In that case, you may need to do your own survey to collect your own data and draw your own conclusions. The most popular and well known survey site is SurveyMonkey, which permits a certain level of free access too.

While the library is not typically the key source for learning how to do statistically reliable surveys, we can at least point you to a couple of resources that we think will help you create a better survey.  Here, below is one very useful source that informs you how many people you need to survey, and what kind of response rate you need to be able to extrapolate your survey results to your total target population with a high degree (95%+) of confidence.

CheckMarket

https://www.checkmarket.com/sample-size-calculator/

Extrapolating "Missing" Data

In the same vein as the above, what can you do if you have bits and pieces of information you are looking for, but can't find the final target data you seek? Again, while not a library function per se, we'd like to refer you to these below sites from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada that help you figure out how to extrapolate data you need (in these cases, market share and geographic sales data), when you only have partial or surrounding information:

http://library.mcmaster.ca/sites/default/files/market_share_CBD.pd

http://library.mcmaster.ca/sites/default/files/company_sales_geography_guide.pdf

Guide: 5 Keys to Estimating Market Size for Strategic Decision Making

Check out this short, but succinct and valuable guidebook that explains clearly step by step how to estimate market size. It is published by the market research firm Freedonia group: https://tinyurl.com/ybqfvygv

 

 

Once you have:

Then you're ready to write a business plan. Here are some sources for Sample Business Plans:

You'll need to create a budget and financial projections for your plan, so it might help to look at the financials for other, similar companies (that might represent "what you want to be when you grow up"), find out what the typical ratios are for your line of business, and then explore which Angel Investors or Venture Capital firms might be appropriate to approach with your plan:

 

Financial Ratios

Who is funding the current start-ups and private companies?
 

Subscription database resources: (Use these to find high quality *analysis* rather than just stock quotes; in order by number/quality of reports)

Annual Reports and other SEC Filings

Free web resources:  (charts, quotes - material companies are willing to give away for free)

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Tips and Tricks

 

Yes, librarians DO recommend Google! But the caveat is to know WHEN to use Google; When NOT to use Google; and HOW to input the search statement that is going to increase the chances that you will receive the best and most relevant results. That's being what we librarians call "information literate"--knowing when to use which research tool or source, and how to use it to its fullest power.

So here are a couple of our best tips on Using Google:

  • When Should You Try Google? It never hurts to always give Google a go. But in general, I'd say to use Google when you want to find something of current interest in the news; for popular topics; or if you are looking for something that may have been written about recently in a magazine, journal or newspaper since most publications permit at least some of their items to be highlighted if not fully available from a Google search.
  • What Words Should You Enter into Google? Try to think of the most distinctive and unusual nouns and noun phrases that describe your topic. Avoid common words. So for example, say you were trying to learn about what is the future forecast for what the interest rates are likely to be for consumer mortgages? Your best words and phrases to enter would be the following:
    • forecast "interest rates" "consumer mortgages" Note that phrases are best to enclose in quotation marks to help ensure that Google only returns pages where those words appear together as a single phrase.
  • What Are Some Important "Search Protocols"? By search protocols, I mean what are the specific ways that Google wants you to enter your search. We've already talked about using quotation marks for phrases, but here are a few other important instructions:
    • For those of you familiar with Boolean "AND, OR, NOT" searching, keep in mind that when you enter multiple words or phrases into Google, the search engine, by default, "assumes" you mean AND between your terms. So if you input, for instance:                

                                            Acquisitions Amazon "Washington Post" layoffs

Google will interpret this search that you want to find pages that contain the terms:

Amazon (AND) "Washington Post" (AND) layoffs

  • When you are searching for EITHER one thing or another (for example, "balance sheet" or "balance statement", you can "tell" Google that either is OK by using a capitalized OR between the terms: e.g. "balance sheet" OR "balance statement" (note the use of quotation marks again to indicate to Google to search these words as a single phrase.). Its fine to add words after the OR connector too in the normal way, for instance:

"balance sheet" OR "balance statement" companies germany

CAVEAT--As noted below, Google is moving away from looking at one's keywords to determine relevant pages and more to machine learning data driven analyses of analysis of past searching signals to identify pages most likely to be relevant. In the same vein, Google has been optimizing its algorithm to be particularly good at natural language QUESTIONS!--So in the above search, you may get even better luck by posing your search as a question, something like this perhaps:

Where Can I Find "balance sheets" OR "balance statements" for companies in Germany?

It can't hurt to try both--but more and more, it is questions that are working best on Google, in my opinion.

  • How Can you Better Focus or "Limit" Your Search? There are several "advanced" Google features that let you do valuable special focus searches (link to: advanced.google.com to see a list and form to do so), but my favorite ones for good research are:

1. You can restrict all of your results to ONLY PDFs and/or PowerPoints. This can be valuable since official and substantive "reports" from the government, associations, research centers etc. are often in PDF; and presentations made at industry conferences, workshops etc are often in PowerPoint. If you limit your results to one or both of these documents, you increase the odds that you will obtain substantive and meaningful results. You can do this on the advanced google page.

2. You can restrict all of your results to come from only educational (.edu) domains and/or government (.gov) sites. Doing so also increases the odds that you will obtain non-commercial, substantive, and educational materials. This can also be done on the advanced google page

3. You can also choose that Google only retrieve results within a certain time frame--the last day, week, month, year, or even create a "custom timeframe", say between April 2009 and July 2011, or whatever. The former can be a good strategy when you want only very timely information; the latter when you need archival results to identify what happened during a very specified time frame you are researching. Here's how to do it:

*First run your search as usual

* Then, when you get a list of results back, click on the little "tools" link on the top right of the page, under the search magnifying glass.; Open it and then click on the "anytime" down arrow, and change it to your desired time frame. Your results will be filtered to match what you choose, as will any future searches until you go back to the default "anytime" option.

A few other important Google Search Tips:

ONE: There is both an art and a science to doing a Google search. You need to experiment by adding/subtracting words and phrases and see the different results you get

TWO: If you are researching a new topic, you may be unfamiliar with any special lingo or terminology used in that field, which will be likely important to include to match up and retrieve the most relevant pages. Do some initial broad searches and browse results to see if you can find the same words or phrases being used over again to describe what you are looking for; if it seems like it is the standard and accepted way to describe what you are looking for, then redo the search, adding that term/phrase.

THREE: If you are researching something that is VERY timely--say happened today, this past week or month, and may be something that was reported in a newspaper or magazine, you will likely have better luck not by searching the "standard" Google, but on clicking the "Google News" option to only search recent news.

FOUR: Google has traditionally ranked results based on how often and how prominent your keywords and phrases appeared in a page; along with how many other relevant sites linked to it. This has worked very well for surfacing the pages that are likely going to be most useful to you.

However, Google has been moving more to a "machine intelligence" method for surfacing the most likely relevant pages, which means it is de-emphasizing the keywords and links, and instead examining the search behavior of others in the past who had a search "similar" to yours (and who may even “be like” you), and examining past searcher behavior "signals" like what was clicked on; how long the searcher stayed on that page; where else they clicked  next etc. to do a more "AI" type analysis that determines which pages were most likely of value to previous searchers like you--and then Google applies a new ranking matrix to show you THOSE pages it "believes" are going to be most likely of value.

Those pages, in some cases, may not even contain your key words, but have still been "proven" to most likely be relevant and valuable for your search from past other searchers’ actions. The bottom line too is that this method of using machine learning and data signals--which is currently becoming much more widely used in all sorts of predictive applications--DOES in fact normally work extremely well. But don't be surprised though if Google takes the lead in figuring out what it "thinks you REALLY want"....!

 

Here are a few tips to for researching:

  • Google often isn't helpful. The best business information is not free.  However, the library does subscribe to numerous resources.
  • When using these databases, adjust your search terms if you're not getting the results you hoped for--try synonyms and scour article titles, abstracts, and subject headings in your search results for likely search terms to use.  Sometimes a thesaurus or encyclopedia come in handy when brainstorming search terms.
  • Use double quotes to search multiple words as a phrase (e.g. "new age" finds these terms in exact order).
  • Use an asterisk to substitute for letters at the end of a word (e.g. crit* finds critic, criticism, critique etc.).
  • If you can't find what you're looking for, schedule an appointment!

"Navigation" videos:


Tip sheets for various databases:

  1. Cite your sources!
  2. Special notes regarding use of resources during summer internships

If you use any data or text from any of the databases in a report or project - Cite The Source, that is, indicate where the information came from. In the text of your report, or if you use an image or graph from a report, something as simple as:

IBISWorld Industry Report OD4302

is fine. In your list of "Sources" at the end of the paper/PPT/whatever, the full citation might look like this:

Petrillo, Nick. "Craft Beer Production in the US." IBISWorld Industry Report OD4302, September 2014.

Why is this important?

  1. It's the right (honest, legal, appropriate) thing to do, but also
  2. It makes your work more credible: it makes you look smart.

If you want a formal set of guidelines, consult the Harvard Business School Citation Guide. But anything is better than nothing (just be consistent).


 

Use of Licensed Databases While on Paid Summer Internships

Vendors sell the University of Rochester Libraries access to their databases at rates that reflect a deep discount compared to what a commercial enterprise would pay. Information providers sell us this content on our contractual guarantee that we will use the data strictly for academic or research purposes. If you are working on as a paid intern over the summer, we are sorry, but you are not supposed to use any of the library databases to conduct research on behalf of the company for which you are working.

During the academic terms, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • In your written communication with colleagues outside of the University, you may excerpt only insignificant portions of reports, articles, and other documents for distribution to company employees or anyone else (i.e., do not email data, entire documents, or reports to anyone outside the University of Rochester).
  • Never allow others direct access to Rush Rhees Library resources (i.e., do not share your NetID credentials with anyone).
  • Always attribute accurately and completely all data and excerpts you include in your reports (see notes above).

Capital IQ is an exception to the above guidelines. Capital IQ does not allow its database to be used at all with outside organizations, and cuts off MBA access to the database in the summer.

WRDS also cuts off access to MBA accounts during the summer.

     -Text adapted with thanks to the Harvard Business School Baker Library.

 

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Resources for Entrepreneurial Research

Are you looking for technical and business information on engineering, optics, medical devices IT etc. to help your explore a new business venture or product you are working on? We have lots of resources there too-click on the link below to get to our LibGuide on Resources for Entrepreneurs!

Library Resources and Services

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Citation Tracking: Finding articles by citation

Once you have one (or more) useful article on a topic, use the references at the end of article to find more sources on your topic using our Citation Search tool.  This helps you see what was written previous to your current article, often called citing backward.

Use Google Scholar to see who has cited your article after it was published.  This helps you see what has been written after your article was published, citing forward.