Skip to Main Content

* Business Resources Guide: Company, Industry, Market Databases and more

A comprehensive collection of business databases available at the University of Rochester covering market research, marketing, entrepreneurship, company and industry information and more


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

Profile Photo
Kathy Wu
I am available for one-on-one virtual consultation through Zoom.

I also hold office hour on Mondays from 2 PM to 3 PM in the Gleason Hall Room 330. Walk-ins are welcome.

Zoom meeting only by appointment at

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. Makes 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.

Do you Need Help in Choosing the Right Database?

There are so many business databases to choose from, so it's tricky to know which ones are really going to be the best ones for your specific research question or project. We've tried to make this easier for you by creating a matrix that identifies and categorizes all the databases in one chart, and provides advice on which ones are most likely going to be the most useful.

If you click below on the "Matrix" document, you can view the charts.


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

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 Hall),  in the Simon School IT Lab,  the Financial Lab (1st Floor, Gleason Hall), 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.)


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 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 

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.


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)

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

The databases listed below in the first group here cover a wide spectrum of industries, and are keyword searchable: is the platform that provides access to two leading collections of market research reports: Kalorama and Freedonia Focus. Freedonia Focus Reports provide analysis on a wide variety of markets and industries on 15 industry categories and two major geographic collections. Topics run the gamut from raw materials to finished manufactured products and various consumer goods and services. Kalorama provides worldwide business intelligence and syndicated market research in the life sciences industry (topics include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices and diagnostics.



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:


Password: Meliora1!

But you must obtain prior authorization to actually download/view the data for this particular database. Contact Business and Economics Librarian Kathy Wu at to request authorization.  You will need to identify specific tables, sections or pages, as opposed to entire reports--contact me to discuss this further


The following databases are more focused 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."

Credible Free, Open Web Industry Databases

This free open Web database provides a wide range of economic and demographic indicators across 300 industry verticals; and covers market sizing and trends for over 180 countries. The data is compiled from national statistic agencies, governments, international organizations and other official sources.



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: 

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

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


Along with the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, is one of the most sought after publications that consistently provides in-depth, credible data, investigations and analyses on not only business topics, but politics, culture, society and technology. The Economist also provides outstanding coverage of global issues, and is known for being a highly objective, well written publication. In addition to searching for past articles in our standard databases, you can also view, browse and read each week's digital edition by simply following these steps:

1. Go to the Library Home Page:;

2. Click the Pull-down arrow of the search box and click on "journals";

3. Enter the word "Economist" in the search box.

4. Click on the top result, which should be The Economist magazine;

5. Scroll down the various options for accessing the Economist until you see "Single Issues". Click on that one, and you will be able to view the full digital version of the current (and past) issues.

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.

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

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.


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.


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:

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:




This segment of the Business LibGuide is being built out starting in 2019 with a listing of our favorite databases and open Web sources for research into entrepreneurship. As of January,  I am beginning this effort by providing a single link to one of the best aggregation of resources: data sets, government sites, reports, and fee-based databases that I've come across recently for researching entrepreneurship.

I have not yet had a chance to review each of these in this collection, so if you find one that you want more information about or have questions, please do let me know--and feel free to make suggestions for future entries here as well!

Kauffman Entrepreneurship Research Data Overviews

Some examples of sources and links included here are:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Federal Reserve

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)

WRDS: Advanced Analytical Tools

The below databases. all available from the Wharton Research Data Service (WRDS) platform,  have just recently been made available to the entire University community. While they are primarily used by financial analysts to perform complex stock and company data analyses, some may also be useful for less extensive business data and investment research as well. Note that unlike the other databases in this guide, these all require signing up directly with the database for a special account.


The Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) maintains the most comprehensive collection of security price, return, and volume data for the NYSE, AMEX and Nasdaq stock markets. Additional CRSP files provide stock indices, beta- and cap-based portfolio, treasury bond and risk-free rates, and mutual fund databases.

Special instructions: requires an account for use. Contact Kathy Wu ( in Rush Rhees Library


Intraday Indicators by WRDS

This database contains daily stock market indicators obtained from NYSE TAQ data.

Special instructions: requires an account for use. Contact Kathy Wu ( in Rush Rhees Library


World Indices by WRDS

Special instructions: requires an account for use. Contact Kathy Wu ( in Rush Rhees Library


Thomson Reuters  

The Thomson Reuters databases cover Mutual Funds Holdings (CDA/Spectrum s12) and 13f Institutional Holdings (CDA/Spectrum s34). The Insiders Filings database contains transaction and holdings information filed with the SEC. 

Special instructions: requires an account for use. Contact Kathy Wu ( in Rush Rhees Library


WRDS SEC analytics Suite

Search through the contents of millions of SEC filings. Access Readability and Sentiment scores and Linking Tables.

Special instructions: requires an account for use. Contact Kathy Wu ( in Rush Rhees Library



The business podcasts selected and described below are organized into four major categories: innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance. Each podcast met the selection criteria of being informative; engaging and created by an authoritative source.

Note that underneath each section another listing of more “popular” business podcasts which, while, not scholarly are listed because they have a wide following and offer compelling insights and opinions.



The following podcasts provide valuable information on how to successfully innovate projects, products, and new businesses. The series include solutions that meet new requirements of unarticulated needs and existing market needs. Each podcast aims to advance design thinking, overcoming obstacles, and techniques to incorporate creativity into business.

Stanford Innovation Lab (Stanford)

This series supplies practical tips on innovation regarding design thinking strategies and originality mined from Stanford Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig and other experts on experimentation and creativity. Stanford Innovation Lab is particularly useful for business students in search of challenging their creativity and gaining an understanding of advanced planning.

5-37 mins

Poppy Harlow (CNN)

CNN’s Poppy Harlow podcasts explores the journeys of business and global leaders. This includes in-depth interviews with leadership advice from entrepreneurs, CEOs and innovators about the effort required to increase wealth in their businesses through past innovation techniques.

Timing: Varies

Inside the Strategy Room (McKinsey Partners)

Inside the Strategy Room features McKinsey Partners, a management consulting company, and corporate executives. Each partner shares the challenges they have faced while creating lasting strategies of innovation in a fast-changing world. The podcasts examine the discrete ways theseexecutives approach challenges and the new and innovative ways they think of creating a vision for their enterprises. Inside the Strategy Room is particularly useful for business students struggling with overcoming difficulties such as facing innovation roadblocks in pursuing their plan of action.

Timing: Varies

On the Heels of Innovation (UNC)

This series explores the perspectives, insights and journeys of innovators and entrepreneurs who combine creative thinking and hard work to go beyond the expected. On the Heels of Innovation is unique compared to other podcasts as it sets its achievement level for success on a high scale of effort by including supplemental instruction on how to further develop inventiveness once an idea is launched. The podcast is powered by the Entrepreneurs Genome Project, which consists of research conducted by the Entrepreneurs Lab class taught by professor Ted Zoller at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

30 mins

University of Oxford Innovation (Uni Oxford)

The following podcasts offer a wide range of topics starting from the history of innovation to conversations about future innovation and the government’s involvement in new businesses. University of Oxford Innovation is especially useful for business students interested in ethical questions included in innovation, such as, “Should surgical innovation be taught and encouraged?” This series is notable for its inclusion of philosophy in the business world.

Timing: Varies


Popular Podcasts on Innovation:

EmpowerHER (Kasia Fitzgerald)

Innovation and Leadership (Innovation and Leadership)

The Deliberate Creative (Amy Climer)

Business Game Changers (BGC)

Innovation Hub (WGBH)

Ideo Futures (Ideo)



The podcasts below focus on designing, running, and launching a new business as an

entrepreneur. A similar theme is guidance directed for beginners. The podcasts offer several

interviews with professional entrepreneurs who share their knowledge of the necessary skill sets

for the business world as well as advice on how to efficiently complete the multiple tasks that

come with entrepreneurship.

1. Entrepreneurs on Fire (John Lee Dumas)

Entrepreneurs On Fire “delivers the inspiration and strategies you need to fire up your

entrepreneurial journey and create the life you’ve always dreamed of.” John Lee Dumas is an

American entrepreneur and podcaster based in Puerto Rico. He is the founder and host of

Entrepreneurs on Fire, interviewing successful entrepreneurs as his primary content. Dumas

comments that beginners will benefit from his podcasts as his interviews share how to adapt to

an entrepreneurial career.

20-50 mins

2. Trailblazers (Stephen A. Hart)

Trailblazers is voted the #1 interview style podcast by Stephen A. Hart, exploring stories of

today’s successful black professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders. This weekly podcast has

featured more than 150 black professionals and has been heard by more than 175,000 people

from 123 countries around the world. The speaker, Stephen A. Hart, is a Brand Alignment

Strategist working to guide entrepreneurs through his exclusive process of building a personal

brand that is “authentic, impactful and profitable.” Trailblazer’s content is very family-based as

Hart puts in effort to mention his personal life and own experiences of how he became a

millionaire through his career.

30 mins

3. Enterprise NOW! (Elzie D. Flenard)

Enterprise NOW! is a business and entrepreneurship talk show that seeks to educate, motivate,

and inspire current business owners as well as aspiring entrepreneurs on a variety of business

related topics. Enterprise NOW! features entrepreneurs and business leaders from various

industries and fields. This podcast series represents a diverse selection of entrepreneurs, as it

supports “Podcasts in Color,” an organization comprised of successful entrepreneurs from

minority groups.

12-48 mins

4. Follow the Leader (Chanel Christoff Davis)

Follow the Leader features dynamic women entrepreneurs and their journeys to becoming a

success in business. It's an inspirational space for entrepreneurs, future entrepreneurs, and

thought leaders as they share their keys to a successful career. Female viewers of Follow the

Leader have commented that the podcast series is very relatable and encouraging to women

entrepreneurs who feel lost or intimidated while starting their business. The speaker, Chanel

Christoff Davis, is the CEO and founding partner of the largest woman and minority owned sales

tax advisory practice in the country, Davis Davis & Harmon LLC, located in Farmers Branch,


30 mins


*Popular Podcasts on Entrepreneurship:

1. Sweet Talks (Bri-Soundcloud)

2. The Tim Ferriss Show (Tim Ferriss) /



The following podcasts provide information on promoting and selling products or services,

including market research and advertising. The marketing podcasts examine various techniques

that assist in publicizing products and services while promoting their value.

1. GaryVee Audio Experience (Gary Vaynerchuck)

The GaryVee Audio Experience, hosted by Gary Vaynerchuck, entrepreneur, CEO, investor,

vlogger, and public speaker, is one of the most popular marketing and management podcasts on

many podcast streaming services. Episodes vary in format and style. Listeners will hear episodes

composed of #AskGaryVee Q&A with his social media followers, as well as keynote speeches

on marketing and business, and segments from his DailyVee video series. Some episodes also

include interviews with business leaders and “fireside chats” that cover Vaynerchuck’s thoughts

on new and current trends in marketing and management. The variety of form and content allows

for experienced marketers to listen in on a conversation about ultramodern topics with each


20-40 mins

2. Marketing School (Neil Patel and Eric Sui)

Neil Patel and Eric Sui’s Marketing School podcast covers quick, action-oriented marketing

advice on topics in digital and online marketing. With short episodes that quickly cover

marketing tasks, Marketing School is a great podcast for the busy marketer looking to improve

their existing skills and knowledge base. Siu is the CEO at Single Grain, a digital marketing

agency that focuses on paid advertising and content marketing, while Patel is a bestselling

author, identified by the Wall Street Journal and Forbes as one of the most influential marketers,

and recognized by President Obama and the United Nations as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs

under 30.

10 mins

3. Harvard Business Review Ideacast (Harvard)

The HBR IdeaCast is a weekly podcast put on by the Harvard Business Review that features

leaders in business and management. IdeaCast covers a lot of topics from across the world of

marketing and business. With its broad range in topics and in-depth conversations with industry

leaders, IdeaCast is a great general interest podcast for marketers, CEOs, and CMOs looking to

stay on top of industry-shaping debates. Some conversations questioned why companies need

purpose, how to correctly attract customers, along with the necessity of operational transparency

and potential solutions to a mid-career crisis.

20 mins



1. The Goal Digger (Jenna Kutcher)

2. Online Marketing Made Easy (Amy Porterfield)



The following Finance Podcasts offer insight on budgeting, business valuation, financial ratios,

and management accounting. Each series allows listeners to engage in a similar conversation of

how both successful and fallout careers managed large amounts of money, including the impacts

of their funding and other economic decisions such as production and consumption

1. The Morgan Stanley Ideas Podcast (Morgan Stanley)

This podcast series offers listeners revealing stories about the world of business, finance,

technology, and beyond. Each episode tackles an intriguing question (why do so many pro

athletes go broke?) or a persistent problem in the business world (can gender diversity carry a

bottom-line value?) and introduces experienced businessmen to share their viewpoint on the



2. Behind the Money (Fin. Times Journalists)

Behind the Money takes listeners inside the big business and financial stories of the moment

with reporting from Financial Times journalists around the world. These podcasts offer listeners

updated financial accounts weekly, continuously exposing “dirty money” and “bank

consolidation” acts that have been concealed from the public. Behind the Money would be

appreciated by business students wanting an inside perspective on how financial establishments


30 mins

3. Yahoo Finance (Yahoo)

Yahoo Finance is the largest business and financial news platform in the world. The Yahoo

Finance Podcast series, with host Alexis Christoforous, brings listeners in-depth and original

interviews with business leaders, industry experts and more. Financial news is discussed in great

detail in these popular podcasts. Conversation topics range from new successes on Wall Street to

analyzing the bad business culture of the Chicago Cubs.

45 mins

4. Financial Times (Fin. Times)

The following podcasts interview experts on the currencies market about the week ahead,

looking at the global political and economic factors driving the world’s largest market. The host

of the Financial Times podcasts is foreign exchange correspondent Roger Blitz, who emphasizes

the importance of fund management and trading. Blitz speaks on making bonds, investing and

purchasing, along with how to react to economic slowdowns.




1. Bigger Pockets (Joshua Dorkin)


2. The Fizzle Show (Corbett Bar)

3. The Financial Advisor Success Podcast (Fin. Advisor Success)


4. So Money Podcast (Entrepreneur Magazine)


5. HERMoney (Jean Chatzky)

6. Mo’ Money (Jessica Moorhouse)

7. Slate Money


Mixed Scholarly

The following podcasts cover a variety of topics  

1. Women at Work (HBR)

Women at work is a series that contains conversations directed toward women in a workplace.

Episodes advise business women on how to relieve stress, the importance of joining a sisterhood,

and claiming credit for the recognition they deserve. This podcast is unique as it advocates for

women’s rights in places of employment. By providing listeners with confidence and support,

Women at Work is a podcast that encourages women to lead with authenticity.


20-60 mins

2. Corner Office from Marketplace (Marketplace)

Corner Office from Marketplace supplies listeners with inside stories from business leaders that

are transforming the economy. This series is noteworthy for business students who are anxious

about their future, as it provides guidance on how to overcome a financial crisis as well as the

importance of bravery when facing a big market. Marketplace also has an interactive system

where listeners can ask specific questions. The interviews with business leaders are based off of

those questions, offering insight on why an event occurred or a solution to a problem. For

example, one episode covers “Why no Wall Street CEO went to jail after financial crisis.”


10-40 mins

3. Planet Money (NPR)

Planet Money explores current economic issues regarding spent money that are given little

attention. Some examples include why copyrighting comedy is expensive, how students can sell

stock in themselves to pay for college, as well as why the tax lobby rejected an easier way to file

taxes. This podcast series is special in that it questions topics of currency that are very rarely

looked into. If you enjoy listening to a new, odd economic issue, Planet Money is a very reliable,

explanatory resource!

20 mins


Mixed Popular

The podcasts below offer a mix of the themes of innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing, and

finance in their series. Each podcast is recognized for being well known by the media and

listened to by over 100,000 people.

1. What’s News (Wall Street Journal)

2. Best of Today Business (BBC Radio)

3. Optimal Business Daily (OLD Network)

4. Spend Culture Stories (Spend Culture)

5. Business Model Sandbox (BMS)

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: 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.


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

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.



 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Justina Elmore, University of Rochester