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UR Alumni Research Guide: Home

Alumni Portal and access to databases

As a graduate of the University of Rochester, you have virtual access to several premium library databases. Accessing the premium databases (JSTOR, Mergent Online, Proquest Alumni Edition, and Sage Journals) requires you to login using your alumni directory username and password. Get started by visiting the UR Alumni Portal.


Recommended Resources

Other Helpful Resources:

New Resources To Check Out


In the below list, we have culled and curated 25 of our favorite FREE quality, substantive business research sites on the open web, and organized into five commonly sought after research categories: Company Information; Consumer and Demographic Data; Financial Information; Market Research; and Industry Information.

Company Information

Consumer and Market Information

Financial Information

Market Research

Industry Information

Other helpful resources:

Other Helpful Resources:

For further information, resources, and guidance on searching health and medical information, you can also link to the University of Rochester Medical Center's Miner library at


Other Helpful Resources:

Other Helpful Resources:

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"....!

Search for Articles, Books & More (Alumni)


To see what’s immediately available to you, select OPEN ACCESS under filters on the left-side toolbar. We highly recommend that you become a member of your local public library system and use the interlibrary loan (ILL) services offered by them since ILL and licensing agreements  restrict access at UR to current students.

Google Books is an invaluable tool for searching the full-text of millions of books.  You can read or download many in their entirety, or follow the links to borrow or purchase copies.

We highly recommend that you become a member of your local public library system and use the interlibrary loan (ILL) services offered by them since ILL and licensing agreements restrict access at UR to current students.

Search for an item in libraries near you: >>

We highly recommend that you become a member of your local public library system and use the interlibrary loan (ILL) services offered by them since ILL and licensing agreements  restrict access at UR to current students.

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NOTE: There are currently limitations in place regarding physical visits as a result of new COVID-related rules. For up to date information, please link to the University of Rochester Restart Page or the River Campus Libraries Home Page

Visit us on campus for:

  • Full access to our print collections
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You might also contact the nearest college library to see if you can use their services and databases as a guest.

Open Access

What is Open Access?
Most publishers own the rights to the online books and articles they publish. Anyone who wants to read them must pay to access them.  Open access (OA) refers to online research outputs that are free of all those restrictions.   Below are tools for helping you locate OA research.