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November 12, 2020
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Worthington Libraries provides a great deal of information for people interested in conducting business and industry research, in print and online.

If you're looking for business books, check the following call numbers:

  • 332 (financial economics, personal finance, investing),
  • 338 (production and industries),
  • 670 (manufacturing),
  • 658 (marketing).

Keep in mind that not all companies and industries are represented equally. It's possible that in certain instances very little information will be available on a particular company. 

In most cases, the following general rules apply. It is easier to find information on larger companies than smaller ones. Likewise, it is easier to find information on publicly owned companies than privately held ones. Companies that are subsidiaries of larger entities pose special problems. Often, information about subsidiaries is "absorbed" into the records of the parent companies. With all these factors to consider, it is a good idea to begin any company research by determining such things as size, location, ownership and hierarchy.

Business directories

These sources typically provide company addresses, phone numbers, sales and employment estimates and contact information. They are often a good place to begin researching a company, as they answer many of the basic questions that will help guide subsequent searching.
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AtoZ Databases offers an extensive directory of businesses, including detailed profiles, job opportunities and more. It also includes information on healthcare professionals, residential household, new homeowners and newly moved households. Updated monthly, it permits emailing and downloading of lengthy lists.
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As well as its extensive business listings, this database features a U.S. Standard White Pages search. The Quick Search allows searching by name or phone, with city or state limits possible. The Advanced Search also permits searching by address, street name or ZIP code. Available from home with a valid library card.


ThomasNet provides online access to the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers. The database is searchable by product or service, company name or brand name. Information includes a brief company profile, web address and a contact form.

Detailed company information, annual reports and SEC filings

In many cases, the information available from directories is just a starting point. If you need in-depth financial information, company histories or investment reports, Worthington Libraries has resources that can help. In general, the following sources cover fewer companies than the directories listed above, but they do so in much more detail. A number of these resources provide links to news stories, press releases and industry information.
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Hoover's offers company profiles, histories and financials for public and private companies around the world, along with links to news sources, press releases, competitors and industry profiles. Business data includes annual revenues, employee counts, corporate family tree, key contacts, analyst reports, SWOT reports and stock data.

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Morningstar Investment Research Center offers financial information, portfolio analysis, information on investment options and financial news. The database covers stocks and mutual and other funds and provides analysts' reports and opinions on many investment possibilities.

U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website allows users to search for reports filed with the SEC by qualifying public companies. This includes annual reports, quarterly filings and more.

Local business news

Newspaper and magazine articles are a good place to find information about companies and industries. In addition to print subscriptions for the Wall Street Journal, the Columbus DispatchBusiness First and others, Worthington Libraries offers the following sources to help you locate business news. Additionally, websites such as Google NewsCNN and Yahoo! offer business-specific news.
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This database from EBSCOhost provides comprehensive full text coverage for regional business publications. Regional Business News incorporates coverage of business journals, newspapers and newswires from all metropolitan and rural areas within the United States. This database is updated on a daily basis.

Market research and demographics

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a myriad of statistics, from employment trends to salary surveys to consumer spending.

Melissa Data

A genuine treasure trove of geographic, demographic and statistical information, this free service from MelissaData includes lookups for ZIP codes, phone numbers, street names, school district maps, congressional maps and more.

Explore Census Data

A source for population, economic, housing, and geographic information and data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island areas.

Industry information

If you're looking for industry overviews and rankings, you can find them in Hoovers (see above). The following directories may include major companies in various sectors and their market share.

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This multi-volume set provides sample business plans aimed at entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses in the service, manufacturing and retail industries.
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Business Source Premier from EBSCOhost provides indexing and full text of articles from scholarly journals and business periodicals covering management, international business, accounting, finance, economics, banking, marketing and other business-related topics.

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David S

I am a library associate and I love reading fantasy, sci-fi and alternate history; I also love diving into a good, long series. Books and TV are equally great, but they compete for time with grand strategy games, RPGs and trying to convince my cat to sit in my lap.

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