Trying to find competitors? Preparing for a job interview? Looking to invest? This guide covers many resources to use in researching a company.


Getting Started

Information about companies is one of the most frequently sought after types of data. The information may be used to research competitors, prepare for a job interview or for investment decisions.

To get started, make sure you know the following:

-The correct and full company name
-The corporate headquarters address
-Whether the company is public or private
-Whether it is a subsidiary of another company
-Whether it is foreign-owned

The print and online sources discussed in this tutorial can help you to answer these questions and more.


National Companies - Print Reference Sources

LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations
Provides detailed descriptions of major public and private business enterprises in the United States, including financial overviews and listings of key personnel, outside service firms and subsidiaries.

Mergent Industrial Manual
Published by Mergent FIS, Inc. (formerly Moody's). Includes complete company overviews, financial information, and listing of key personnel. The Moody's and Mergent manuals are available in print and on microfiche in multi-volume sets dating back to 1913.

Value Line Investment Survey
Stock charts and historical financial information for selected public companies with analysis of recent company developments and projections for future prospects.

Ward's Business Directory of U.S. Private and Public Companies
Lists over 114,000 U.S. companies, includes geographic cross-reference, national and state rankings by industry.


Local Companies - Print Reference Sources

Many local companies are privately held, so it can be difficult to find detailed information about them. These sources will get you started:

D&B Regional Business Directory
Identifies both public and private companies within Central Ohio, and lists information such as names of executives, number of employees and financials.

Harris Ohio Industrial Directory
Lists Ohio manufacturers and distributors in alphabetical order by name of the company, geographical location and by SIC numbers.

Harris Ohio Services Directory
Provides the same information about Ohio service businesses.

Ohio Manufacturers Directory
An important reference source with a wealth of information about manufacturing firms in Ohio.

The Book of Lists
The Columbus version of this Business First publication contains key contact information and facts for thousands of top local businesses, industries, professions, governmental units and nonprofit organizations.


International Companies - Print Reference Sources

There are several excellent sources for information on international companies.

LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations
The International volume includes operational descriptions of companies headquartered outside the United States and includes financial overviews, key personnel, outside service firms and subsidiaries.

International Directory of Company Histories
Profiles of over 5,200 companies in the U.S. and around the world with detailed essays that cover the historical development of the world's most important businesses. This directory is available full-text to Columbus Metropolitan Library card holders through the Premium Resource, Business Insights: Essentials.


Researching a Company Online

The following web sites and online databases are available through the library's Internet computer terminals at all Columbus Metropolitan Library locations, or through the Library's website.

Columbus Chamber of Commerce

The Columbus Chamber is your one-stop for information. Get started with our new, interactive Business Resource tool, which provides hundreds of business-critical resources from governmental entities and nonprofits.

Complete listing of Chamber members available here.

Business Insights: Essentials (library card required for home access)

Company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies, and full-text periodical articles. You can search by company name, industry code, geographic region, or personal name.

Business First of Columbus
Business First articles indexed from 1996 to the present. Free registration required to access the online archives.

Columbus Dispatch -- Electronic Edition (library card required for home access)
Provides access to full-text articles from The Columbus Dispatch back to July of 1985.

Business Source Premier (library card required for home access)
Includes company profiles, SWOT analysis, full-text trade journal articles, and industry analysis. Create a free "My EBSCOhost" account in order to receive email search alerts for a specific topic. All EBSCOhost databases are now available via the EBSCOhost free mobile app.

Newsbank-Ohio Newspapers (library card required for home access)
Full-text access to 62 Ohio newspapers, like Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal. Full-text access to 27 ThisWeek Community suburban newspapers from the Columbus metro area. Email full-text articles to your email account, or to a friend or colleague.

Proquest Direct (library card required for home access)
Use advanced search boolean logic to limit your search to a company or organization name, and a keyword or subject. Use the "Publication Search" tab to search within full-text articles from your favorite magazine or journal.

Hoovers Online (in library use only)
A complete reference source for over 80,000 U.S. public and private companies, including complete overviews, key personnel, historical financials, operational descriptions and SEC filings. Full access is only available in the library.

Reference USA
Provides addresses, phone numbers, and names of company officers for both companies and individuals. The Business Data directory can be searched by company name, type of business, state, county, city or ZIP code, and business size. Users can combine any of the above search features to find the names of businesses within a certain area or industry.


Questions? Call our Information Line at 614-645-2ASK and ask to speak with a librarian in Science,Business & News @ Main Library.


Get Tools

Find Tools