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ITI 220: Retrieving and Evaluating Electronic Information (04:547:220): Company Research

This course guide contains library research resources for the IT market sector analysis project in ITI 220.

Roadmap for finding company information

    Are you looking for an overview of the company? 

Overviews will give you basic snapshot information such as company history, revenue analysis, executive leadership and potentially SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis data.

  Is the company publicly or privately owned?  If a company is public, there will be much more information available since it has to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and disclose its financials. Private companies are not required to file with the SEC, making it more difficult to locate even the most basic information.

How can I determine if a company is public or private?

Bloomberg Business Week has a list of public companies.  You can search by company name at http://www.bloomberg.com/research/common/symbollookup/symbollookup.asp

In addition, if you go to Yahoo! Finance, http://finance.yahoo.com and find the ticker symbol for the company, then the company is a publicly held company.  A private company does not sell stock to the general public, and the stock is not traded on an exchange.

Are there any news articles or journal articles that covers the company?

You can find articles about your company using the following databases. Try to be flexible in how you search, such as searching for a product name or other descriptive or company-specific data along with its name. For example, try searching the terms "wearables" or "smartwatches" when you want to find information about the company "Fitbit".

To find recent events that have to do with a company or an industry, you can search Google News: http://news.google.com. Click on the down arrow next to the search box to do "advanced news search".

 

  Are you looking for financial data about the public company?  Researching a company's financial performance over a period of several years can give you a clear picture of its forecast outlook.

 What if I need to research a private company?

PrivCo lists company profiles and financial information.  It also lists M & A activities for the company's industry and venture capitalists' activities related to the industry. 

Use Company Investigator in Westlaw Campus Research to identify legal ultimate and immediate parent companies and view corporate family tree structures. Access it using the All Content tab in the Browse section of the home page. Search U.S. and international businesses by company name or use options to strengthen search accuracy, including location and industry codes. You can also access Hoover’s Company Profiles under Other Business Reports in the right column. Hoover’s Reports include company overview, historical data, officers and directors, key competitors, and industry description and codes for U.S. and international public and private companies.

This article from Online magazine contains a private company search checklist. And this page from the Library of Congress website contains helpful information on searching private companies, including how to access some free sources. This list from Inc. Magazine and PrivCo features America's 1,000 Largest and Most Inspiring Private Companies.

Media Alerts

Several Rutgers databases allow the ability to set up news/media alerts, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Access World News and EBSCO (which includes Business Source Premier and Regional Business News).

See the Media Alert Instruction Sheet below for details.

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