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* Business: Company Resources

This guide contains information on how to do research in the field of business.

Public vs. Private Companies

Private Company information is much more difficult to gather than Public Company information.  This is especially true as concerns financial information. Whereas Public Companies are required by law to disclose detailed financial information to the SEC (available from Mergent, Lexis-Nexis, and the EDGAR database -- links to the right), this is not the case with private companies, who can decide for themselves how much they wish to make available.  However, there are some courses of actions which can be taken to find information.  These include:

--Searching in Business databases (such as the ones listed to the right), which index articles from scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers.
--Searching in 
 Newspaper databases (such as the one listed in the "Business News" tab.
--Looking at the company's website -- different companies divulge different amounts of information -- from none at all to quite a bit.  Usually, if any information is available, it is hidden behind small print links with labels like "financial information," "investor information," or "fact sheets." 

Market Share

Brand Information

Company Resources

Company's Website - Almost all companies have websites which divulge varying amounts of information about themselves.  In most cases, they will not offer detailed financial information, but sometimes, in an effort to attract investors, they will give some hints.  Look for links for Public Relations, Marketing, New Products.  Often the links are at the bottom of the page and in small print.

Local Newspapers - Often local newspapers will cover smaller, private, regional businesses that do not make it into the national databases - (see the "Getting Started" tab above for newspaper databases). 

Product Resources


The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) are numerical classification systems created by the United States government.  These systems are used to group/classify like companies into industries for the purposes of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The SIC system was originally developed in the 1930s and was last updated in 1987.  The NAICS system was first released in 2002, updated in 2007 and last updated in 2012. 

While NAICS has "officially" replaced SIC, many business directories and databases still use one or both of the systems.  Therefore, it is important to know about both SIC and NAICS.

  • The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) consists of four digit numbers that apply to a company based on the type of products or services it produces.
    • An example of an SIC Code is:  5812 = Eating Places
  • The newer North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) employs six digits to allow for a more detailed system of industry classification. 
    • An example of a NAICS Code is: 722110 = Full Service Restaurants

Some library databases, books, and web sites allow you to search using SIC and/or NAICS codes. It is very helpful to know what your industry code is before starting your research in Library and government resources. 

Business and Economics Liaison

Peter Hesseldenz's picture
Peter Hesseldenz
W.T. Young Library

University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY 40506-0456

(859) 218-1840

Kentucky Company Resources