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Journalism & Mass Communication: J85 PR Principles

A guide to selected databases, journals, and websites available for journalism, advertising, magazines, broadcasting and public relations.

How to Find Business Information (e-book)

Available online to Drake students:

How to Find Business Information by Lucy Heckman (2011)

Ch. 2: How to Find Industry Information

Ch. 3: Information About Companies

Public or Private?

The most important thing to know before you begin your research is whether your company is publicly held or privately held. This information will inform where you search for information. U.S. law requires pubicly held companies to disclose certain information. Most private companies opt not to disclose this information. Thus, if you are researching a small private company, you may need to rely on local news and information sources. 

Privately-Held Companies

PrivCo is the best source to research privately-held companies. PrivCo has in-depth information for privately-held companies. Need business info on Red Bull or NASCAR or Gucci or the European PGA Tour? This is information (particularly financials) that is NOT available elsewhere.

Publicly-Held Companies

Mergent Horizon is the best source for information on industries and publicly-traded companies. It includes a comprehensive database of US-traded companies organized by the goods and services from which they drive their revenues as well as their key business relationships. Horizon's Hierarchy function maps companies from the bottom up (based on actual products and services), then filters through 16,000 product levels into a searchable structure -- resulting in data and insights on performance, trends, and interrelationships.

Other Resources for Locating Company Information

LexisNexis Business includes information about publicly and privately-held companies, including international companies, but it does not have as much in-depth information as PrivCo or Mergent. What it is good for: identifying if companies are public or private, finding information about executives, links to news and legal information about companies and executives.

Librarian for Digital Literacy & General Education

Carrie Dunham-LaGree's picture
Carrie Dunham-LaGree

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