Millsaps College
  1. Public or Private?
    For public companies (companies whose stock is available for sale to the public), a large amount of information may be found in books, annual reports, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and in newspaper and periodical articles. For private companies, much less information is available than for public companies. For private companies, there are no SEC reporting requirements; there may be no annual reports; there may be little or no information in books or in newspaper or journal articles.
  2. Find out whether the company is: a subsidiary or joint venture? a franchise? foreign-owned? Check corporate structure, affiliation, and status
  3. What does the company say?
    Read a company's finanical statements and annual reports.
  4. What do others say?
    Read news articles, investment reports and other secondary sources to fill in the gaps. Find out what articles have been published on various aspects of the company's operations. Consider current events including business rankings.
Company Information
Mergent Online
Online access to the print edition of the Mergent Manuals, with extensive information on U.S. and international public companies, including financials, stock, properties, joint ventures, subsidiaries, S.E.C. filings, etc.

Securities and Exchange Commission electronic filings for public companies and mutual funds in the U.S.

Westlaw Campus Research   Contains company information e.g. Hoover's Company Records, including profiles for thousands of private and public U.S. corporations, and SEC Filings.  Click Hoover's Company Records to get to the company reports.

International Directory of Company Histories

A frequently updated collection of company profiles. These have more information than online sources and include bibliographies for further reading.

Located in Library, first floor reference collection,
call number HD2721 .D36

Corporate Annual Reports

Mergent Online is a database of corporate information covering over 22,000 US and foreign public companies. Information available for each company includes the following:

  • Up to 25 years of annual and quarterly financial data, including balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and financial ratios
  • Up to 10 years of scanned, full-image, annual reports to shareholders
  • Filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission since 1996
  • Extensive information about the corporation's current long term debt
  • A complete corporate history including acquisitions and changes in ownership structure
  • Lists of subsidiaries, property holdings, and key personnel
  • Links to recent news reports

Data output can be customized and exported as comma-delimited files (readable by Excel and other software).


EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Refer to the Guide to SEC Filings from Thomson Research.

EDGAR Filings and Forms include 10-Ks (annual reports for US firms), 10-Qs (quarterly reports), 20-Fs (annual reports for foreign firms) and DEF 14As (proxy statements) of public companies from 1994 forward.

EDGAR documents are also available from:

Pre-EDGAR documents may be obtained from:


Annual reports to shareholders are available from several sources:

Barron's Annual Report Service

Historical Corporate Reports Online from the Lippincott Library of the Wharton School.

IRIN (The Investor Relations Information Network)

Public Register's Annual Report Service (PRARS)

For International Companies, check for a list of links to sources.


Analyst Reports

The Mergent Equity Research Report offers summaries of: recommendation, analysis, business, earnings momentum, recent developments, price momentum, peer companies, a price performance graph and financials fundamentals graph. Available as part of Mergent Online under the Reports tab. 

Value Line is a comprehensive source of information and advice on approximately 1,700 stocks in 97 industries on U.S. stock markets.  The printed copy of Value Line is available at the front desk of the library.
Company Directories
Company Lists - Mississippi and the South
Current Events

To find information on lawsuits and legal claims, refer to the "Legal Proceedings" section in the SEC Form 10-K, via Hoover's Online. This site allows individual sections of SEC filings to be displayed after a company search has been conducted. Of historical interest is the Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade (1990's) as tallied by Corporate Crime Reporter, a legal newsletter.

Look up patent filings (from 1790 to present) on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Database; choose Quick Search, enter the company name as Term 1, and select "Assignee Name" in Field 1. More intellectual property resources may be found on the Patents Guide compiled by Ellen Calhoun.

Search for registered trademarks with the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System. Use the Structured Form Search; enter the company name as the Search Term, and select "Owner Name" as the Title Field.

If you are wondering whether American corporations have an influence on the political process, the Political Money Line will let you search by donor name (company, individual, or PAC).

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is presented each quarter by the University of Michigan Business School. The focus is on goods and services from major companies in a few dozen industries.

Initial Public Offerings may be tracked at Hoover's Online - IPO Central, with links to the SEC S-1 filings.

Inappropriate health, safety, and working conditions at companies are often brought to the attention of the federal government, and the Department of Labor mainatains a database of Enforcement Data that is searchable by industry, ZIP code, and state.

You can use the Subsidy Tracker from Good Jobs First to see what financial incentives were granted by state government agencies to companies to encourage job creation or economic development.


You can see different rankings of companies on the Forbes Lists by sales, profits, assets, or market value.

The annual Fortune 500 rankings, which actually covers 1,000 companies, are based on revenues.

Listings from the Hispanic Business 500 Directory is available online for 2001-2009.

The Inc. 500 is a list of the fasting-growing companies in the U.S.

Insurance firms are rated according to their financial strength by A.M.Best Ratings & Analysis (registration required).

Many more online lists may be found on Gary Price's List of Lists.

Business Records by State

Some additional resources are available at Locating U.S. Corporation Records Online from the Internet Prospector.

The number of organizations and firms which filed reports are compiled by the International Association of Commercial Administrators in their Annual Jurisdictional Reports. For 2007-2009 figures, select the year, the state, and then select "BOS Annual Report."

Magazine and News Articles

Business Source Premier. Searchable abstracts of articles selected from about a thousand periodicals and journals. Between 70-80 percent of the items also include full text.

Westlaw Campus Research   Contains full text of newspapers including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Atlanta Journal and Constitution; magazines such as Newsweek, Consumer Reports, and Publisher's Weekly; over 400 newswires; newsletters; and over 900 broadcast transcripts. Also has selected business, trade and professional journals and publications, including Financial Times, The Economist, Business Week, and The New England Journal of Medicine.  Also contains company information e.g. Hoover's Company Records, including profiles for thousands of private and public U.S. corporations, and SEC Filings.

The Mississippi business journal - The library has a print copy at - PERIODICAL-- HC101 .M47x.

Research Help
Picture: Library / Main Desk

Library / Main Desk
Tel: (601) 974-1073

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This guide created by Rutgers University Libraries and modified by Millsaps Librarians.