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Business Research: Reference Sources

Getting Started

Often legal issues revolve around business topics and require locating information on companies, industries, investments, and other commercial subjects. The Berkeley campus libraries contain an extensive assortment of business research material. What appears in this guide is a very selective, annotated list of the best resources for the legal researcher. A comprehensive list of business resources is available at Databases A-Z. Since some of the sources have restricted access, please be sure to take note of any special login or availability instructions.

Business Reference Sources (Requires free registration.)
This free reference work contains over 20,000 definitions. Keyword searches and preformatted subject categories allow for easy access to relevant information.

Another free database that defines investment terms, contains detail articles, and gives examples from the world of investment and finance.

Business Source Complete (BSC) (UCB only)
In addition to containing a large assortment of business articles, BSC also has a large archive of books. This collection is populated with a number of guides and handbooks on business topics.
 This link takes you directly to a searchable list of these monographs.

US Company Directory/Reference USA  (UCB only)                                                 

Comprehensive database of U.S. companies; even very small establishments are included. Provides phone-book type information and some extras. Searching and screen capability. The database also includes residential addresses for 120 million U.S. households.

Business Periodicals

In general, there are four types of periodicals used to communicate business information:

  1. Academic publications - Peer-reviewed journals that often provide theory and analysis, contain footnotes, and are written by scholars in their fields. Examples are the Harvard Business Review and the California Management Review.
  2. Trade or industry publications - For readers connected to a particular trade or industry, intended to keep practitioners up to date on developments and issues within their industry, and particularly useful for identifying current trends and practices. Examples are Automotive News, Adweek, and American Banker.
  3. General business periodicals - Cover trends and news affecting the business world, consumed by both the general public and business professionals. Included in this category are Business Week, Forbes, and Fortune.
  4. Business newspapers - The best known, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, are international in scope and cover the broad world of commerce. Others have a narrower geographic scope and focus on activities within those regions. They and are particularly helpful at finding information on new start-ups and commercial real estate trends.  El Economista (Mexico), Business Times Singapore, and Financial Express (Bangladesh) are examples of national business newspapers, which are often the only source for foreign companies, industries, and a non-U.S. perspective on events

These sources are good for identifying business news. If you know a periodical title, search for it on UC Library Search Journal Search, then link to the online source. (UCB only)

Business Source Complete


Nexis Uni

Access World News

Company Information

The amount of information available on a particular company depends upon several factors:

  1. Publicly traded companies (those that are traded on stock markets) have more information published about them than privately held enterprises.  Disclosure laws in the U.S. and similar statutes in other countries require publicly traded companies to reveal detailed information on their financial status in various reports (forms) to stockholders and potential investors.  A detailed list and descriptions of forms required by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission is available on the SEC webpage.
  2. There tends to be less information on non-U.S. companies, particularly in English language sources.
U.S. & Non-U.S. Companies

Bloomberg Law (password required) is an excellent one stop source for SEC laws and forms and information on U.S. publicly traded companies and markets as well as a host of other financial information.

Mergent Online (UCB only)
Best source for public company financials and SEC documents. Income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements can be downloaded directly into Excel.

Hoovers Online (UCB only) 
This is one of the better sources for profiles of medium to large U.S. and non-U.S. companies as well as profiles of industries.  Not all of the advanced features are included in the University's subscription. Some items not covered by the subscription are available for a fee.

Business Monitor Online (BMO) (UCB only) 
Great source for U.S. and non-U.S. company and industry information along with country risk reports. BMO also provides macroeconomic data and forecasts for most countries.

Non-U.S. Companies

ISI Emerging Markets Database (UCB only) 
ISI provides company, industry, macroeconomic, and stock market information for dozens of developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Full-text news and reports are available in English and local languages. This database includes financials for foreign public companies. Data exportable to Excel.

LexisNexis Major International Company Information (IMPCOM) (password required)
This file covers more than 30,000 companies from Asia and Pacific Rim, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and North and South America. Login first to Lexis Advance, then choose for Research. Once logged into, this link will direct you to IMPCOM.

Industry Information

Industry reports usually contain statistics, trend information, and identify major competitors.

Many industry reports are broken down by government classification schemes such as the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS)  Unfortunately these hierarchical schemes often are not current enough to cover new markets or are not specific enough to cover small sub-industries.  Consequently, it is sometimes necessary to use a surrogate industry when the one that you need is not available or select an industry higher up the hierarchy.

U.S. & Non-U.S.

Business Source Complete (BSC) (UCB only) 
Includes other sources of full text information such as country economic reports from the EIU, Global Insight, ICON Group and CountryWatch and detailed company profiles for the world's 10,000 largest companies.

Thomson Research/Investext (UCB only, must be accessed using Internet Explorer) 
Investment analyst reports on industries can provide very valuable information on sales, competitors, trends, market share, and product development.

Ibis World Industry Market Research (UCB only)
Provides 25-30 page research reports on hundreds of U.S. industries. Data includes market size, market share, major players, and industry trend analysis. For industry information on China, see IBIS World: China and Global

MarketResearch Academic (UCB only)

Contains more than 600 market studies from four publishers: Kalorama Information, Packaged Facts, SBI Energy, and Simba Information. Covers these industries: Life Sciences, Pharmaceuticals, and Medical Devices (Kalorama); Food, Beverage, and Consumer Packaged Goods (Packaged Facts); Energy Technology, Materials & Chemicals, Equipment & Machinery, and Building & Trades (SBI); Publishing & Media (Simba). Mostly U.S. but some global.

Mintel Reports(UCB only, requires the creation of an individual password, Berkeley students only)

Provides market research for these industries: Beauty & Personal Care, Drink, Food, Foodservice, Health & Wellbeing, Household, Lifestyles, Retailing & Apparel, Consumer Technology, and Travel.  Mostly U.S. but some U.K. and Western Europe.


ISI Emerging Markets Database (UCB only) 
ISI provides company, industry, macroeconomic, and stock market information for dozens of developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Full-text news and reports are available in English and local languages. This database includes financials for foreign public companies. Data is exportable in Excel.

Business Monitor Online (BMO) (UCB only) 
Provides quarterly, updated market forecast reports on 14 industry sectors in 55 countries. Industries covered include: Automotives, Chemicals, Banking, Defence and Security, Retail Food and Drink, Freight Transport, IT, Infrastructure, Insurance, Oil and Gas, Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Telecommunications and Media, and Tourism. There is also a database of 65,000 multinational company subsidiaries and company profiles. Note: UCB does not subscribe to the BMO country analyses.

Stockholder, Executive Compensation, and Board of Directors Information

Mergent Online (UCB only) 
For U.S. public corporations, Mergent provides current information on insider holdings, insider trading, and institutional holdings. It allows to search executive and director compensation as well.

Wharton Research Data Service (WRDS) WRDS use is restricted to UCB faculty and graduate students. Reguires a password issued by WRDS. Click on the link, choose "account request," and if you qualify, a password will be sent by email.

UCB'S WRDS subscription includes:

Compustat - a database of financial, statistical, and marketing information. It provides more than 300 annual and 100 quarterly Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flows, and supplemental data items on more than 7500 publicly held companies. UCB's subscription does not include executive compensation.

CRSP - The Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) maintains the most comprehensive collection of standard and derived security data available for the NYSE, AMEX and Nasdaq Stock Market. CRSP is a research center at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and maintains historical data spanning from December 1925 to the present.


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