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Research Guides

Finding Company Reports at the UI Library: Home

Tips for finding company reports at the UI Library

Ticker Symbols

A ticker symbol is the code used to facilitate securities trading on an exchange like the New York Stock exchange or NASDAQ.  Finding a ticker symbol is useful in company research for two reasons.

1. It confirms the company is publicly traded.

2. Because ticker symbols are carefully controlled you know that any source that includes that ticker symbol is definitely talking about that company.  For instance, there are dozens of companies named Kraft, and even more than one Kraft Foods (in other countries).  If you search for the ticker KRFT using advanced search in our databases, you know that every result is about the Kraft Foods that makes the mac and cheese and American cheese slices.

The importance of being publicly traded

Publicly traded companies have all kinds of disclosure requirements dictated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  That is good for your research because it means most of the information you need is easily available through library databases or out on the web.

Private companies are just that, private.  They don't have to disclose very much information and so most don't.  Even the ones you think are warm and fuzzy.  You may be able to cobble together enough information through newspaper and magazine articles but it will involve a lot more work on your part and you still may not get all the information you need.

Checking for a ticker symbol from the link above or looking a company up in Lexis-Nexis are the best ways to determine if a particular company is publicly traded.  You can make some informed guesses though.

1. Publicly traded companies are usually giant and produce many products or provide many services that are household names across the country.

2. Private companies are usually smaller, focus on a regional or local market, and probably specialize in just one or two areas.

Databases to find Company Information

  1. On the BSP homepage click on the Company Profiles link.
  2. Enter company name in the search box
  3. Click on the name of the company. 
  1. Enter company name or ticker symbol in search box. 


  1. Use the Companies tab dropdown to pick a specific type of information related to your company.
  2. Enter company name or ticker symbol.
  1. Hover over the Companies tab at the upper left (in blue).
  2. Under Search Profiles, click Companies.
  3. Type company name or ticker symbol.
  1. Below search box, in Guided Search box, click Company Info.
  2. Enter name of company in search box to the right.
  3. Select the type of information you want under the "...and show me" box. 
  4. Click Search.

What to do if you still can't find a report on your company

The #1 cause of not being able to find a report on a company is that it is not publicly traded.  If you can, the best thing to do is switch to a publicly traded company.

  1. Try searching for the relevant industry report and see if there are links to or mentions of your company.  A common problem is that your company is actually a subsidiary of a parent with a different name. 
  2. ABI/Inform and Lexis-Nexis may have newspaper or magazine articles about your company.  You may be able to extract some useful information.
  3. Use Google Scholar to search for any recent scholarly papers, theses, dissertations or books that may have been written about your company.
  4. If you find a report that you would have to pay for on the Web, check with the Library first to see if we can get it for you via interlibrary loan.
  5. At any step in the process, feel free to contact the reference desk (, 208-885-6584) for assistance. 

Subject Guide

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Samantha Thompson-Franklin
Library 416M
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive,
MS 2530
Moscow, ID, 83844

Company White Papers

Searching through vendor or company-created white papers can help you understand more about the issues facing a particular company.