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Using the Library

If you do your research away from campus, you may wish to connect through the VPN. The VPN software makes it appear as though you are accessing the Library's subscription resources from on campus, thus reducing the need to log in to each subscription database.

NOTE: Some of our databases require a VPN connection. Those databases are identified with this icon: VPN Only Icon

Problems with the VPN software should be referred to OIT, the Office of Information Technology. Walk-in computer support hours and locations are here.


Industry Classification Systems

One tool for finding industry information is the industry classification code. Many databases allow you to search by industry code. Doing so ensures relevant results, especially when the database uses its own unique system for classifying and describing industries.

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) and its precursor SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) are a means for organizing disparate business into a category about which statistics and data can be collected.


The main standard is the NAICS system, but some agencies and databases continue to use the SIC system for retrieving data. Learn more and search the codes using the links below.

NAICS: North American Industry Classification System


SIC: Standard Industrial Classification


Outside of the US, there are several other classification standards which are used for industry research. The two most common are:

NACE: Nomenclature of Economic Activities in the European Community


ISIC: International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities

For more on the exciting world of classification systems and standards, check out the UN Statistics Division's collection of National Classifications.



Research Help

Have questions about using the library or databases? Feel free to ask me. I'm available for consultation via email or in person.

Natalia Tingle


(303) 492-3034; Koelbel 200F

Office Hours: 3-5 PM Wednesday, or by appointment.



Primary Industry

There are a couple of ways to identify a company's primary industry. The easiest is to search a database such as Mergent Online


If the database doesn't identify the industry or if the listed industry seems inaccurate, read Part I, Item 1 in the 10-K.


Industry Profiles

Industry surveys can be used for information about the current business environment, regulations, developments, and issues that impact companies operating within that industry. A good industry survey will explain how the industry operates, who the leading companies are, and facts about suppliers and regulations.


Standard & Poor's Net Advantage

Net Advantage offers Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys for over 50 industries, plus a number of sub-industry reviews. Select your industry from the dropdown menu on the right of the page, or choose the "industries" tab at the top.


Business Insights: Global

Business Insights: Global includes content from the most current editions of The Encyclopedia of American Industries, The Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries, and The Encyclopedia of Global Industries. Search this database by industry name, NAICS code, or by product, then choose "industry profile" from the list to the left of the results.


Mergent WebReports VPN icon

Mergent WebReports provides lengthy in-depth coverage of twenty-four industy sectors including Biotechnology, Insurance, Media, and Property & Development. To get to the industry reports, choose the Industry Report Search tab and search by company name, region, or industry. Reports are updated every six months and are consistent in format.




Most of our databases provide lists of competitors based on industry classification. The classification may be related to a standardized code (NAICS or SIC), or based on the database's unique classification system. It's not a bad idea to look at several lists and combine or select appropriate competitors.


Search by company name or ticker symbol in any of the following places:



Need More?

For more information, see the Industry Research Guide.



General Company Information

Several databases are excellent for general company information including locations, brands, parent/subsidiary relationships, and historical events.


Look at the subcategories of Mergent Online's Company Details tab:


Screenshot of Mergent company details



The LexisNexis Academic Company Dossier provides links to analyst reports, legal cases, and intellectual property:


Screenshot of search screen for company dossier page in Lexis Nexis Academic




Financial data going back up to 30 years is available in Mergent Online.


Screenshot of Mergent Financials tab interface


Intellectual Property

Lexis Nexis Academic is the best source for intellectual property information.


Search the company dossier:

Screenshot of Lexis Nexis Content Type Interface



Screenshot of the dossier search screen using the tiicker symbol



Screenshot of company dossier scrolled down to show intellectual property



Mergent Online is the best place to research company leadership and performance related to that leadership over time.


Find executive data in the "Executives" tab:


Screenshot of Mergent's Executives Tab



Add to the Executive List for download if you want to compare leadership performance over time or among competitors:


Screenshot of Mergent Executives Results



Or, just look at a quick view of the executive's performance:


Screenshot of Mergent Executive Performance Results


Need More?

For more information, see the Company Research Guide, the Annual Reports Guide or the Finance Research Guide.



Analyst Reports

Mergent Online

Search by company name, ticker, SIC or NAICS code. Choose your company, then look for the "Reports" tab. When the "Reports" tab is open, you will see "Equity Reports" as an option below.



Morningstar Investment Research Center has some of the most thorough analyst reports available to our students. Morningstar offers video tutorials including the "Companies" one linked here: library.morningstar.com/tutorials/Companies (FYI - the video starts automatically).


Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage

Search by company name or ticker, then use the links on the left for stock reports. Choose the "How to Analyze" link for an interactive stock analysis tool.


Thomson One VPN icon (compatible only with Internet Explorer)

Reports from analysts at larger banks, investment firms, and research companies. Find reports at the bottom of the "Company Overview" page, or choose "Screening & Analysis" from the sidebar to search by NAICS, region, analyst name, and more.



SWOT Analysis

You can find SWOT analyses for most major companies by searching Business Source Complete for "(company name) AND SWOT".


Trade Publications

The following databases are the best sources for finding articles from trade publications:


Factiva features full-text articles from major world business and financial news sources, company reports, and financial market information. The search interface can be tricky, but the scope of coverage is unmatched.


Lexis Nexis Academic also provides full-text articles, news transcripts, country economic and political risk reports, and legal cases.


Business & Industry has full-text articles from trade and business publications. Good for industry trends, marketing, strategy, operations, and management best practices.



Market Research Reports

Market research reports are excellent for finding information about trends related to demographics, consumer attitudes, and disruptive technology. Search by company, product, industry, or consumer group.



Consumer market studies by Mintel analysts. Covers food, beverage, apparel, beauty and personal, retail, travel and more. Each study provides a synthesis of both primary and secondary data and analysis. NOTE: Mintel requires that you set up a personal profile using your @colorado.edu email address


Frost & Sullivan

Global research and analysis of industries, primarily healthcare, telecom, IT, transportation, electronics, and semiconductors. NOTE: Frost & Sullivan may request a user sign-in, including a @colorado.edu email address


Passport GMID

This database provides demographic, economic and lifestyle information for 205 countries. This is the source to use to find international consumer information.


Need More?

For more information, see the Marketing Research Guide or the Consumer Research Guide.




ProQuest Statistical Insight

Index with detailed descriptions of 100,000+ U. S. federal and state government and private statistical publications. Search by keyword, industry name, or NAICS code (NOTE: Only the 2002 and 2007 versions of NAICS codes work at this time). This is a great source for numbers from government agencies and trade groups.

ProQuest has a Quick Start guide for this database here.


The US Census Bureau is a phenomenal resource for industry research and statistics.

  • How many wool socks were produced in the first quarter of 2011? Were cotton socks more popular? It's easy to find out through the Current Industrial Reports page: http://www.census.gov/manufacturing/cir/index.html.
  • Are there more wind farms in Colorado or Texas? Find the answer in an Industry Snapshot from the Economic Census.
  • The statistical powerhouse of the Census Bureau is American FactFinder. Use the "Quick Search" box to search by NAICS code or industry description.



What's Up with HBR?

Good question.


Though it may seem that all information is free, the truth is that it has never been more expensive (just Google "serials crisis").


Here's some information about getting access.


Business Librarians across the country are outraged. Read the statement here, and find related articles here.


In a nutshell, Harvard Business Publishing opened a new revenue stream by charging a premium for convenient electronic access to the 500 most-popular Harvard Business Review articles.


Unfortunately, the CU Libraries cannot (and will not) pay a fourth time for access to these articles. We pay for a print subscription, a microfilm subscription, and an electronic subscription through Business Source Complete.


Charging academic institutions (or students directly via coursepacks) an additional fee for articles based on their popularity is unnecessarily restrictive, especially when the content has already been purchased. More than once. In multiple formats.


Interestingly, even Harvard can't keep up with rising subscription costs.



Research Help

Have questions about using the library or databases for your assignment? Feel free to ask me. I'm available for consultation via email or in person.

Natalia Tingle


(303) 492-3034; Koelbel 200F

Office Hours: 3-5 PM Wednesday, or by appointment.