AIS 1233: Researching a Company (Laborde)

A guide to resources and search tips.

About This Class

Let the Library Know What You Need

Learning Objectives

  • Develop a framework for understanding company research process
  • Distinguish between a library database and free web resources
  • Explore content, organization, navigation and limitations of core business databases and web resources
  • Apply a company research framework to locating information on a U.S. public company.
  • Prepare visual presentation that is clear and easy to understand.

Library Database vs Website

What is the difference?

From a user's perspective, the main difference between a library database and a website is access

  • Library databases are available to users affiliated with UTSA, such as currently registered students, faculty, and staff through the library website. Most UTSA databases are available remotely with your abc123 login.  Visitors can use most databases, but only onsite on library guest computers.  
  • Websites (or certain sections of websites ) are accessible at any time to anyone and may be found through a web search. Some websites host open access databases which are available for free. Many kinds of websites are very important in business research, for example, government websites (,, etc.), company's investor pages, open access resources, news, some commercial sites, and many more. 

More about library databases

A library database is a licensed online source of information and data that is organized, indexed, and searchable via an internal search engine. Library databases provide vetted, credible information which is typically not available for free on the Internet. 

Databases may include different types of content, such as:
  • Full-text:  articles from scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers; e-books; different types of reports; etc.
  • Specialized databases: statistics and data; mapping tools; standards; specialized business tools, including company, industry and market research reports; psychology tests; government regulations; and more. 

Databases differ widely in terms of navigation and content and often get updated without a warning.  The best way to learn how to use a database is to use it for research!

Why is it important?

Knowing how to navigate databases and relevant websites will save you a lot of time when you work on research projects for your classes! In addition, these research skills will translate well into your career as many future employers use commercial versions of the same resources.