Stanley Lyle's blog

Business FAQ

A group of large business libraries, led by the University of Pennsylvania, has developed a "Business FAQ" which serves as a tool to find the best sources, databases, and data sets on various topics. Other business libraries, mainly at PhD-granting unversities, have modified the FAQ to fit their circumstances. Some of the recommended sources are free and others are licensed by Penn. Rod Library subscribes to some of the licensed sources. Check UNISTAR, the library catalog, to see if Rod Library has a particular subscription database listed on the Penn Business FAQ...or Ask Us! at Rod Library. The Business FAQ can be browsed or searched. To give an idea of the content, the listing under Finance includes dozens of questions (and answers); here are the first five questions: How do I find analyst reports (investment bank reports)? How do I find bank rates, including mortgage rates? Where do I find info on American Depositary Receipts (ADRs)? How do I find current betas for companies and/or industries? How do I find data and information on bonds?

Socrates: The Corporate Social Ratings Monitor

Rod Library recently subscribed to Socrates, produced by KLD Research & Analytics. It can be accessed from the library catalog (UNISTAR) or from Databases A-Z in the middle of the Rod Library home page. Socrates can be used to study the performance of specific companies in various environmental, social, and governmental areas such as climate change, diversity, and transparency. It also reports company activities regarding controversial business issues such as alcohol, contraceptives, firearms, gambling, and so on. Socrates also can be used to identify groups of companies that are involved in specified issues.

Morningstar Investment Research Center

Rod Library has canceled Morningstar Mutual Funds, a print source kept at the library reference desk, and added Morningstar Investment Research Center. In addition to this link, the Morningstar Investment Research Centeris is listed in UNISTAR, the library catalog, and in the Databases A-Z list in the center of the Rod Library home page. The Morningstar Investment Research Center contains data and analysis on stocks, funds, ETFs, and industries. The Portfolio X-Ray tool can be used to study the performance of particular investments as a portfolio.

Q&A: How do you find Datamonitor reports on markets?

Datamonitor company reports can be found in a database called Business Source Elite (see this blog entry for details. Look under the Company Profiles tab at the top of the screen.) Datamonitor Industry Market Research reports such as: United States - Pharmaceuticals.(Industry overview) China - OTC Pharmaceuticals.(Industry overview) can be found in Business & Company Resource Center, which is listed on the Rod Library Business Portal. It also is listed on the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z. After connecting to Business & Company Resource Center, select Advanced Search. Change the Content Area to Industry overviews, and then type an industry of interest such as pharmaceuticals. The results may include industry overviews from encyclopedias as well as Datamonitor market research reports; look for the green Market Research tab in the upper right for Datamonitor reports. Other databases on the Business Portal such as IBISWorld, Mintel, and Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage also analyze industries and markets.

SEC to Replace EDGAR Company Filings Database

The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission announced on August 19th that it is implementing a new company filings system called IDEA (Interactive Data Electronic Applications). IDEA "will at first supplement and then eventually replace the EDGAR system." This SEC press release provides more details on IDEA, including a video of a presentation by SEC Chairman Christopher Cox.

Accounting Standards Added to RIA CheckPoint

The AICPA, FASB, and GASB standards are now available through RIA CheckPoint (generic logon). RIA CheckPoint can be accessed: 1. On the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z 3. and on this page of the Business Portal 3. Or through this direct link Here are two ways to access the standards, if you are using a link that does not take you directly to the standards. After reaching RIA CheckPoint, note the "Search Practice Area" drop-down in the upper left corner of the screen. Change this from Federal to "Acct, Audit, & Corp Finance." AICPA, FASB, and GASB will appear on the right side of the screen. A particular standards body can be checked and then searched. Another approach is to click the Table of Contents link on the right side of the screen. Then click the + sign next to Accounting, Audit & Corporate Finance Library, then the + sign next to Regulations and Standards. Continue drilling down, by clicking the + sign next to AICPA, FASB, or GASB. Or, click a particular standards body and do a keyword search. Two people can access the standards at the same time. The standards cannot be accessed from personal accounts.

Q&A: How do you identify key external environment factors for companies in an industry?

Factors like competitors, customers, labor, suppliers?

IBISWorld reports cover factors like these for nearly 700 industries. The Industry Market Research report for consumer electronics stores, for example, discusses issues like these in the Industry Conditions section: -barriers to entry -regulation -cost structure, including wages -capital and labor intensity -technology and systems -globalization The Market Conditions section discusses size of the market, demand determinants, and the basis of competition. The Key Competitors section discusses leading companies. Another database, Mintel Reports, analyzes the market for various consumer products. The one for Audio/Video Hardware Retailing, for example, includes these sections: -Market Drivers -Market Size & Trends -Market Segmentation -Retail Distribution -Advertising & Promotion -The Consumer You must create a personal account when you access Mintel Reports for the first time. The 10-K Annual Reports for publicly held companies sometimes address supplier, raw materials, and distribution issues in Part I, Item 1. The 2007 10-K for Best Buy, for example, discusses supplier strategy and distribution of products to its retail outlets. IBISWorld and Mintel are available from the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z and also from the Rod Library Business Portal. 10-K reports are usually listed on corporate web sites under headings such as Investor Relations or directly from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission EDGAR database. Other search tools listed on the Business Portal, such as ABI/INFORM Global and Business Source Elite and Business & Company Resource Center, may lead to useful information in academic journals, trade journals, and business magazines. These pages list additional sources that may be useful for classes like Business Policy.


Rod Library recently subscribed to ReferenceUSA, a residential and business/organization directory. Entries in the residential section include telephone numbers, addresses, and neighborhood data from the U.S. Census. The business/organization section contains contact information and other data such as estimated sales, credit rating, year established, primary line of business, competitors, and photo of establishment. Non-profit organizations also are included. The search forms can be manipulated to create lists of individuals and companies meeting various criteria. ReferenceUSA is included in the Databases A-Z list on the library home page and also in UNISTAR, the library catalog. Here’s the direct link. The vendor (infoUSA) says they compile the residential information from 3,900 white page directories. Residential entries also include data from the U.S. Census. For example, you can look up an individual and get his telephone number but also neighborhood information such as median household income, median home value, and percentage of owner-occupied units. Customized search forms can be developed to create lists of people in certain neighborhood income ranges in certain geographic areas, for example. Entries for individuals also include mapping functions and links to neighbors within .x miles. The vendor says the business information comes from 5,600 yellow page and business white page directories; government directories; SEC filings; chambers of commerce; and so on. If you look up a company, you'll get their phone number and address but also other information from a wide variety of government and private sources. Customized search forms can be used to create lists of companies or other organizations of interest, such as those in a certain SIC or NAICS-defined industry in a certain geographic area in a certain size range. Entries for companies also include mapping functions and links to companies in certain industries within a specified radius (e.g., other restaurants within 4 miles). Lists can be printed or downloaded 15 names at a time. See a tutorial and other aids under the Help tab in ReferenceUSA.

Q&A: How do you find Datamonitor reports on companies such as Hy-Vee?

Datamonitor company reports can be found in the database called, "Business Source Elite." Business Source Elite is listed on the Rod Library Business Portal. It also is listed on the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z. After connecting to Business Source Elite, click the Company Profiles link in the middle near the top of the page. After reaching the Company Profiles part of the database, enter a specific company name such as Hy-Vee in the search box or browse by letter of the alphabet. After reaching the page that lists the company, click on "Datamonitor Report" in the PDF Complete Report column. Datamonitor company profiles usually include sections such as the following: Business Description, History, Major Products and Services, SWOT analysis, and Top Competitors. The SWOT analysis includes a summary table plus a few paragraphs on each factor listed in the table.

Q&A: How do you find academic journal articles about a company that has implemented some particular management concept?

Business journal databases like ABI/INFORM Global provide a way to limit results to academic (or scholarly or peer-reviewed) . This method does not work perfectly, but it will get you to academic journals faster. In the case of ABI/INFORM, check the box for Scholarly Journals at the bottom of the search box, or click the Scholarly Journals tab after you get the search results. Let's say the management concept is social responsibility. If you want articles that deal with some specific company, such as Nike, enter the term like this in Basic Search in ABI/INFORM: nike and social responsibility If you want to find articles on social responsibility in regard to a specific company, and it doesn't matter which company, enter the search like this: case studies and social responsibility This tends to get articles that discuss a specific company or companies and the other specified topic. The search can be tightened up in some cases by going to Advanced Search and looking for cases studies [dropdown: in Subject] and social responsibility ABI/INFORM is available from the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z and also from the Rod Library Business Portal.

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