Sunday, October 31, 2004

Google cheat sheets

Don't know why I've never run across this before: a cheat sheet from Google of the search commands.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Historical Cash Flow Statements

A student was looking for the historical cash flow statements for a company. The best way to pull these turns out to be through Mergent. Mergent allows you to choose to download the cash flow statements (or income statement or balance sheet) for a company over a user-specified date range. First choose your company and then use the tab marked "Create Reports". Date options range from the past year/quarter to the last 15years/quarters.

Archive for BBLIB and BBLIBS

Searchable BBLIB archive can be found here and BBLIBS archive here.

Financial Footnotes in 10-K Reports

I spent a few minutes last week examining the options for searching and viewing the footnotes of 10-K reports in various databases including Thomson, Mergent, the SEC's EDGAR, Factiva, and the free SEC Info. Factiva which uses the SEC Info platform gives the most flexibility and is the easiest to use. Once you choose the company document, for example, the 10-K, you can search for any words in the text of that filing by using the "Find" box at the top of the page. Results are returned in KWIC format with links that open to the page.
Access to some features through Factiva requires registration, so users might want to go directly to SEC Info. An added feature of SEC Info is that it includes internal document links to related filings. For example, a mention of a union contract is hyperlinked to the exhibits in a previous filing that describe the contract.

Daylight lamps for students with disabilities

Special daylight lamps donated by the Office for Students with Disabilities have been installed in the reference area. Two lamps have been placed at the workstations marked for students with diabilities behind the reference desk, near the photocopy room. Two other lamps have been placed at carrels behind the staircase. Signs indicating that students with disabilities have priority for those carrels will be posted shortly.

Good intro to blogs and RSS

Want to learn more about what blogs really can do and how they are changing the way the web works? Check out this article.

Five days of free WSJ Online access

Starting Nov. 8, will offer five days of free, full access to the online Wall Street Journal. Read more about it here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Command searching in CUNY+

Thanks to Mike for reminding me of the value of command line searching in CUNY+. Here's some useful tips:

  • Foreign language searches. Example: to find materials in Italian, type WLN = ita. Use the 3-letter MARC abbreviations for the language you want. Warning: this will also find books that have been translated from a particular foreign language as well.
  • Call number range searches: Example: to find books that are in the HQs, type WCK = HQ* (the asterisk will work as the wildcard).
  • Publisher search: Example, to find books published by Basic Books, type WPU = basic.
  • Reference books: Type WCL = ref
  • Books in stacks: Type WCL = stacks
  • Boolean operators: AND and OR work. Example, to find reference books that have Shakespeare as a word in the title (WTI=), type WCL = ref and WTI = shakespeare.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Accounting Resources added to my Blackboard site

Today I added some PowerPoints on the library's accounting resources to my Blackboard site. The segments are based on the Accounting Resources workshop.
I broke them down into segments such as searching RIA Checkpoint and CCH Business & Finance, searching Factiva for accounting/consulting information, searching databases for academic journal articles relating to accounting and auditing, and databases that provide SEC filings, and analysts' reports.

To get to them: Log onto Blackboard (Preview will work too.)
Click on the Courses tab.
Search either by my last name ormsby or Library Resources-Accounting.
They are listed under Course Documents in Library Resources--Accounting.
The Powerpoints on searching tips in searching the Financial Accounting Research System (FARS) are also here.

I am finishing the subject guide. Some students are giving me comments on it, so it will soon be available.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Additional FARS sources or sources for the same information that is on the FARS disk

In addition to the FARS CD-rom disk at the reference desk, accounting students who have the assignment that requires them to look up literature in the FARS disk may also use the following:

On Reserve, with 11th edition of the Kieso’s Immediate Accounting book, there is the CD disk.
Call number HF 5635.K5 2004 CD-ROM (2 copies of the disk are available)
This could be used by students on their own laptops, or they could be set up at the Reference Desk.
(Reserve copies of the CD say one day loan.)

For many students, this is their first exposure to the official accounting literature. It isn’t easy as they have to determine the issues in their problem, and find the appropriate literature to resolve the issues.
In the second part of the assignment, the students will be presented with the literature and asked how it applies to the situation. Some students may not understand the difference between the words “may” and “shall” in the literature, for example. (I certainly don’t understand the accounting.)

A purpose of this assignment is to have the students become acquainted with searching the literature using FOLIO software, used for the FASB’s FARS disk as well as the CPA exam. The FARS disk was packaged as part of the 11th edition of the Kieso Intermediate Accounting book.
However, not all students seem to have this edition of the book.

Some professors really wanted the students to use the FARS disk. Others have said that how the students access the information is not as important as searching the information.

The advantages of the online resources include that they may be searched off campus.

The following are online sources that have the same materials contained in the FARS disk:

RIA Checkpoint
Change practice area from Federal (tax) to WG&L Fin Mgt & Reporting
FASB is an option in the Primary Source Materials
Searches are by keyword (or citation if known)
The thesaurus/query tool can be helpful
(Drilling down in the Table of Contents shows which FASB statements (original pronouncements, current text, and other publications) that may be searched. One may search individually or combine the documents in a search.
Advantage to this database: Links easily to referenced materials, thus eliminating separate searches for referenced materials.
Grey shading indicates superceded language.

CCH Business & Finance
Click on Securities tab
Scroll down to SEC Accountants’ Module
Click on link to Financial Accounting Standards (FASB), which lists the original pronouncements (grey shading represents language that has been superceded), current text, EITF (emerging issues task force issues) and the Topical Index. (The students will most likely need to search those areas.)
Advantage to this database: Easier keyword and phrase searching than the FARS disk. Can easily click to select data sets to search.
Disadvantage to searching this compared to RIA: Lack of internal links

FASB website
The EITF abstracts, FASB statements are searchable here. Since the FARS disk, RIA Checkpoint and CCH Business & Finance only have information as of June 2004, it is possible that some information on this web site may be more current.
Disadvantage to searching on No easy keyword or phrase search.
You must select the individual statement that you want to search, and view the statement either as originally announced, its summary and status. The status lists changes but does not incorporate them, so one needs to do a lot of searching to assemble one’s own current text. This would be very, very time consuming and I can’t recommend searching this way.

Advantage of this site: Best site for the most current information as recent changes are announced here. If you are experienced and know what you are looking for, this might be a good place to go.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Donating course bulletins and catalogs

If anyone has some recent course bulletins or catalogs gathering dust in their office, you might want to consider adding them to the ready reference collection at the desk. Yesterday, Sandy and I realized we are missing a copy of the current undergraduate bulletin. Yes, I know, the current bulletins and catalog are online, too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Animal Sleep Behavior

Prof. Engle-Friedman's students are doing an assigment for their PSYCH 3054 The Psychology of Sleep class that involves observation of an animal of their choice at the Bronx Zoo and examination of scholarly research articles on that animal's sleep behavior. The databases, PsycARTICLES or PsycINFO, work for some species, but I have found that Science Direct and Wiley Interscience provide a better choice of articles as well as more current research. Aisha's Web Guide to Biology is a good place to find a list of other science databases.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New Home Page at Reference

After the discussion of the blog at the IS division meeting yesterday, I have changed the home page of the reference desk computers to default to the "Reference at Newman Library" blog.

Corporate Affiliations

The Corporate Affiliations database now has a substantial archive. One can now find out
the management, for example, of a corporation for several years back.

OCLC report on information trends

Kind a follow up to the environmental scan OCLC published earlier this year is this report on information trends. One little blurb I found interesting:

More than ever, content consumers are “format agnostic” in that they do not care
much what sort of container—such as a book, journal, blog or a Web page—the
content comes from.

How to Access Simmons Choices III

Until further notice, please be advised that there is no longer a direct link to Simmons Choices III from the alphabetical listing of databases located at the "Information Resources page". In order to access Simmons Choices III, you will need to go to:

"Information Resources page" then click on "Databases by Subject" >"Networked CD-ROMs" >"Simmons Choices III-2001".

You should also refer users to an online tutorial of the new Choices III search interface which is available at University of Tennessee Libraries at I will be completing a revised version of my "Guidelines to using Simmons" which will incorporate changes to the search interface.

Bear in mind, you may access all other marketing CD-ROMs, namely Mediamark Reporter (MRI) and CMR ADSpender, in the same manner.

Print subscriptions to Times (London) and Washington Post ends

Doug Duchin announced on BBLIB today:

We are canceling The Times (London, England : 1788), the Sunday Times (London, England : 1931) and the Washington Post in hard copy. Both the Times and the Post are available full text to date online. We will continue to purchase the microfilm copies. The paper edition of the Times is $1,175 this year and arrives about 7-10 days late. The Washington Post is $852 a year and arrives several days late. Neither have enough circulation in paper to warrant the expense.

As an addendum, let me note where full text access is for these: The Times is inLexisNexis and Custom Newspapers from 7/1/1985 on; The Washington Post is in LexisNexis from 1/1/1977 (other databases have it, but not as far back).

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Incorrect citation info for students in Prof. Rachman's class

Students in Prof. D. Rachman's BUS 1000 class (Introduction to Business) may have problems locating an article listed on their syllabus, as the professor got the article title wrong. The article is:

Grow, Brian. “Don't Discount This Discounter.” Business Week, 24 May 2004. 84+.

It can be found as a link in Prof. Rachman's course reserve page.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

CIS 1000 Exemption Exam Info

If a student asks where they can take a practice test (sometimes asked for as "SimNet") for the exemption exam for CIS 1000, refer them to the 6th floor computer lab. Work stations in the computer lab have SimNetXP learning software on them, which has the practice exam.

The library owns a book on reserve that can be used as a study guide for the test: Haag, Stephen and James T. Perry's I - Series: Microsoft Excel 2002: Introduction (reserve call number is HF5548.4.M523 H3 2002).

For more info on the exam, see this page on the CIS site:

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Fannie Mae Report

Rita reports that the faculty have been asking for the report accusing Fannie Mae of improper accounting practices. It was released by Fannie Mae's regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), and is officially called the "Report of Findings to Date Special Examination of Fannie Mae." At the OFHEO Website the report is found in the statement of the OFHEO Director Armando Falcon Jr. dated September 22, 2004. The report (more than 200 pages) is available at .
Rita has signed up for e-mail alerts and will be following this issue.

In addition to OFHEO, the Justice Department and the SEC are investigating. This week the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises (part of the House Committee on Financial Services) will hold hearings about the issue. Documents will be posted at their Website

Monday, October 04, 2004

Three ways to subscribe to this blog

One of the cool things about blogs is that to see if there is new content, you don't necessarily have to load the blog's web page on your browser. There are a number of other ways to be notified of and view newly posted entries in a blog. Imagine, for example, that there are two or three blogs that you view daily. What if you could see in one place (one screen) a list of each of those blogs and all the new postings that have been put up since you last visited?

Here are three ways you can do that:

(1) Register (for free) at Bloglines. You set up an account on this site and enter in the URLs for the feeds (a specific URL that "feeds" blog postings in a standardized layout) into a box on the Bloglines page. Or you can just click the "Subscribe with Bloglines" button on the right side of our Reference at Newman Library blog. Once you set up an account with Bloglines, you can log in to the site from any computer and check to see if there are any new postings since you last logged in.

(2) Set a My Yahoo page (free registration required). Then click the "+My Yahoo!" button on the right side of our blog.

(3) Use the Mozilla Firefox browser. To download and install this great new browser (view multiple web pages in tabs rather than separate windows; built in Google search box; built in pop-up blocker) you'll need to get Systems' permission. In Firefox, you can view blog postings in the list of Bookmarks on the browser toolbar.

I hope to make a presentation about this at the next IS Division meeting. In the meanwhile, you may want to check out these pages about what blogs are really about:

- the best intro to what blogs and feeds herald for the library world:

- My Yahoo page about what RSS (and blogs) are:

Friday, October 01, 2004

Free EDGAR databases

Prof. Josh Mills asked about EDGAR databases with text search features. I know of only two that are still free on the Web: EDGARscan and SECinfo.

EDGARscan is a product of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and offers word, phrase and Boolean seaching on a form that also allows for filtering by company name, industry, SIC code, type of filing, and date or date range. You can also choose a particular document and search in it. Reports have hyperlinked table of contents so users can go direct to parts of the text, footnotes or financial tables. The financials can be downloaded into Excel. The real purpose of this database is to offer a way to compare company data and PWC normalizes the financials so that the data is comparable across companies. So be careful, some users might want to see the financials "as reported". EDGARscan is at

SECinfo at is free but users must register. Once you pull up the reports by company, they allow text searching of "the recent filings or all filings" and return the paragraphs with the search terms. Reports have hyperlinked table of contents and financials can be downloaded. The home page also offers direct access to recent filings by type as well as lists of today's filings, yesterday's filings, or the most recent filings. And uniquely, they parse the 8K's so you can see lists of which companies are filing 8K's to announce mergers, auditor changes, bankruptcy, delisting, new management, or other significant events.

Quest or Qwest?

Students in Prof. Merchant's auditing class (ACC5400) have to research the financial fraud that Qwest has been involved in over the last few years. The assignment mentions two articles from the Wall Street Journal (on 4/2/04 and 6/22/04) but names the company as Quest when it is actually Qwest. The case has been extensively covered in the press, in analysts' reports, and in SEC filings (many 8K's and ammended 10K's).