November 10, 2005

Carissa's Column: Business Software Alliance

The Business Software Alliance ( is “the voice of the world's commercial software industry,” with members such as Adobe, Apple, Cisco Systems, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Macromedia, McAfee, Microsoft, SAP, Sybase, and Symantec. “BSA educates consumers on software management and copyright protection, cyber security, trade, e-commerce and other Internet-related issues.” The website provides links to discussions on policies and issues for 61 countries/regions.

The BSA Research area is accessible through the pages dedicated to US policies and issues ( Reports include:

Higher Education Unlicensed Software Experience – Student and Academics Survey [May 2005]

BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study [May 2005]

There is also a separate area for CEO Initiative White Papers ( Reports include:

Trade in the Digital Age [June 2005]

Securing Cyberspace in the 21st Century {May 2005}

Posted by choller at 11:11 AM

November 4, 2005

Carissa's Column: Magazine Publishers of America

Magazine Publishers of America ( is an association that bills itself as “The Definitive Resource for the Magazine Industry.” The association’s website provides articles, reports, and statistical tables in areas such as Advertising, Circulation, Editorial, Government Action, and Finance & Operations. As with most association websites, a considerable amount of content is restricted to members, but there is enough quality free content on this site to make a visit worthwhile. Some areas that might be of interest:

Advertising Trends

Circulation Trends

Editorial Trends (from the American Society of Magazine Editors)

Market profiles for the African-American/Black, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino, and Teen markets

The Magazine Handbook – A Comprehensive Guide for Advertisers, Advertising Agencies and Consumer Magazine Marketers 2005/06

Posted by choller at 4:10 PM

November 3, 2005

Carissa's Column: Today's Front Pages

The Newseum ( offers a unique service: free access to pdf versions of the front pages of newspapers from around the world ( Today’s offerings: 443 front pages from 45 countries. Want to see today’s Wall Street Journal headlines? You can choose from among the Eastern (New York), Asia (Hong Kong) or Europe (Brussels) editions. From the Abilene Reporter-News to the Yakima Herald-Republic, there’s something for anyone with an interest in local, national, or international news.

Posted by choller at 12:45 PM

October 31, 2005

Carissa's Column: FIN 300 Bond Tutorial

In honor of the recently distributed FIN 300 (Financial Markets) Bond Project here at UIUC, BEL has created an entirely new tutorial to help the students in locating certain information for their assignments. It was suggested that this tutorial might be useful to researchers in general, and not only to those individuals currently experiencing the Bond Project. Any comments or suggestions for improvement are welcome – we’re always looking for ways to make it easier for our customers to find what they need.

Posted by choller at 10:53 AM

August 16, 2005

Carissa's Column: StatAbs – Collections of Tables on Selected Topics

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is arguably THE starting point for locating statistics on any topic. I could be writing this entry for the rest of the year – during which time the next StatAbs would come out – and still not do justice to the wealth of information contained therein. Instead, I will content myself by making note of a “Supplemental Feature” of the current StatAbs that may expedite some of your research.

Under the heading of “Collections of Tables on Selected Topics,” a series of tables pertaining to defined groups have been compiled under one link. For example, if you are searching for statistics on the “Black, African American Population,” click the link to be taken to a compilation of tables in the current StatAbs that contain statistics on this group. Other groups covered include the “American Indian, Alaska Native Population,” “Asian Population,” “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Population,” “Asian, Pacific Islander Population,” and “Hispanic or Latino Origin Population.”


Posted by neugebau at 1:58 PM

August 5, 2005

Carissa's Column: Getting the Deal Through

Getting the Deal Through” is a series of volumes addressing “essential questions concerning a particular field of business law…answered by expert practitioners with regard to their respective jurisdictions.”

Luckily, for those who do not have the print volumes, Law Business Research Limited provides a website that gives excerpts. You can retrieve an overview of legal requirements related to your topic of interest (e.g., Corporate Governance, Insolvency & Restructuring, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity-Fund Formation, Private Equity-Transaction, etc.). Within each topic, you can narrow the results further to address specific questions, and further yet to focus on specific countries. At the end of each entry, you can click on “Next Step” to find the firm that was responsible for the entry, and visit their website or contact them for further information. Of course, none of this constitutes legal advice, and the site itself encourages users to “Always seek specific legal advice from experienced local advisers.” But if you’re just interested in getting a basic understanding of deal-related laws in the U.S. and internationally, this site seems to be a great place to start.


Posted by neugebau at 3:41 PM

July 29, 2005

Carissa's Column: Pew Internet & American Life Project

In acknowledgment of the report released this week on “Teens and Technology” (pdf), I thought I would highlight the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The organization describes itself as follows (from the Mission section):

The Pew Internet & American Life Project produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world.

The basis of the reports are nationwide random digit dial telephone surveys as well as online surveys. This data collection is supplemented with research from government agencies, academia, and other expert venues; observations of what people do and how they behave when they are online; in-depth interviews with Internet users and Internet experts alike; and other efforts that try to examine individual and group behavior. The Project releases 15-20 pieces of research a year, varying in size, scope, and ambition.

Report topics include Online Activities & Pursuits; Demographics; Internet Evolution; Technology & Media Use; Health; Family, Friends & Community; Major News Events; Public Policy; and E-Gov & E-Policy.


Posted by neugebau at 4:15 PM

July 22, 2005

Carissa's Column: The Learning Center – Chicago Board Options Exchange

If options are a source of interest, curiosity, or confusion for you, the Learning Center may be able to address your particular need. The “Options Institute” area provides free online tutorials covering Options Basics, People and Electronics (How a Trade is Made), and Advanced Strategies. The “Options FAQs” and “Options Dictionary” areas provide brief insights into basic options-related questions. Within the “Educational Tools” area, you can find an Options Calculator. And if all else fails, click on “Ask the Institute” and send your question to the experts.


Posted by neugebau at 1:28 PM

July 15, 2005

Carissa's Column: Doing Business / Investment Climate

This week’s resource comes from the World Bank’s Rapid Response Unit There is a lot of terrific information on this site, but I want to focus on the two Data Resources: “Doing Business” and “Investment Climate."

Want to know how many procedures are required to start a business in over 100 different countries? “Doing Business” allows you to select a topic such as Starting a Business, Hiring & Firing Workers, Registering Property, Getting Credit, Protecting Investors, Enforcing Contracts, or Closing a Business and compare statistics across countries. Conversely, you can select a specific country to see how it measures up in each of these areas.

Want to know what more than 28,000 surveyed firms think about the investment climate in 58 countries? “Investment Climate” allows you to select a topic such as Firms' Perceptions, Infrastructure & Services, Finance, Government Policies & Services, Conflict Resolution & Crime, Capacity & Innovation, or Labor Relations and compare statistics across countries. As with “Doing Business,” you can also select an individual country to view its results across all topics.


Posted by neugebau at 1:24 PM

July 8, 2005

Carissa's Column: Risk Management Association (RMA)

The spotlight this week is on the Annual Statement Studies®, specifically the Financial Ratio Benchmarks, produced by the Risk Management Association (RMA).

According to RMA’s Introduction to Annual Statement Studies: Financial Ratio Benchmarks, 2004-2005 and General Organization of Content (link below), institutional members of RMA submit financial information obtained from their commercial customers and prospects (over 190,000 statements in 2004-2005). RMA groups the statements by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), then creates common size financial statements and calculates ratios within each NAICS code. While this is a very rich resource, RMA itself recommends that these studies be used as “general guidelines and not as absolute industry norms” for a variety of reasons explained in the Introduction to… document.

This resource has long been available in print in the Business and Economics Library (BEL), where you will find volumes for 1933 and 1958-1975 (332 R54S) and 1976-2005 (332 R54s1). If you have access to OneSource (UIUC students, faculty and staff can access it through, you may be surprised and delighted (as I recently was) to find that the old Industry Norms have been replaced with the RMA studies for 2002-2003; newer studies are still available in print in BEL. In OneSource, you can access the Financial Ratio Benchmarks in pdf through the following path:

Profile: Industry >> [select an industry from the list provided] >> Industry Norms

Associated links:

RMA Homepage:

Introduction to Annual Statement Studies: Financial Ratio Benchmarks, 2004-2005 and General Organization of Content:

Sample Financial Ratio Benchmarks:

Listing of Industries in the Annual Statement Studies®, sorted by NAICS:


Posted by neugebau at 3:10 PM

June 23, 2005

Carissa's Column

This column is devoted to resources – as broadly defined as possible – that are somewhat (or maybe entirely) off the beaten path of traditional business resources. Some might be familiar to you, but you were unaware of the depth of business information available through them. Some you might have heard of, but never considered as business resources. Some might be so atypical that you’ll wonder at first why they’re included here. But hopefully all of them will give you (1) new perspectives on the types of resources available to help you in your business research, (2) new approaches to compiling your data, and (3) new ideas on how to convey the information to your audience.

So, off the beaten path we go…

At the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a session on Social Network Analysis (SNA). Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., which presented the session, maintains an area on its website devoted to SNA. Here you can find a basic discussion on what SNA is, as well as many links to related resources. Among these related resources, you’ll find They Rule

They Rule is admittedly not the most easily navigated site – it takes 5 clicks to get to the options page – but it is well worth a look. Here you can see the webs (literally) that connect members of company and institution boards. For a single company, you can build webs by clicking on directors’ names to show what other companies’ boards they sit on; you also have the option to “Search” on a board member’s name in 11 sources, or on a company’s name in 16 sources, including Google. When the screen becomes too crowded, click and drag to move the icons for a better view. When you’re ready for something new, click “Clear Map,” and start over again. “Find Connection” will draw a straight path showing how the boards of Company A and Company B overlap; this is the “six degrees of separation” concept. Under the “Load Map” option, you can find ready-made views of different topics of interest; check out “The Magnificent Seven” under the Popular views.

One note about authority and accuracy: the site is credited to Josh On, affiliation unknown. He includes a disclaimer to “…please just see They Rule as a launch pad for investigations and not the definitive representation of reality.”

“They Rule” is a great example of SNA applied to business information. And while the information itself may not be current, the visualization of that information generates interest and prompts questions that encourage further exploration.


Posted by neugebau at 4:53 PM