February 2, 2006

Reference Desk OAQs: Finding GDP Data

Q. I would like to compare the GDP Venezuela from 1980 to the present in US dollars.

A. The easiest way to do this is with the Global Market Information Database (GMID), located on the BEL website Fast Access to Key Databases. The database is a little tricky to manipulate, but there’s a ton of information there once you relax and just go with the GMID/Euromonitor flow. Once you’ve accepted the terms of use, select Keyword Search and type in “GDP Venezuela.” It will show you a variety of GDP statistics – select Total GDP, Venezuela. From there you may select the time series you would like to view, as well as the currency (for US currency you can select a fixed rate of exchange or a year-on-year rate).

NOTE: you can also get at the data by selecting the geography (click once on the plus sign next to Latin America & Caribbean to view all countries in the region, then click once on Venezuela to select it), then selecting the category (Economic Indicators – >GDP – >Total GDP), then hit the big red button that says Run Search. Make sure you click on the plus sign, rather than the name of the region. If you select the region name, then effectively you are highlighting all the countries in that region (this happened to me several times before I realized it). This route is more complicated, but in the process you can see what kinds of information are generally collected in the GMID.

Erin G.

Posted by at 10:03 AM

January 30, 2006

Reference Desk OAQs: Credit Ratings of Defunct Companies

Q. Where can I find the credit ratings of a company that went out of business 10+ years ago?

A. There are multiple sources you could try to find your company information. BEL maintains the most recent edition of the Mergent Industrial Manual and Mergent OTC Industrial Manual – (in previous years it was Moody’s Industrial Manual and Moody’s OTC Industrial Manual) – you would need to consult these back issues in the stacks. These two sources should be the first thing you should try (we’ve had the most luck with them), however you could also try:

Research Insight (available in the BEL computer lab as Compustat Research Insight) retains 20 years of financial data on 12,000 publicly traded companies;

Hoover's Business Boneyard (click Hoover’s Online under BEL’s Fast Access to Key Databases) contains information on thousands of companies that no longer exist; and, finally,

Corporate Text (available in the BEL computer lab), which contains annual, quarterly, and proxy reports on companies from 1987-1995.

Erin G.

Posted by at 11:24 AM

November 2, 2005

Reference Desk OAQs: Food Market Research

Q. For my FSHN 466 assignment, I need market research concerning the food product that I'm developing.

A. There are many sources that are likely to help you with this task. Here are a few.

Mintel: An important resource for market information, Mintel Market Intelligence produces hundreds of reports on a variety of industries. It’ll take a moment to register, but then you’ll have access to a large range of reports. You’ll find Mintel in the Alphabetical List of Databases drop down menu on the BEL website.

Datamonitor/Marketline Business Information Centre: Many, many reports on industries, companies and countries. Industry reports contain, among other things, market analysis and segmentation and the competitive landscape. Company reports contain SWOT analyses. Found in the Alphabetical List of Databases.

Market Share Reporter: Print resource of “reported market share data on companies, products, and services.” Produced annually.

Business Source Premier and ABI Inform Trade & Industry: Good for news and journal articles on specific companies, once you determine the key players in your market of interest. They can also be handy for seeking out trends in the industry generally. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not finding the results you seek – start off with a more general query and play with your search terms. Found in the Alphabetical List of Databases.

Erin G.

Posted by at 4:15 PM

October 20, 2005

Reference Desk OAQs: OneSource

Q. How awesome is OneSource?

A. Very. Here are just a few things you can do with OneSource (located in BEL’s Fast Access to Key Databases), once you have registered for it (it’s free for UIUC users and it takes about 5 minutes to get the email with the password).

Research Companies: If you have a company you need more information on, OneSource is a good place to start. If you search for a company (Google, for example), you’ll get a list of companies that match your search. Make sure you select the Parent company (you’ll see a column titled Company Type on the far right hand side). The next page has all sorts of information – from the corporate address to links to financial statements and its top competitors.

Find companies by location/industry/sales/etc.
: Looking for a job? Select Find Companies and then start narrowing your search – you’ll see your progress on the right-hand side. The database starts with well over a half million companies – if I click Metro Area and choose Chicago, I’m already down to 10,439. If I want companies with less than 100 employees, I’d choose Employment and do less than or equal to 100. That takes me down to 9,000. Now I want to choose the primary industry, so I select Aerospace & Defense, which brings me down to 21 companies. That’s enough for me, so I choose to Run Reports and then I select Quick List, which gives me vitals for each of my companies.

Find the big players in a particular industry: Go to Profile Industry and you can choose whatever field you’re interested in (you can either select the general industry – such as Food & Tobacco – and then it will automatically scroll to the proper location on the right-hand side list, or you can go straight to the scrolling bar on the right). As an example, I’ll select tobacco from the list. It takes you to a page with corresponding SIC codes, Analysts’ Reports, Industry participants (which are clickable and will then take you to their company profile) as well as Top Participants (by sales, employees, or assets), related association websites, and article on industry trends.

In short, OneSource is a great resource for companies and industries, with links to crucial outside information.

Erin G.

Posted by at 1:31 PM

October 17, 2005

Reference Desk OAQs: Finding Online Journal Articles

Q. I want to find a journal article online, and I have the journal name and some other bit of information (such as author, title, or issue), and yet I can’t find it.

A. This is a common question, and a simple search and retrieval can be significantly hindered if the citation information isn’t exactly right.

First, I would go to the library homepage and select the Online Research Resources (ORR). Make sure the ‘All Resources’ tab is selected and type in the name of the journal. If you come up with no results, check your spelling, check your source of information, and drop any excessive words (i.e., The, A, And). Still nothing – you’re going to have to a) check the regular online catalog (we may carry the journal in print and not electronically), or b) ask the nearest friendly reference librarian.

If you’ve lucked out and the ORR produced some results, you’re ahead of the game. Many of our journals are duplicated in different databases (typically with different ranges of coverage) – if you know when your article was published, you can select the listing with the right amount of coverage. If you don’t know when the article was in the journal, select the database with the largest time span. Once you’re here, you can search by author, keyword, or date (among other choices), and you’re probably set.

If, however, you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, my last two tricks are these:

1) Look in the plain old online catalog. Online articles are super convenient, but sometimes even when you think you’ve got the article, you can end up with only an abstract. If the online catalog says we have the journal title, usually that means that it’s really physically there – it’s worth a look, even if it is a last resort (and it’s way in the depths of Main Stacks).

2) Go to the Library Site Map, and find the Health Sciences Library webpage. Because UIUC doesn’t have a medical school, our Health Sciences library is run through University of Illinois – Chicago, and while we are both part of the same outfit, UIC’s online journal coverage is slightly different than UIUC’s. Sometimes that difference is significant, especially when our coverage of a journal only goes back to 1987 and they have full-text back to 1980. At some point the server will ask for identification to make sure you’re part of the University of Illinois system. I can’t promise that UIC is going to have something that UIUC doesn’t, but sometimes you luck out.

Erin G.

Posted by at 1:31 PM

October 11, 2005

Reference Desk OAQs

This column features Occasionally Asked Questions (OAQs) at the BEL Reference Desk, and our suggested resources or research strategies.

So, without further ado, we'll start with a couple of shorties...

Q. How do I find US companies doing business in Taiwan (or Albania, Egypt, Belgium, etc.)?

A. The best place to look would be the Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries (call #382 D626). BEL retains the most recent copy; previous editions are kept in the Main Stacks.

Q. Where can I find definitions in print of categories/subcategories in the IFS?

A. While the International Financial Statistics online is in some ways easier to use, it does present information differently than the print version. The print version (located in BEL Reserves) contains definitions of its terms in the introduction (p. v-xxv in the Yearbook 2004).

Erin G.

Posted by at 10:15 AM