Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ad$pender - The Problem of Zero Results

Ad$pender is usually a wonderful database that gives you advertising budgets for categories of products, companies and brands.  You can use the database from off-campus with your regular net ID and password.

HOWEVER, a common problem is building your query and getting no results.

This is because a data point is missing. Instead of n/a in your results, you just get a big fat zero for the whole thing. Through trial and error, you'll have to adjust your query in order to get results.

I'll let AdSpender explain.

What does “There were no results for the report you requested” mean? This means that there was no activity found for the report you ran. This could happen for a number of reasons. For example, the brands included in your report may not have had any activity during the time period you requested, or perhaps dollars or ratings were not yet available for the time period you included in the report. In this situation you should check data availability or change some of your selections before running your report again.

Note: This tutorial is excellent, but it starts with the old library page. AdSpender still works exactly the same - just find Ad$pender here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Protecting Traditional Knowledge From Copyright

Corporations occasionally try to copyright traditional knowledge, culture, and/or technology.

India has taken the step of creating the traditional digital library which documents traditional knowledge.  This makes it more difficult for corporations to take traditional knowledge and claim that purely for themselves. 

Case in point: the recent case where Colgate Palmolive attempted to copyright a product that used traditional Indian spices - and apparently nothing else. Read about the case here, in which Colgate did not prevail.

Scarecrow Books are Great Intros for Complex Topics

All Scarecrow Press books here. The first one somehow isn't Scarecrow and then the rest are.

I have fond memories of Scarecrow Press. If you needed an introduction or overview of almost anything – the history of Panama, anthropological theorists, you name it - you would eventually run into Scarecrow Press.

Just a couple of hours reading these books did wonders to increase your comprehension of advanced or graduate-level courses.

You can either search the link above or type in your keyword and then the word Scarecrow.

Getting Book Reviews

Don't forget book reviews! Most databases will allow you to select book reviews as a source type. Reason: find out a book's reputation, any hidden context, its significance among experts, and any problems with the book. Most authors are pretty persuasive and you need a second opinion.

Be sure to limit by document type check box

New York Times archives is a good option for nonacademic books published before 2006.

Your best bets for economics are:

Econlit, Business Source Complete and JSTOR.

Be sure to limit results to "review" or "book review," depending on the interface. In Business Source Complete, you gotta click Show More types, and then choose doc types.

You can also use these databases:

InfoTrac Small Business Collection - focuses on less scholarly and practical titles - current management techniques and real world advice about business topics. You can search by book title or type your subject and then "book review."

Wilson OmniFile FullText. A good grabbag. You can limit it to search "book reviews" by a particular. discipline

These are not your only options but are some of the best. You can always check your favorite database to see if it has book reviews.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Using EStatement Studies

EStatement Studies database is where you find industry average ratios for your kind of business.

This is how you find explanations for what you'll see on the screen.

From the home page, click on About eStatement Studies. You'll then see Help Screens like the 2nd picture.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What Do P/E Ratios Really Mean?

Taken from p. 143 of Active Value Investing, the classic book from Vitaliy N. Katsenelson.

P/E (price per earning) refers to the amount of money stock investors are willing to pay for the stock as reflected in its stock price. First, determine how much the company is earning per share. Then check the stock price. Divide the current stock price by the earnings per share number. You have the P/E ratio!

So is a high P/E a good or bad sign? Depends.

A new growth stock will typically show much higher P/E ratios than an established company. Once a company stops growing rapidly, the P/E ratio will actually decline. 

Katsenelson quotes the legendary Benjamin Graham as giving a P/E figure of around 8 as about right for a company with solid fundamentals but low growth.

Katsenelson includes a cool chart on p.143 that shows appropriate levels of P/E in relation to expected levels of growth.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stock Prices from 1984 - Present

Stock Prices from 1984 - Present are available in Standard and Poor's Netvantage.
Mutual Fund Prices from 1998 on....

Once inside, click on Daily Price Record. Voila!

Also: we have print records for stock prices going back to 1972.