Researching: An Inside Job

“The film that cost $20,000,000,000,000 to make” is the tagline for the 2011 Oscar winning documentary, Inside Job.  If you haven’t already seen it, you can check it out from the Van Pelt Video Collection, click here for its availability in VCat.  The documentary is both informative and well researched.  We can do much of the same research in databases available at the Penn Libraries.  So, if you are interested in fact checking the fact checkers take a look in the resources described below.

Factiva is a newspaper article database that covers 25,000+ sources globally.  Search for articles written on or around a certain date or about a specific topic.  In the database, go to Search => Search Builder. Wall Street Journal For example, run a search for the keywords financial crisis in the date range 09/01/2008 – 09/30/2008. Everyone from the Associated Press to Women’s Wear Daily were talking about the financial crisis; 22,927 total articles. See our previous post for additional suggestions for researching historical newspaper articles.

The documentary says that giants like Lehman Brothers and AIG had credit ratings of at least AA days before their collapse. Find historical credit ratings from the three major rating agencies, Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P, on Bloomberg.  Bloomberg terminals are available in the Lippincott Library and in Huntsman Hall. Type the following into the command line:


Below is a screenshot of AIG’s credit rating history. AIG was rated A2 by Moody’s as of September 15, 2008.

AIG Credit Ratings

ProQuest Congressional covers U.S. legislative publications and government information.  Much of the material is full-text and includes pending bills, laws, legislative histories, committee reports and documents. Congressional hearings and select committee prints are also a part of the database. Try a search for financial crisis to retrieve more than 1,085 documents.  Many of them are from the Congressional Record Daily or CRS Reports. Other subjects to search on are: business cycles and economic policy.

The Penn Libraries also have access to transcripts from conference calls. These can be found in the database called Thomson One. Note that Thomson One only works in Internet Explorer. In the database, go to Screening & Analysis  => Research => Research Search. Click on the magnifying glass next to Contributor and select Thomson Reuters Streetevents. Set your date range to whatever you’d like (the default is the past 90 days).  Thomson StreetEventsA search on September 2008 will find conference calls relevant to the financial crisis like the September 17, 2008 preliminary transcript “Barclays Plc Announces Agreement to Acquire Lehman Brothers.”

Use Westlaw Business (Livedgar) to search for SEC filings. This database includes all SEC filings in addition to documents on M&A, restructuring, and legal and business due diligence.

One thought on “Researching: An Inside Job

  1. Pingback: Coding Games – Finding Information for U.S. Micro-Industries | Datapoints

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