And while the emphasis on the “now” is not typically as critical for the business research purposes, even traditional research databases have tried to integrate a range of real-time or near real-time news, social, and other up to the second sources to give the searcher the opportunity to access what’s “happening new”.
And, sure, in many cases the value of a piece of information is directly related to its currency, say a press release, an executive change, an announced merger, earnings report, product recall, or other actions where it’s important to access that just released information as quickly as possible.
But it’s also important to know where to turn when you need older business information—something published months, years, decades or even many decades ago. You might need to do this when you need to do historical economic research, find a comment from a CEO that reflects his or her company’s strategy at a particular point in time, read about a proposed merger or acquisition or an opening or closing of a business, or get an analysis of a new industry or any other countless research queries that require going back in time.
But this can be hard to do, since the availability of deep archives, both on the free Web and even on traditional professional online services, can be non-existent or hard to turn up.
So, in honor of the venerable and old, here are a few of my favorite places that business researchers can quickly and easily turn to that provide a deep searchable archive.
HighBeam a searchable database of magazine and journal articles has been around a long time, and promotes a database of over 80 million items culled from 6,500 publications, with an archive, depending on the particular journal, going back over 25 years. While there is a modest fee to search the service, you can sign up for a 7 day trial at no charge.
The Wall Street Transcript was launched in print in 1963 and today offers over 15 year archive of direct transcripts of one on one conversations between its reporters and CEOs of public U.S. Companies. There are over 21,000 interviews that can be searched by company or personal name, and while it is an expensive subscription based service, you can register to search the entire database and view excerpts of all interviews older than two years at no charge.
Fair Disclosure Wire offers transcripts of a wide range of conferences, quarterly earnings, and other public releases and significant events that publicly held companies are required to share with the public. While there are some good free sites on the Web for finding these transcripts, when you want to go back several years, you will want to turn to a couple of the traditional fee based services, specifically LexisNexis and Factiva. (A full review and analysis of where to search and find company announcement transcripts was published in the January/February issue of The Information Advisor's Guide to Internet Research).
What about Google? Is it possible to do deep archive research on Google? Yes, to an extent. Because Google’s own algorithm prioritizes the newest and most recently updated sites, you will normally see the newest sites, articles, news etc. at the top of your results list. But you may not be aware that it is possible to restrict results just to a certain time frame in the past. You do this by clicking on the “search tools” link below the right side of the search bar after your run your search, and then click the “anytime” drop down arrow on the line below on the left to input your own custom time frame, (which can go back to the late 1990s when Google was launched). See the images below for a search on Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings, mentioned along with the company Blockbuster, but restricted to the years 2003-2004.