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2006.12.20 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

New Accounting Research Tool Attracts Attention

Omaha - The College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has created a research tool that is changing the way academic researchers around the world collect data for studies in accounting, finance, corporate governance and management issues.  DirectEDGAR, an SEC filing search tool invented by Assistant Professor Burch Kealey to help his own studies, is increasingly being seen as valuable by other researchers trying to conduct research with data from company filings made through the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) EDGAR service.

"What we have developed is probably the most efficient and effective way for academic researchers to collect data from the Security and Exchange Commission's filings," Kealey said.  "What used to take hours and hours now can be done in seconds.  It increases productivity and eliminates time-consuming drudgery."

The technology involved with DirectEDGAR was developed by Kealey, who teaches and conducts research in UNO's accounting department.  The software organizes the collection of SEC filings for more than 6,000 companies traded on the major U.S. exchanges. The filing collections are updated quarterly and indexed using ISYS Search Software.  It's a system for academics designed by academics, Kealey said.

Kealey initially displayed his tool at a meeting of academic researchers in Chicago more than a year ago.  At that time he was surprised with the interest that researchers from other schools displayed in the technology.  In Chicago, Kealey was approached by The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania about licensing DirectEDGAR for use by their faculty.

"Wharton Research Data Services is a unit of The Wharton School that has been on the leading edge of developing technology solutions to make it easier for academic researchers to get access to unique data sets needed in academic research," Kealey said.  "Their initial interest was particularly gratifying because they have the most active and technologically advanced research data support group.  Their technology is used by government agencies like the SEC and the Federal Reserve and more than 100 of the most highly regarded academic research schools around the country."

Michael Boldin, the director of Research Services for Wharton Research Data Services, said that DirectEDGAR goes beyond simple SEC document searching and document retrieval.

"It is the only product that we found that could integrate fast, free-form searching across selected SEC forms and filings with a screening of companies using the SEC's CIK identification system, and then create either a list or archive of qualifying documents," he said.  "By taking advantage of a vast array of public information in the SEC's EDGARsystem, DirectEDGAR allows our faculty to quickly and efficiently build customized data extracts."

Kealey said that DirectEDGAR only recently became possible because of significant advances in search technology.  DirectEDGAR relies on the ability to use special filtering technology built into a search engine licensed from ISYS Search Software.

"As one of the technological backbones to DirectEDGAR, ISYS is pleased to see the success Kealey has experienced with the product," said Dave Haucke, vice president of global marketing, ISYS Search Software.  "ISYS continually strives to provide a flexible, effective search solution, as evidenced with Kealey's creation of DirectEDGAR.  The product is a real-life example of the value search technology can provide."  ISYS was recently nominated for a KMWorld┬« Promise award for their work with Kealey. 

DirectEDGAR has already been adopted by The Wharton School of the University of Penssylvania, The Belk College of Business at the University of North Carolina and California State University at Fullerton. All told, more than twenty universities around the country are evaluating DirectEDGAR for purchase.

"Universities and colleges all over the world study SEC filings because the US markets are considered a key engine of worldwide economic growth," Kealey said.  "DirectEDGAR overcomes the problem of dealing with a tremendous flood of information that has to be processed and managed for academic studies that can involve data collection from the filings of thousands of companies.

"Early on in this project we thought that the work being done by Dr. Kealey was groundbreaking,  and now other individuals and institutions are beginning to realize the vast potential of his product," said Louis Pol, dean of the UNO College of Business Administration.

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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