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Pic of the Week: SEC! SEC! SEC!

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And no,  sports fans, I do not mean the Southeastern Conference of college athletics fame.  In this case I am talking about the Securities & Exchange Commission.

SEC microfiche cabinets

In the Science & Business Reading Room, we have a microfiche set of SEC company filings that is one of our more regularly used items.  I have featured the rather innocuous cabinets that hold this set in this post because for some reason, it has been even more popular for the last few weeks.

We get many questions via Ask a Librarian and at the Business Reference Desk about where to find pre-EDGAR company filings, i.e. those prior to 1994/1995.  This set from Q-Data Corp. is one that I recommend to users quite frequently.  It covers the years 1978-1994 and contains the more important filings like 10Ks, 10Qs, Proxies, and some 8Ks for the Fortune/Forbes 500 type companies.

While I am on the topic of microfiche sets of company filings, I want to mention two other microfiche sets that are also popular.  These sets contain glossy company annual reports.  One set ends in 1974 but can begin as far back as the mid to late 19th century depending on the company and the other set covers roughly the years 1975-1983.  Neither set contains annual reports for all companies or all annual reports for those companies it does cover, but they are both great  resources.  We also subscribe to the database Proquest Historical Annual Reports that is available for those on-site.

If you want to know other ways to find SEC filings and annual reports you can always submit a question to Business Reference Staff via Ask a Librarian.

Comments (2)

  1. Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that these bits of fiche haven’t been scanned? I know that some folks have had decent results using photo scanners to read the fiche and certainly auto feed devices are available.

  2. Charlie, I am going to guess that since that set is actually from a private publisher that is no longer around that is why that set hasn’t been. As to why they don’t digitize all historical SEC filings – that may be in the works though it would be a massive undertaking.

    I will say that at my previous job we actually called Disclosure (and later ordered them though Global Access, now part part of Thomson Reuters) for archived SEC filings and they printed them out from microfiche. I wouldn’t be surprised if once a filing has been requested from Thomson Reuters on Demand that is isn’t digitized at that time.

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