New online guides: Using specialist business databases

25 February 2019 Leave a comment

You may not have seen many updates on Business Research Plus lately. That’s because we have been busy working on a new set of online resources…

keys banner purple

The Using specialist business database guides are written to help students and researchers to make effective and accurate use of the specialist financial and business databases available at The University of Manchester. They are designed to help you to help yourselves, where possible. The guides titled “Getting help in [name of database]” will direct you to the training and support that is offered by the provider of that database. The other guides offer tips, research skills and common pitfalls to avoid. Some of our workshop handouts are here too.

If you find that these guides are not enough, you may wish to search our blog Business Research Plus for older posts that go into much more detail.

How are the guides organised?

Visit the guides homepage for a list of all the guides. They are organised into the following topics.

Categories: Updates

Welcome to Business Research Plus

27 July 2011 1 comment

Business Research Plus header 2015

From specialist databases to business literature, Business Research Plus provides advice and tips based on The University of Manchester Library Business Data Service resources and expertise.  See our About page for more details.

  • Library Research Plus provides expert insight from The University of Manchester Library’s Research Services for researchers in all disciplines including business.
  • My Learning Essentials, the Library’s award-winning skills progamme includes online resources with a wealth of useful tips on searching, referencing, writing to support personal and professional development.

Exploring our resources – try the Business and Management Resources page (Subject Guides),  scroll down to category or tag cloud in the right-hand column or search this blog (top right). For latest news see @UML_BDS 

How do I access WRDS via SAS Studio?

2 January 2020 Leave a comment

Most of the time, databases in WRDS are accessed via the standard web interface. If you have an individual WRDS account, you may prefer to access the databases directly via SAS scripts.  This will allow you to write large, efficient queries that combine data sets, then download just the resulting data. It is particularly useful for BoardEx which has many linked tables of data (for example, the gender of a person is kept in a different table to the employment history, linked by person ID). See SASsyFridays Introduction to SAS to learn more about the SAS.

You can access to WRDS via SAS in one of following ways:

  1. PC SAS on Windows
  2. SAS Studio
  3. WRDS Cloud (advanced)

Using PC SAS on Windows

PC SAS on Windows

PC SAS on Windows (image via WRDS)

WRDS provide a training exercise for PC SAS. It requires the use of a PC with SAS installed, such as the Eddie Davies Finance Zone, Humanities Bridgeford Street 2.1 and 2.2, and George Kenyon computer clusters.

Using SAS Studio

SAS Studio with Compustat

SAS Studio (image via WRDS)

WRDS provide a training exercise for SAS Studio. It works via the web. This is the newest method available and perhaps the easiest to configure.

Using WRDS Cloud (advanced)

QSAS results

WRDS Cloud accessed via the command line

PGR and academic researchers can write SAS scripts, upload them to run on the WRDS Cloud server then download the results. See our (slightly out-of-date) blog posts on WRDS Cloud for more details.

Using Eventus via SAS

One of the databases you can use via SAS is Eventus. There is a slight change of syntax that may be required if you use SAS Studio with the SAS data set containing the Fama-French factors:

  • Documentation says: Eventus Monthly FFF=FF.Factors;
  • Change for SAS Studio: Eventus Monthly FFF=ff.Factors_monthly;
Categories: Data Analysis Tags: , ,

Bloomberg monthly seminars for students 2019-20

7 October 2019 Leave a comment

webinar graphicLast month the Bloomberg student monthly webinars resumed. Sign up and gain more insight into how to use the Bloomberg terminal. Please find below the dates and times (GMT) for the webinars planned for the rest of this year.

Commodities & Econ:

  • 29/01/2020 : 12:00 PM
  • 26/02/2020 : 12:00 PM
  • 25/03/2020 : 12:00 PM


  • 28/01/2020 : 12:00 PM
  • 25/02/2020 : 12:00 PM
  • 31/03/2020 : 12:00 PM

Fixed Income:

  • 29/01/2020 : 1:00 PM
  • 26/02/2020 : 1:00 PM
  • 25/03/2020 : 1:00 PM


  • 28/01/2020 : 1:00 PM
  • 25/02/2020 : 1:00 PM
  • 31/03/2020 : 1:00 PM


  • 30/01/2020 : 12:00 PM
  • 27/02/2020 : 12:00 PM
  • 26/03/2020 : 12:00 PM

Islamic Finance:

  • 30/01/2020 : 1:00 PM
  • 27/02/2020 : 1:00 PM
  • 26/03/2020 : 1:00 PM

Bloomberg Query Language (BQL), new API:

  • 30/01/2020 : 11:00 AM
  • 27/02/2020 : 11:00 AM
  • 26/03/2020 : 11:00 AM

For students that are using the Bloomberg terminal to download data, the BQL seminar will be very useful in making sure they do this efficiently.

Once you sign up you will receive confirmation the following day after 9am GMT and will be able to join these using your personal laptops and computers.

Access to all webinars will be via meeting Link :

Conference Access Code : 4842-0011

Bloomberg for Education Symposium 2019 highlights

14 June 2019 Leave a comment
Bloomberg cup

Bloomberg cup and flyer

On 14 June 2019 I went to the annual Bloomberg for Education Symposium in London. It was a good way to keep up with developments in this highly regarded and utilised finance tool, plus a chance to network with other business librarians and academics.

I made extensive notes, too many topics to cover here, but I have summarised the highlights most relevant to our Business Data Service colleagues at The University of Manchester Library.

  1. Bloomberg Market Concepts has been updated
  2. BQL is set to improve Excel download efficiency
  3. A few other things

1. Bloomberg Market Concepts has been updated

  • The online certification course Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) has a new module course titled ‘Portfolio Management’. This module covers the role of a portfolio manager, creating a portfolio, analysing historical performance, and evaluating future risk. It brings the total approximate duration of BMC to 12 hours, across five content modules plus the ‘Getting Started’ module.
  • The content across all the modules has been updated (56% of questions) to reflect changes in the sector.

2. BQL is set to improve Excel download efficiency

  • The traditional Excel commands to download Bloomberg data (such as BDP) often require users to download many data points to perform calculations. Such downloads commonly trip an institution’s daily or monthly download limits.
  • An extensive new query language BQL has been launched which allows for powerful expression building; you can run commands that are executed on the Bloomberg servers and download just the results you need. It will also help with creating historical constituent lists.
  • “BQL is the future for delivering data” says Gareth Jones, Regional Head of Application Specialists. So we (well, mostly me) should spend some time learning it and delivering it to students and academics.

3. A few other things

  • Case studies have been rebranded ‘Bloomberg Businessweek’ and individual titles can be assigned to different students in a class by their professor.
  • Python is the most useful programming language for data analysts working in Bloomberg, it is highly desirable for employability.
  • We looked at many news functions, including sentiment analysis from social media, natural language processing, and a weekly news quiz to play across your institution.

Creating indexes and constituent lists for industries in Datastream — EDSC manuals, tips & tricks

17 July 2018 Leave a comment

Creating indexes and constituent lists for industries in Datastream Worldscope (DW) Equity Datatypes A comprehensive set of new fundamental datatypes is now available for Datastream Global Equity indices and equities. The data is sourced from Worldscope and based on a trailing twelve month period if applicable. The data represents the sum of the relevant item […]

via Creating indexes and constituent lists for industries in Datastream — EDSC manuals, tips & tricks

Categories: Business Databases Tags:

Bloomberg monthly webinars for students

17 April 2018 Leave a comment

webinarBloomberg have asked us to pass on the following details of monthly webinars aimed at training students to use several useful functions of the platform.

In efforts to provide further support for universities and to allow students to get training on Bloomberg across key market sectors, we has set up a series of monthly webinars that run the first Friday of every month.


Students need to simply sign up to the sessions they wish to attend. Once they fill the form in, they will receive an invite to self select which slot they want within a week. Once confirmed, we will then send out the login details within 24 hours. If anyone signs up after the Tuesday prior to the Friday webinar, they will automatically be signed up for the following month.

The next session is Friday, 4 May 2018 (cut off: Tuesday, 1 May).

Bloomberg webinar background



Dissertation Research

19 October 2017 1 comment

When seeking to complete a dissertation in the area of Accounting & Finance, a key consideration is ‘Research Feasibility’. This can be summarised by the statement:


Can I obtain the data I require, in a timely manner, to successfully complete my research?


A typical one year MSc course would allocate 3 months at the end, to complete the disseration. The gathering of company financial quantitative data, (from sources such as: Thomson Reuters Datastream, S&P Capital IQ, Bloomberg Professional, Compustat via WRDS: Wharton Research Data Service) is fundamental to the success of the research.


What can go wrong?


  1. Data is not available:  It is not contained within the databases the university subscribes to. The years required are not covered. The student is off-campus and the data is only accessible on-campus (as is the case for Datastream and Bloomberg Professional).
  2. Research Proposal:  This may be too ambitious. For example, a student reads an accounting/finance journal article and decides to try to replicate all or part of the research contained within the article. This can be problematic, as the academic probably spent two or more years completing the research – greater than the time available for an MSc dissertation.
  3. Topic:  The choice of topic can be influenced by a desire to work in a particular area of finance. Unfortunately, this may lead to the key difficulty when conducting research – Data is Not Available.

Data is the foundation on which any analysis is based. Where this is difficult to obtain, time pressures may result, leading to the possibility of failure to submit the dissertation on time.

Whilst it could be argued that the difficulties experienced by students in working on their dissertation are part of the research process, as a Librarian, my approach is different: how can I be most helpful, in assisting the student to successfully complete their research?


Helpful Suggestions


  1. Pilot Project: Essentially this means establishing the best source – there could be more than one available. Also, how to search the source productively. Also, whether all the years of data required are covered.
  2. Seek Guidance:  This follows directly from point one above. It may be that the most efficient method (shortest time to collect what is required) is not known to the student. Guidance from a Librarian can demonstrate the best source and search method, drawing on years of experience in supporting student dissertation research.
  3. Explore Resources:  With so many sources available to students, the difficulty is often one of familiarity – knowing which databases are available and how they can be accessed. A Library web site is a good place to start. The example below is the subject guide for ‘Business and Management’, at the University of Manchester.


Database Guide

Business & Management Guide


One of the sections is  for ‘Specialist financial databases’. These are useful for dissertation research:


Financial Databases

Specialist Databases




Making the best use of resources by seeking guidance from Librarians and planning ahead (pilot study) can help to ensure a dissertation is successfully completed. The key factor being, the ability to secure data, on which to base any analysis.


Previous related post, in the Library Research Plus blog:

Research Feasibility [18 February 2015]