|Weekly News Digest
August 21, 2008 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.
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SEC Announces a New IDEA—The Successor to EDGAR
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC; www.sec.gov) has announced the successor to the agency’s 1980s-era EDGAR database (Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval), which is designed to give investors far faster and easier access to key financial information about public companies and mutual funds. The new system is called IDEA, short for Interactive Data Electronic Applications. Based on a completely new architecture being built from the ground up, it will at first supplement and then eventually replace the EDGAR system. The decision to replace EDGAR marks the SEC’s transition from collecting forms and documents to making the information itself freely available to investors to give them better and more up-to-date financial disclosure in a form they can readily use.
The IDEA logo will begin to appear immediately on the SEC’s website as the agency transitions to making IDEA the new primary source for all SEC filings. Companies’ interactive data filings, in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), are expected to be available through IDEA beginning late this year. (In April 2005, the SEC began a voluntary interactive data filing program, which allowed public companies to voluntarily submit XBRL documents as exhibits to periodic reports and investment company act filings.)
Currently, most SEC filings are available only in government-prescribed forms through EDGAR. Investors looking for information must sift through one form at a time and then rekeyboard the information—a painstaking task. With IDEA, investors will be able to instantly collate information from thousands of companies and forms and create reports and analysis on-the-fly, in any way they choose.
Investors and others who currently use EDGAR will be able to continue doing so for the indefinite future. During the transition to IDEA, investors will be able to take advantage of new interactive, IDEA-like features that will be grafted onto EDGAR in the short-run. This will make it possible for investors to tap IDEA’s advanced search capabilities and to use the information from EDGAR within spreadsheets and analytical software—something that was never possible with EDGAR. The EDGAR database will also continue to be available as an archive of company filings for past years.
[For background on the SEC’s decision to replace EDGAR and the companies involved in the process, see the October 2006 NewsBreak by Marydee Ojala, "The SEC’s Plans to Reinvent EDGAR," http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=18423. See also her NewsBreak this week about the SEC’s recommendations on the use of company websites, http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=50320. Watch for a future NewsBreak with more details of the IDEA system as it becomes available. —Ed.]
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