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What is XBRL?

November 5, 2008
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XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It is similar to eXtensible Markup Language (XML) which is a programming language that is used to communicate across the internet. What XML did for the internet, XBRL will do for financial reporting.

XBRL provides the ability to electronically tag financial data to a pre-defined dictonary (taxonomy) of known financial definitions (such as Finished Goods Inventory) and periods (such as first quarter 2009). XBRL tagged filings with the SEC would allow investors and others search for financial information electronically over the internet for any given bit of financial information for any given publically filed time period.

Company SEC filings will become increasingly transparant with XBRL. As SEC Chairman Chrstopher Cox says “Interactive data [XBRL] will let the sunshine in as never before.”

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