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IBM Redbooks Provide What You Need, Where and When You Need It

The Redbooks program runs nearly 250 projects per year, involving more than 1,000 SMEs. Each project is directed by a skilled IBM Redbooks Project Leader, typically an acknowledged expert in the subject field. The process begins with the selection of topics based on customer demand and applicability to the marketplace. The program’s original mandate was to cover product-specific information across all IBM business units; it’s long since broadened to also cover strategic solutions that span IBM’s solution portfolio in relevant areas such as analytics, cloud computing, Smarter Cities*, Smarter Commerce* and industry-specific solutions.

Once a topic has been selected, a call for nominations goes out via electronic channels including email, website, RSS and Twitter. Individuals can apply for a residency themselves or nominate others. Each residency offers participants the opportunity to meet leading development lab SMEs, build a worldwide peer network and return with new knowledge immediately applicable to their local business needs. Although residents volunteer their time, the ITSO covers travel and accommodation expenses (see “Get Involved”).

“People love to publish under the IBM Redbooks brand because it gives them incredible credibility and the knowledge that they’re helping thousands of people around the globe,” Kelsey says. “Several IBM Redbooks authors have told me that writing an IBM Redbooks publication demonstrates to others that they have world-class expertise.”

Resident teams meet at ITSO centers, where they spend anywhere from a few days to up to four weeks working intensively with the products and lab personnel in the selected solution area. They document the experience and collaborate to generate IBM Redbooks content. Although the ideal scenario involves all of the project’s residents working together on-site for the entire residency period, the ITSO recognizes that today’s global economy requires flexibility and now offers hybrid residencies in which time-constrained SMEs work on-site full time for a week or so, then participate part time remotely for the remainder of the project, often using social-media-based tools to facilitate the process.

The IBM Redbooks residency program is not just U.S.-based. In 2012, for example, the ITSO ran projects in Moscow, Istanbul, Shanghai, Beijing, Sao Paulo and Bangalore.

Finding the Right Resource

Google has a great search function for finding Rebooks publications. Also, from the IBM Redbooks home on IBM’s website, you can perform a general search for any topic or use the advanced search, which offers two ways to find the book you’re seeking. The first is a keyword search that uses the Boolean operators of AND, OR and NOT and searches the metadata, including the description, table of contents and authors. You can also search the metadata for an exact phrase by enclosing it in double quotation marks. The second search goes deeper, including the full text of publications rather than just the metadata. Once inside a search, if you find you have too many responses, you can narrow the existing search with more terms.

The site also groups books by topic, software brand or specific server family. Each portal displays the most recently published and most popular books.

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.



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