IBM Documentation — What’s new?
IBM Documentation is the home of IBM’s technical content. Learn about recent enhancements and improvements to the platform interface.
If you work on IBM Z, chances are that you’re very familiar with IBM Documentation and use it frequently or even daily to help you do your job. However, if you’ve heard of IBM Documentation but you’re not 100% sure what it is, let’s start with a brief description.
IBM Documentation is the home of IBM product documentation and is one of the key delivery platforms for technical content at IBM. Technical documentation for over 1,200 of IBM products (including release levels) are hosted on this centralized platform. With IBM Documentation’s recent announcement, that number continues to grow as new products and document types are added to that framework. But more on those additions in a little while.
With IBM Documentation, you can view IBM’s product documentation through ibm.com or in an offline environment called IBM Documentation Offline. IBM Documentation Offline gives you the ability to view product documentation without needing an internet connection. This is a great option for users who want to create their own local environments or companies that require a closed or “dark shop” environment where there is no access to the internet. To learn more about IBM Documentation Offline, visit https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/offline.
IBM Documentation continuously looks for opportunities to enhance and improve the user experience. The following provides an overview of some recent updates.
In addition to technical documentation, announcement letters have been added to the IBM Documentation content portfolio. To locate and view announcement letters generated since 2020, use the Announcement letters link at the top of the IBM Documentation home page. You can also go directly to the announcements landing page.
Figure 1: Announcement letters link in IBM Documentation navigation bar
You’ll be able to search newly-announced products, features, and withdrawal dates. You can also filter recent announcements and those from previous weeks.
When viewing an announcement, you can select the region drop-down menu to see announcement information applicable to your region, view the announcement topics at a glance in the right-hand navigation, and save and download the announcement as a PDF.
Figure 2: Region dropdown menu in the right-hand navigation
IBM Documentation also contains contextual links to announcement information within the product documentation. For example, when you are in a product topic in IBM Documentation that has an associated related announcement, an active Announcement letters link will be visible on the left navigation just below the table of contents. Click the link to view announcements for this product. If there are multiple announcements associated with the product, the link will take you to the product announcement page. Otherwise, the link will take you directly to the announcement letter for that product.
Figure 3: Contextual links to announcement information in left-hand navigation
You’ll find a lot of helpful information about the IBM Documentation platform in About IBM Documentation. Topic areas include an overview, release notes, browser requirements, Searching in IBM Documentation, How to provide feedback, IBM Documentation Offline, Translations and IBM Documentation and Accessibility. You can access About IBM Documentation at https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/about or you can easily navigate to it by selecting the IBM Documentation Help link located at the bottom of pages.
Figure 4: IBM Documentation Help link in the page footer
Let’s take a few minutes to explore some of these areas included in About IBM Documentation:
Interested in seeing a summary of recent updates to IBM Documentation? You’ll want to look at release notes for a summary of major user interface and feature changes.
Searching in IBM
With the Search function, you can specify a word or a phrase to find relevant pieces of content. IBM Documentation is part of IBM unified search and uses APIs to span its search across all technical content at IBM.
“Searching in IBM” provides information on search suggestions, scoped search, contextual search and other related search information.
How to provide feedback
There are two types of feedback that users can provide: feedback on the IBM Documentation platform and feedback on product documentation. Learn more about them in the next section.
IBM Documentation welcomes all feedback. All comments are reviewed. By sharing your feedback, you can help improve your IBM Documentation experience. You will not receive a direct response to your feedback. If you require support and a response to technical comments and questions, visit IBM’s support site to open a defect.
There are two types of feedback that you can provide when using IBM Documentation:
Feedback about the IBM Documentation platform. Examples of feedback include comments about the search and navigation functions or suggestions on how to improve the user experience.
Feedback about the technical product documentation. Examples of feedback include comments on the clarity, accuracy, or completeness of the information.
You can leave feedback about your IBM Documentation experience. This feedback is not product-specific; instead, it focuses on improving the IBM Documentation platform experience. To leave feedback (including ideas for requirements and future enhancements) about the IBM Documentation platform, navigate to the How to provide feedback page in one of several ways:
Bookmark and navigate directly to the How to provide feedback page.
Search “How to to provide feedback” in the IBM Documentation search bar and select the About IBM Documentation.
Select the IBM Documentation Help link at the bottom of the page and select How to provide feedback.
After you navigate to the How to provide feedback page, select “Was this topic helpful?” at the top of the page. When you rate the content with a thumbs up or thumbs down, a dialog appears where you can submit optional comments.
You will not receive a direct response to your feedback. All comments are reviewed. Comments that result in new platform requirements on IBM Documentation will be reflected in the the IBM Documentation Release notes.
IBM Documentation provides a single standardized process for leaving product feedback with its “Was this topic helpful?” link at the top of each product page. Previously, this link was at the bottom of each page, but is now at the top of the page for more visibility. (“Hey, thanks for the feedback on feedback.”) Other methods for providing feedback such as email addresses (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) or Readers’ Comment Forms (for example, the z/VM Readers’ Comment form), will be phased out and no longer used.
By using the “Was this topic helpful?” link at the top of the product page, you can leave feedback on specific IBM technical product documentation. When you rate the content with a thumbs up or thumbs down, a dialog appears where you can leave optional comments before submitting your feedback. If you have comments on a particular page, use the “Was this topic helpful” link on that page because IBM Documentation will automatically capture both the product and the URL of that page. You do not need to include the release level, book title, or any other book-identifying information in your comments. Comments that result in content updates are added to product documentation on a continuous delivery cycle in the latest release.
I used to send my feedback to an email address. How do I leave feedback now? Most users already provide feedback through IBM Documentation. However, if you exclusively used email channels to send feedback, you should now use the “Was this topic helpful” in IBM Documentation to provide feedback.
Is feedback submitted on IBM Documentation anonymous? Yes, no personal user data is collected. IBM Documentation provides an acknowledgement that feedback has been received, but you will not receive a response to feedback.
Can I have a technical documentation concern tracked? Yes. If you require a response to a technical question or concern in the content, you should contact Support or your IBM customer advocate to have your concern tracked.
In addition to feedback, can I submit requirements to IBM Documentation for review? Yes. IBM Documentation has an established process to collect feedback on the IBM Documentation platform. To leave feedback (including ideas for requirements and future enhancements) about the IBM Documentation platform, navigate to the How to provide feedback page.
Is IBM Documentation the only place I can share my feedback? Feedback should be provided through “Was this Topics Helpful?” on the IBM Documentation platform. You can also work with your IBM Advocate who can also submit feedback on your behalf.
Can I still send an attachment to show where in the documentation my comment pertains to? IBM Documentation has established processes to collect feedback and requirements through “Was this Topic Helpful?” on the IBM Documentation platform. You can also work with your IBM Advocate who can submit feedback on your behalf which will be routed to the z/OS Documentation team. Only feedback and comments provided on these channels will be reviewed.
As part of its goal to create a centralized, integrated content platform for all content users, the IBM Documentation platform added new types of content to its platform. IBM announcements and sales manuals were the most recent platform additions. In the very near future, IBM Documentation plans to roll out a pilot, which will contain a subset of IBM Redbooks that are related to the IBM Z software and hardware publications. We’re exploring how to improve the discoverability of related content from users of IBM Redbooks and IBM Documentation during this pilot. Stay tuned for updates on IBM Documentation Release Notes. Your feedback will be used to help us improve your documentation experience with IBM technical content.
Kathy Pfeiffer is an IBM Z Design Manager. Kathy drives the strategy across the IBM Z content ecosystem product portfolio, making sure assets across different content streams are connected to create a seamless customer experience. This includes close collaboration and partnering with IBM’s Corporate team to leverage best practices, aligning product frameworks, and building consistent and positive experiences at scale.
Phil Siconolfi is the manager of the IBM z/OS Content Development team, working with his team to transform the client content experience and push the boundaries of content and design collaboration. Phil joined IBM after graduating from Marist College with a B.S. degree in Information Technology and went on to receive his M.S. in Information Systems and Business Analytics. He is also a recognized inventor with 22 issued patents.