With full apologies to Bono and the rest of the crew...
Submitted by David Stewart, IBM Cognos, Knowledge Base Editor
The search functionality on ibm.com has improved dramatically over the past year, and will get even better in the near future. A lot of work has gone into improving the relevance of results, but it’s important to keep in mind that ibm.com is a big place with a lot of content out there to work with.
There are two main ways to search:
- the masthead search box that appears at the top of almost every page on ibm.com
- from within Support Portal
It is important to keep in mind that when you do a search from the masthead level, the entirety of ibm.com is in scope. The search engine itself has been greatly improved, but you should be prepared to get a lot of results back if there are few keywords used, if the terms are vague, or if there is no reference to a specific product added to the query. That said, product error messages tend to work quite well since they are unique.
From the search results page, you can even take the same query and run it on one of the major external search engines, specifically Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. Just keep in mind that the scope of your search then becomes the entire Internet!
If you decide to use an external search engin, try this very useful tip: use a site filter.
If you only want to get results from ibm.com (or any other specific domain), you can add one of the following filters directly to the search query to greatly reduce the number of results you’ll get, and to ensure you are getting your information from a reliable source:
For example, the search query site:ibm.com/support blank Cognos PDF
report will bring you back 116 results when using Google (at the time of this writing), while the same query of blank Cognos PDF
report without the site filter added will return 74,000 hits! Unless there is a specific site outside of IBM you wanted to focus on, this one tip will save you a lot of time and effort.
The best way to search for Support related information (knowledge base documents, APARs, etc.) is to use the IBM Support Portal, for several important reasons:
- it is the only way to focus your search at the product level
- you can filter your search results at the metadata level (for product version, document type, functional task, etc.)
As mentioned earlier, there are thousands of products at IBM and millions of pages on ibm.com to cover all the content related to them.
By using the IBM Support Portal, you effectively filter out 99.9% of all the irrelevant content, and ONLY get back documents that are tagged with the product(s) you have configured in the Support Portal.
For example, thousands of irrelevant results when using the masthead search
And now, the same search against a specific product via Support Portal is far more effective.
When using the IBM Support Portal to search for product knowledge, you have the ability to either refine your search query, or filter the results based on:
- product version
- content type
- functional task
For the first time ever, you are able to focus a search on multiple products (assuming they have been added to your Support Portal product list).
This could be very helpful when troubleshooting, for example, an issue that spans Series 7 and Cognos Business Intelligence, or an issue involving both Cognos BI and DB2 or Websphere.