In IBM Knowledge Center, we have collected over 800 separate Information Centers under a single entry URL on ibm.com. As a result, IBM Knowledge Center contains tens of millions of pages, and represents the technical product documentation for thousands of IBM's products and solutions.
You can search across of all of this technical information in IBM Knowledge Center and get information quickly from a single, simple search that would have taken multiple and very complex searches in the past.
But if you only want to search the content from a subset of our products, or even a single product, you can narrow your search results quickly too. So in this blog post I'll show you a number of ways to select your products to refine your search filters.
Narrowing search results with product filters
When you narrow your searches, IBM Knowledge Center shows you what products you are searching on the Products area just under the search box. When you see No products selected, you are searching all of the information in IBM Knowledge Center:
To make focusing your search as quick as possible, we've created a number of ways to narrow your products to the set you want in IBM Knowledge Center, depending on what you're doing, your own preference, and how you get to IBM Knowledge Center.
Selecting product filters with Add Products...
You can directly pick the product filters you want directly by clicking on Add Products, which is right beside the Products line.
Add Products opens a complete list of IBM KC products and solutions, and you can select a single product--or any combination of products--from that list. Select Done to apply your selections, which will show up in the Products line now, and IBM Knowledge Center will filter search results by your selection.
You can clear any product selection by clicking the X next to its name, or you can clear all the products you've selected by clicking Clear. Notice the flag which indicates there are three product versions selected.
Selecting products as you type from the search box
You can also select product filters as you search. When you type the name of a product into the search box, IBM Knowledge Center will show you Product Filters that match what you type. Select your choices from the Product Filters section of the search drop-down box as you type. Your selections are applied when you click away from the drop-down box.
Letting us drive: automatic search filtering by product
When you navigate through a product's content, IBM Knowledge Center will apply a search filter for you automatically! IBM KC does this whenever you click in a product's table of contents--you don't have to log in, or select products, or do anything else.
As you move through different products, the search filter will change dynamically to match your product's context. If you navigate to a Product's overview page (where all the versions of a product are represented), then IBM KC applies a search filter automatically for all of the product versions!
For example, let's say you search in IBM Knowledge Center with the keywords creating an agent. You want the results from Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1.1, and you so you click on the topic called "Creating an Agent" (you can see this belongs to Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1.1 from the search summary Found in entry).
When you go to this topic, nothing immediately changes in terms of your search filters. You can look at the topic and see if it's what you want, but if you click on Search results on the left-hand side of IBM Knowledge Center, then you will go back to searching all of IBM Knowledge Center.
But let's say you decide to stay in the table of contents for Cognos Business Intelligence, where, after looking at the initial topics you found, you see a tutorial on creating agents called Tutorial--Creating an Agent. It's in the Table of Contents just underneath where you landed from search. As soon as you click on the tutorial topic inside the table of contents, IBM Knowledge Center will apply a product filter for you automatically:
Now your results will be limited to Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1.1--and all you had to do was click inside the Table of Contents.
Of course, you can clear this search filter by clicking on the X next to the product's name. You can also navigate to other products if you like, and the automatic search filter will follow you.
For example, if you now navigate to the Cognos Business Intelligence product page by clicking on the link in the table of contents, IBM Knowledge Center will apply a search filter for all the versions of Cognos Business Intelligence on that page.
As before, the number flag shows you how many products you are searching across. If you hover over it the flag you can see what they are:
Mixing and matching, and turning off automation
Once you have selected a set of products you want to search regularly, don't forget to bookmark your searches so you can launch them later. If you can't share bookmarks when you work with IBM Knowledge Center, log in with your IBM ID and save your favorite searches instead.
If you want, you can combine these product selection methods as you work in IBM Knowledge Center. But if you select product filters directly from Add Products or from search type-ahead, they will "stick" or persist through your work session with IBM Knowledge Center.
On the other hand, the automatic product filters are based on your navigation context and will change as you navigate different products inside IBM Knowledge Center.
In fact, the automatic filter even adds products after you've selected the ones you know you're interested in--if you navigate outside of the product context you're filtering. You can use this as a temporary search filter when browsing other products in the Table of Contents. By default, IBM KC always tracks where you are, and adds to the filters you've selected directly, if necessary, to provide you with relevant search results.
If you don't want the automated search filter adding to your product selections as you navigate, you can turn it off completely. On the Search Results page, click on Search Options and uncheck Automatically select a product based on the current context
Once you do that, only the products you select directly will appear as search filters, and navigating won't have any effect on your search results.