Key Differences between IBM Information Centers and our new IBM Knowledge Center
If you're used to working in our IBM Information Centers, you should feel right at home in IBM Knowledge Center. The Table of Contents works in a very similar way, and the overall layout of IBM Knowledge Center is visually quite similar.
Despite their surface similarity, though, IBM Knowledge Center is really quite different from the IBM Information Centers, and not just because it brings all the millions of pages of Information Center content into a single application on ibm.com.
For example, we've already discussed how easy it is to bookmark just about anything (including searches) in IBM Knowledge Center--something that's actually quite tricky in the older Information Centers. And last week's post discussed how you can search across IBM Knowledge but also quickly narrow your search results to just the information you want to see.
But there are other ways that IBM Knowledge Center differs from our Information Centers. Here's a quick roundup of some of the main differences, many of which we'll discuss in more detail in future IBM Technical Content Blog posts.
Search behaves like web search
One of the differences you will see right away is that IBM Knowledge Center's search works more like web search engines than the Information Center's search does. For example, search understands wild cards like * in your queries, but only at the word--not character--level.
You can also use quotation marks for exact strings, and Jasna Krmpotic has written a nice blog entry on the use of the :intitle operator (so you can limit your searches to results with the specified information actually in the title).
You can also create complex queries with common Boolean operators + and - signs. The plus sign stands for Boolean AND, while the minus sign stand for Boolean NOT. Coupled with exact phrases and wildcards, you can build very complex queries in IBM Knowledge Center if you want to (but we're betting you won't have to very often).
The minus and plus sign operators can cause some problems, because they're also used as prefixes to many IBM product error messages and reference statements. But IBM Knowledge Center is smart enough to offer a fix for you when you add the operators. For example, when you search by a keyword that is prefixed by a minus sign (like SQL -206), IBM Knowledge Center will ask you if you really mean the exact phrase "-206" which will return the results you want.
In this query, you're really telling search "look for SQL, but NOT 206"--which may not be what you want. If you click on the link (at the arrow point), IBM KC will correct the query for you. Note the quotation marks:
See all product versions at a glance
We've pointed these out before, but the new "Product" home pages in IBM Knowledge Center provide a lot of good information about IBM products and solutions. Each one of those pages includes links to the separate version information for the product, as well as useful external product-related links to Support, whitepapers, IBM Redbooks, and so on.
By the way, by default, when you navigate to (or bookmark) these pages, IBM Knowledge Center automatically applies a search filter to narrow your results to the product versions.
Find similar topics across versions
When you're in a product version, and looking a topic page, you can get to the same topic in a different product version, if available, at the bottom of every topic. This is really useful when web search outside of IBM Knowledge Center lands on the right product's page for a search, but in the wrong version of that product! So if you landed on an install page for Rational Asset Manager 7.5.1, you can see other versions of the same page from the menu:
Temporarily switch languages and find out what's available
If you normally work in multiple languages, you can quickly check what languages are available for a topic by clicking the menu beside the Other Version menu (discussed above). This is especially useful when you are using web search outside of IBM Knowledge Center and it doesn't find the language version of a topic you'd like.
Share topics directly with email, LinkedIn and Twitter
You can share topics directly by email, or post them to LinkedIn or Twitter from within the IBM Knowledge Center framework:
Customize your view of our content with My Collections
One of the most exciting things that distinguishes IBM Knowledge Center from our Information Centers is the ability for you customize your views of our content by selecting it and re-arranging into your own personal collections. You can add topics individually or from the Table of Contents (by right-clicking on any part), and you can even output a PDF version of your collections on-demand! We'll spend more time on My Collections in a future blog post.
Built for speed
Unlike our Information Centers, IBM Knowledge Center has been built around modern web application technologies, and is designed to deliver excellent performance in navigation and search. But you may need to upgrade your browser to see it at its very best! We know what a pain that can be, but really old browsers (like Internet Explorer 8, for example) deal with pages and web applications in completely different ways--and much more slowly--than modern browsers.
There when you need it!
IBM Knowledge Center has been designed with application performance in mind, and to be available when you need it. IBM Knowledge Center runs on a 24x7, fully-supported IBM infrastructure, so you can rely on it for help when you need help.