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IBM Techdocs Snafu
One of our favorite and most referenced sources of technical information is the IBM Techdocs website. (It used to be called ‘Washington Systems Center Techdocs’.) It’s so important that we usually devote 4-5 pages to describing new and updated materials in each Tuning Letter issue. The link used to be (and is even shown in Kathy Walsh‘s Hot Topics session at SHARE in September 2020 as) http://www.ibm.com/support/techdocs. But the ongoing changes to the IBM websites have resulted in that link being directed to the “IBM Technical Sales Library” which provides a not-very-helpful search function. Yes, if you know a paper number or want to do a keyword search, it might be useful. But the major benefit of the original website is that you could display all the documents, their author, and when they were last updated.
We have lodged our complaint to IBM, but it won’t hurt if customers complain as well. Until this is resolved, you can still get to the original website by going to this link – http://www-03.ibm.com/support/techdocs/atsmastr.nsf/Web/Techdocs. IBM added a note to the Techdocs home page that said the site is being sunset on 11/1/2020 and all documents will be found here. To show how unhelpful that link was, I did a search for a new white paper on SIIS (WP102806) from April 2020 and received almost 14,000 hits. And the white paper name itself was changed externally but not internally. It appeared to have found all documents starting with any combination of the letters. So it returned SI10280, SI10283, PH31028, IBM Fix Central…20201028…, among another 14,000 items. And when I tried ‘SIIS’ in the search, I found the paper, but I also found another 7,000 documents with some form of ‘SII’ or ‘IIS’ in them. Searching for WP102806 on the old site resulted in one hit – the paper we were looking for.
We are all in favor of IBM investing in its websites, and adding valuable new information. However, we are not fans of change just for the sake of change, or change that makes it harder for customers to find the information they need to do their job. We don’t see how this makes sense for IBM or its customers.