40 years of IBM Redbooks

I missed this press release last week:

IBM ITSO Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Providing Free “IBM Redbooks”

IBM today is reaffirming a continued investment in producing the popular IBM Redbooks series, as part of its recognition of the 40th anniversary of the International Technical Support Organization (ITSO).
The ITSO develops and delivers skills, technical know-how, and materials to IBM technical professionals, business partners, customers, and the IT marketplace in general. This includes responsibility for producing the free Redbooks publications, which are chock full of up-to-date technical content on IBM products, solutions, and services.

“We’re proud to continue a tradition of giving users instant access to critical information for their business,” said Jackie Olson, Program Director for the ITSO at IBM. “Creating and distributing this information for free, on a global basis, is the cornerstone of our commitment to the marketplace.”

As one of the most visited pages on the IBM Web site, www.ibm.com/redbooks provides learning resources to help users solve problems, maximize their investments, and download timely technical assistance.

The ITSO started in 1968 as a way to connect U.S.-based development labs with IBM international sales locations. These locations had found it difficult to gain access to key information about products and could not ensure that the requirements of non-U.S. IBM divisions were being considered by the development labs. To address the situation, the IBM ITSO created a series of technical documents, which soon became known as IBM Redbooks.

Since then, the ITSO has expanded its offerings to include Redpapers, Technotes and workshops. The ITSO also produces marketing and sales enablement content such as brochures, case studies, executive briefs, white papers, and client references. Additionally, the ITSO manages the IBM Press™ commercial publishing program.

“Over 4,800 Redbooks have been produced and over 1600 people, from around the world, have worked for the ITSO in the numerous centers that we have created,” Olson said. “The number of downloads of Redbooks is in the tens of millions, which is quite a change from the days of copying thousands of pages and mailing the Redbooks every month to our international locations.”

Congratulations to all the team at the ITSO – I hope their valuable work on the Redbooks and workshops continues for many years to come!

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!