Thursday Jan 28, 2010

Gotta Love the Impact of Information

Here is another great example of feedback from an engineer on the value of the information services provided and how they impact his work and collaboration with fellow engineers! This is specific to our eBook program:

"I must say that it's really nice to exchange information with fellow co-workers here at Sun and, if there happens to be a reference to something I'm trying to describe -- I just say -- See the book such-and-so, on page xxx (it's on Safari if you want to have a look online)."

I LOVE it! Information matters!


Wednesday Dec 02, 2009

Glenn Brunette's Shared Reading on Safari and Sun's READ Community

As Information & Knowledge Services experts at Sun, one of the things our team does is enable employees to share what they know. Not only do we provide the right information for employees to do their work - creating competitive advantage, smarter decision making and an informed organization - but also enable the connections for employees to share and learn from others.

Our Safari Books Online services is very popular with the Sun technical community and as part of that, we've partnered with Sun's Global Services Engineering (GSE) team to create a READ community within Sun - "reading recommendations from people you trust" - that includes connections to content in Safari (Sun employees can access the READ community on SunSpace).

In conjunction with GSE and the READ community, we have created lists in Safari for the recommended readings that happen to be books or videos and are in Safari Books Online. Below is an example from a Sun Solaris Security expert, Glenn Brunette. This image is of the recommended readings that come from books in Safari Books Online that Glenn recommends - and, as an expert, we care about what Glenn recommends, reads and thinks.

Not all content in the READ community is connected to Safari - other content can include blogs, experts, websites, Twitter feeds and other technical or business content that people at Sun recommend.

All this in an effort to partner with experts across Sun and enable them to learn from others and share their knowledge!

Tuesday Sep 22, 2009

Author Chat: New Sun Press Title - Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, Third Edition

Please join us in Second Life at the Sun theater for this really exciting chat with two Sun Authors - Jeff Gardiner (SL: JeffGardiner SunMicrosystems) and Janice Gelb (SL: Editrix Alter)

Where: Sun Campus in Second Life (SLURL:
When: September 30, 2009 - 1:30pm SLT / PT (check your local time)
Note: This event is in Second Life so you must have a Second Life avatar and download the client software from

Summary: Join us for a chat with Sun Technical Publications team members Jeff Gardiner and Janice Gelb on the release of the third edition of the industry-leading style guide "Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry". This guide to creating clear, consistent, and easy-to-understand documentation covers everything from writing style to creating lists and procedures to managing schedules and workflow. The book is set to be published in print in November 2009 but is available today online via Safari Books Online.

More about their book and access for Sun employees.

Monday Aug 31, 2009

New Sun Press Title: Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, Third Edition

Sun Technical Publications is pleased to announce the release of the third edition of the industry-leading style guide "Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry". This guide to creating clear, consistent, and easy-to-understand documentation covers everything from writing style to creating lists and procedures to managing schedules and workflow.

The third edition features new chapters on:

  • Writing for wikis and encouraging wiki collaboration
  • Creating screencasts, using screencast terminology, and guidelines for creating narration
  • Creating alternative text for nontext elements such as screen captures, multimedia content, illustrations, and diagrams
It also includes new tables for symbol name conventions, for common anthropomorphisms, and for common idioms and colloquialisms. To quote STC Fellow Dr. JoAnn Hackos, "It brings together a wealth of knowledge that all technical communicators must have to succeed."

"Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, Third Edition" is available through Safari Books Online at The print edition will be available in mid-October. For Sun employees, access is funded via the Sun subscription to Safari Books Online - access this amazing book here: and learn today (note: this does not replace the Sun Editorial Style Guide, which is the in-house and Sun-specific version of this guide).

Tuesday Aug 04, 2009

Pro OpenSolaris eBook now available!

Last month Harry Foxwell, Sun employee and author of Pro OpenSolaris, spoke in Second Life to employees and the public about his new book (access the replay here). Today, I'm pleased to announce that through a 3 month pilot with Springer (Sun employees - go to this internal site for access), we have access to all Apress books including Harry's book, Pro OpenSolaris.

Sun is currently a subscriber of key Springer collections via SpringerLink: Computer Science, Engineering, Math/Statistics. So, all Sun employees, be sure you are leveraging this fantastic learning content today. We are piloting access to Apress content specifically as Springer owns Apress and there is some key content in there that we are not able to get from other services.

For Sun employees, try it out today within SWAN and access all Springer content mentioned above as well as the new Pro OpenSolaris eBook.

If you are not a Sun employee, you can get access to this book in a few places - check Harry's blog for details.

Monday Jul 20, 2009

Value of Information to the Organization

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is one of the major information professional organization that the information experts at Sun belong to and participate in as part of our profession. This year, SLA is going through an "Align 09", effort looking at how to express the value of the profession in the future, how to communicate that value to executives and looking at a renaming the association.

SLA hired a market research firm to collect and analyze information to guide this effort. One key thing is that explaining the value of information to an organization is difficult and the word "librarian" does not always send the message of unique value and impact as it should.

Here are a few key ways to express the value information professionals at Sun and other organizations provide to the business - it is critical!

Knowledge Sharing
Information professionals are accountable for gathering, organizing and sharing the right information for the best decisions.  Information professionals further create a culture of knowledge sharing by educating colleagues on the best use of information.

Global Networking
Through active global networking, information professionals promote  the exchange of information, innovative ideas, insights and trends.  

Competitive Advantage
Information professionals ensure organizations have the right > information, insights and trends to make good decisions and gain competitive advantage.

Bottom-line Benefits
Information professionals save organizations time and money by providing value-added intelligence that is accurate, reliable and relevant.  We deliver expert information to our organizations in a timely, accessible and convenient manner.

For more information on how the Sun information professionals provide these benefits to Sun, keep reading this external blog, Twitter, check out our various presentations on the Social Learning Exchange at Sun, and watch out for our contribution to the Sun history/museum site (coming soon) where we contributed a section called The History of Information at Sun.

Thursday Jul 16, 2009

Value of Safari Books Online to Sun

Sun has been a subscriber of Safari Books Online for many years! We started out small but quickly grew the access to employees as well as influenced the content and features based on Sun's business needs. The Safari Books Online service provides Sun employees access to over 8000 books, all online, all from tier 1 publishers. The ability to search, learn, download, discover, share are all key features of what makes Safari Books Online a critical information service for Sun employees.

Here are a few things employees have said about the information availale:

  • "Sun makes use of many different software technologies. Usually, a developer's primary focus spans just a few of these technologies but he/she will invariably need to use, interface, or reference several others during their career here at Sun. Although google has become an indispensable reference tool, it is not able to replace authoritative texts on technical subjects. Safari has saved me a great deal of time by allowing me to find the best book for the task at hand. The ability to instantly have an expert available in the form of a book to answer questions or provide training has made it easier and more enjoyable to be a software developer here at Sun."
  • "I was recently tasked to write some software in a language I had never used before. I was able to access excellent references within minutes using Safari instead of waiting for a book to be delivered or wasting time in the local bookstores. I consider Safari an essential tool in my work here at Sun."
  • "This service helped our team get a very good understanding of the capabilities of an open-source software tool by giving us access to several books on the topic. This saved us a lot of time and effort. It would have saved us even more time and effort if I had thought to use Safari first rather than trying to compose appropriate Google searches to answer our questions...."
Sun has also purchased access to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) books online via Safari. ITIL is a widely-accepted approach to IT service management across the globe. ITIL provides a cohesive set of best practices, drawn from public and private sectors internationally. Here is one employee's response to have the ITIL information available at her fingertips:
  • "This is the best news.. Sun needs the gift of ITIL V3 Service Management Best Practices, and having them available for regular use is a win for all of us. May we as a community continue to use this to make the most of our service delivery and service management practices. This documentation and our organizations collaborating has competitive value for Sun and the IT Industry as a whole."
Safari recently wrote a case study on Sun's use of Safari Books Online and the value from Sun's perspective. Check out the case study!

Also, Safari created a customer video - a commercial - and interviewed several users of their service including Sun's Neeraj Mathur. Check out the video and hear what customers have to say about the impact to their business and what Neeraj says the impact is to his work at Sun.

For more information about Safari Books Online, Sun employees can see our SunSpace page at Information Services > eBooks > Safari Books Online.

Thanks everyone - enjoy, keep learning!


Thursday Mar 05, 2009

Citizen Engineer - in the Press!

Two new articles on the new SMI Press Citizen Engineer book!

See the previous blog entry with details on access to the eBook version!

Learn and enjoy!


Thursday Feb 19, 2009

New SMI Press book - Citizen Engineer: A Handbook for Socially Responsible Engineering

Citizen Engineer: A Handbook for Socially Responsible Engineering

This new SMI Press book, authored by Sun's Dave Douglas, Greg Papadopoulos and John Boutelle, is titled Citizen Engineer and early Rough Cut access is available to Sun employees via Safari Books Online. (Sun employees here | Non Sun employees purchase here)

Here is a summary of the book:
Being an engineer today means being far more than an engineer. You need to consider not only the design requirements of your projects but the full impact of your work--from an ecological perspective, an intellectual property perspective, a business perspective, and a sociological perspective. And you must coordinate your efforts with many other engineers, sometimes hundreds of them. In short, we've entered an age that demands socially responsible engineering on a whole new scale. The era of the Citizen Engineer.

This engaging and thought-provoking book focuses on two topics that are becoming vitally important in the day-to-day work of engineers today: eco engineering and intellectual property (IP). The book also examines how and why the world of engineering has changed and provides practical advice to help engineers of all types master the new era of engineering and start thinking like Citizen Engineers.

This access is prior to the print version of the book coming out in June 2009. Sun employees will be able to purchase a print copy at a 40% discount towards the end of April but anyone can purchase at when it's published.

For Sun employees: you can download specific chapters for offline reading and even access those downloaded chapters via your iPhone or iPod Touch (see blog on Safari Bookbag application)

Since this is a Rough Cut (pre-published access to book content), you can choose to receive an email alert when the final version is available as well as make comments to the authors about the book before it's published! See snapshot of those features below.

We hope to have the authors do an author chat soon so will keep you posted on that opportunity to talk to Greg, Dave and John about the book.


Christy Confetti Higgins
Digital Library Program - Sun Learning Services

Friday Feb 06, 2009

Pilot - Internal use of Sun's Project Wonderland

Sun's Digital Libraries & Research team, part of Sun Learning Services, is partnering on an internal pilot of Sun's Project Wonderland with Sun's Services Marketing organization.

The library team (as we call ourselves) will be conducting a workshop in this internal instance of Wonderland, for Sun employees to learn about market and competitive information services. Part of the session will be slides and part will be live demo in this engaging and dynamic virtual world setting.

Participants will also be able to learn from pre-programmed bots in this open library space as well as interact with internal library resources via the Firefox browner in-world.

A key benefit we see is that the attendees will not only have the opportunity to learn, but to interact with each other as a community drawn together by their shared interest in market and competitive information.

This is a pilot so we hope to learn a lot about how we can leverage this for employee learning of library resources, information and knowledge sharing and more dynamic/immersive experiences related to information.

Wish us luck!

Digital Libraries & Research Team!

Monday May 19, 2008

Defining knowledge management

In the previous entry, we looked at the resurgence of interest in knowledge management (KM) and how social networking tools such as wikis and blogs are driving this resurgence. In this entry, we'll start to dive into the stickier questions, such as: What is knowledge? What do we include as 'knowledge' to be managed? What's the difference between knowledge management (KM), information management (IM), and content management (CM) - especially when so many folks are using these (or at least thinking about these) interchangeably?

First, let's settle on some definitions of what we're talking about. The Ark Group published a recent report that defines KM as 'a discipline and technology enabling people to share their knowledge through agreed-upon processes for identifying, capturing, storing, retrieving, creating and evaluating an organisation’s information assets'.

Fair enough. Depending upon the context (and whom I'm trying to sell the concept to), I would emphasize different parts of this statement. Here, I would emphasize 'an organisation's information assets'. Broadly defined, this could encompass ANYTHING that could possibly be considered 'information' within an organisation: internally-generated information, any information the organisation has purchased, intellectual property, any little piece of information that might come from anyone's head. For our purposes here, let's stick with internally-generated information: information that has been created by the organization. This is still a huge universe of information - but at least we're not including all the information created outside of the walls of the organisation.

Outsell, an outstanding firm which covers the information industry and trends in the industry, sees KM as a component of IM (and acknowledges that IM and KM are often used interchangably in discussion and in the literature). Forrester, a top IT market research firm, addresses the area as Information & Knowledge Management (I&KM), which seems to cover everything pretty well.

Digital Libraries & Research (DL&R) provides IM services for Sun. For DL&R, some of these functions include managing and facilitating access to external content (hey! That's content management or CM), creating and managing web sites, providing information training, and providing research and information consulting services.

OK, so we've got our terminology sorted to some extent. Now let's go back to KM. Where DL&R doesn't have much current investment is in the KM realm, if we're talking strictly about internal information. We do have a high knowledge of internal information at Sun. We don't currently take a formal role in providing high-level strategy and management of that information.

Theoretically, we could dive head-long into the KM realm, spread our arms wide, and declare, 'Yes! We are ready to take over KM at Sun! Whatever that means!'

But what would that mean? You talk to some people and they bring up things like expert databases. Others talk about intellectual property. Others mention content management, or records management, or business intelligence, or information architecture or taxonomy or tagging or oral histories or...

You get the picture. What is it exactly that we're talking about, when we talk about KM?

The good news is that, when you talk about KM in the organisation, the scope is ultimately defined by the organisation. Inevitably, I believe that the introduction of social networking tools in your organisation will open up the discussion around KM at some point.

Why is this a good thing? You, as the information specialist, can play a role in influencing and defining (or redefining) what that scope is. The opportunity may be there for you to take a role in connecting with your stakeholders and asking them what they think KM is and what they would include in a KM strategy in your organisation. Are we talking about capturing every single piece of information captured on a wiki? Is there a pressing need to find experts in the company? Is there an opportunity to solve a long-term problem with a new social networking tool? Even better - is there a particular group, project, or set of information that is just crying out for your help?

The best business case for driving KM in your organisation could be a well-timed, smaller-scope project that can illustrate the benefits of good knowledge management. You never know what visibility - and resources - could result from applying your skill sets to a key collection of internal information.

So - start the conversation. Show your expertise. Most importantly, engage your stakeholders. Information - reliable, authoritative, spot-on information - isn't always getting easier to find, it's getting harder. For you information specialists and librarians out there who already do KM, this is nothing new to you. For those of you looking at this topic again, this may be a time of great opportunity for you to influence your organisation. Undoubtedly you'll hear more from us as we pursue this further within Sun.

Next entry, we'll look at little bit into some of the challenges that are already arising with these tools, and what additional challenges may be ahead.


Sharing stories of information management, collaboration, integration, sharing, and social enterprise applications for corporate information services.


« July 2016