What's Up, Doc?

In the Oracle Applications world, you've likely noticed that there are two distinct classes of documentation:  the massive library on the CDs, and additional Notes in Metalink.  Why the split, and how do you find what you're looking for?

Monthly Updates of the E-Business Suite Online Documentation Library

What some of you may not know is that there is an online library of the documentation CDs for all E-Business Suite 11i releases.  Handy if you lose your CDs, perhaps?  Well, yes, but it's actually a lot more useful than that, because of the frequency with which it is updated.  A new edition comes out at the beginning of every month.  New editions of the physical CDs themselves are typically published with a significant new release of the software.

Online Apps Documentation Screenshot:

MetaLink vs. the Documentation Library

Even though it's updated monthly, the online documentation library generally contains static conceptual and operational information.  In the Apps technology stack area, however, patch numbers and sysadmin procedures are constantly updated, giving rise to a complementary set of documentation on OracleMetalink:

Metalink Note Search Screenshot:

Over time, the diversity of MetaLink Notes has grown.  MetaLink now includes a range of terse summaries to a few mighty opuses. Long Notes are usually written for areas that are changing rapidly or have changed rapidly in the past.  

Once the content of a particular Note stabilizes and matures, if possible, it's rolled into the the core books that make up the standard documentation library. 

For example, the fast-moving area of Single Sign-On 10g integration has been documented by two MetaLink notes:  one for the basic installation, and one for site-specific implementation options.  With Release 12 of Oracle Applications, we'll be documenting the implementation options in the core System Administrator's Guide, which already discusses general security-related concepts.

Finding the Apps Documentation You Need

Here's a rule of thumb:
  • If you need specific information on a fast-moving technology stack topic, look on MetaLink first. 
  • If you need a wider perspective or a deeper understanding of fundamental concepts, start with the relevant book in the core documentation.
Each of these two sources will point you to the other as applicable.  We try to cross-reference generously, so a book will typically refer to a relevant series of Notes, and a Note will often refer to one or more books.

The bottom line:  be prepared to refer to both the core documentation (books) and MetaLink notes to gain the breadth and depth you may need when you are carrying out a particular task.

Improving Our Documentation

Someone once defined good writing as the art of deciding what to leave off the page.  It's hard to write documentation that works for all readers of all skill levels.

If you're struggling to understand a particular book or Note, don't waste your time:  log a Service Request and ask Oracle Support to log a documentation bug to clarify the confusing points.  Silence is always assumed to mean comprehension, so we can only improve our documentation if you point out areas that don't work for you.


thanks seteve and wish you and your team all the best with the new documantion process


Posted by Fadi Hasweh on August 09, 2006 at 07:02 PM PDT #

Atul,Access to Metalink -- and all Metalink content -- is available only to customers with valid Oracle Support agreements.  You should not forward copies of Metalink Notes or patches to people who don't have valid Metalink accounts.  I'd expect that our Oracle Legal team would look very dimly upon that kind of thing, since it amounts to your distributing Oracle's copyrighted works -- which could be construed as piracy.Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on August 11, 2006 at 04:12 AM PDT #

Thanks for this. I covered it in Log Buffer.


Posted by Dave Edwards on August 11, 2006 at 05:12 AM PDT #

Thanks Steven , I know it used to be big pain earlier finding right document in ocean of oracle's documentation for beginners who want basics. Now things have improved a lot . Still How about those who don't have metalink account & want to access some Note which I refer in my blog http://becomeappsdba.blogspot.com . When I realised this that lot of apps dba newbie don't have Metalink ID so I removed note references as they can't access it. Do you have provision/plan for self registration of metalink read only account(no tar without valid license) ? Is it legal to forward Metalink note from my ID to My blog & site viewers if they ask me ? I am getting lots of requests for some very basic metalink Notes like , Patching , Cloning , Upgrades .
I 'll really appreciate your response ont this.

Atul Kumar


Posted by Atul on August 11, 2006 at 07:02 AM PDT #

Thanks a lot for this I will not forward or publish any Oracle Metalink content on my site or Blog.

Ideas & views Expressed are my own & based on my knowledge & information.

Atul Kumar

Posted by Atul on August 11, 2006 at 07:31 AM PDT #

In regards to Metalink access, you can always go and buy a cheap(ish) Oracle license for personal use, and this would then give you access to MetaLink.

I would be more concerned about why newbie Apps DBAs don't have access to MetaLink - any company that runs the software must have a valid licence. Maybe you can refer these people to their Oracle Account Manager to find out their license details so that they can register on Metalink.


Posted by Paul Murgatroyd on August 16, 2006 at 12:08 PM PDT #

I guess its OK to put the metakink note id URL,it would require a vaild metalink id for anyone to access.

Posted by Sam on August 18, 2006 at 01:50 AM PDT #

Sure, that's fine.  You can reference Notes and even put in links, using this format:http://metalink.oracle.com/metalink/plsql/ml2_documents.showNOT?p_id=165195.1  Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on August 18, 2006 at 02:02 AM PDT #

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