If you are involved with IBM products you will undoubtedly be aware of Redbooks – deep technical books, usually written to address a particular product or scenario. The Redbooks are written collaboratively through the residency process. As a Redbooks author I have to say that working on one of them was one of the best experiences I’ve had at IBM so far – getting close to the development team, collaborating with folks from four or five different countries, working on hands-on scenarios and building a really strong book out of it.
IBM alphaWorks now has a mashup called My IBM Redbooks where you can go and “build your own book” based on a selection of those available. Essentially you can choose from a list of the books, pick the chapters you want, add a few title pages (name, abstract and preface), and then you are served a PDF version of the aggregated book. The only slight confusing part is that the page numbers and sections from the original book are preserved, so it’s not entirely customisable at this point.
Pretty neat, especially since you don’t always want every chapter and appendix, and some of the books can be several hundred pages long. Worth a look.