A paper by M. Colton and G. Poe entitled "Intersensor Calibration of DMSP SSM/I's: F-8 to F-14; 1987-97" appears in the January 1999 issue of IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing and is a good reference on the SSM/I sensor.
A good overview of the products available from the SSM/I can be found in the May 1996 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: pages 891-905:
"An Eight Year (1987-1994) Time Series of Rainfall, Clouds, Water Vapor, Snow-cover, and Sea-ice Derived from SSM/I Measurements" by R. Ferraro, F. Weng, N. Grody, and A. Basist"
A recent paper has been published that describes the details of a quality-controlled version of these products which will be released soon:
"Improved Global Rainfall Retrieval using the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I)" by D. Vila, R. Ferraro and H. Semunegus, 2010, AMS Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Copies are available from Ralph Ferraro upon request (Ralph.R.Ferraro@noaa.gov).