“Discuss how a CMS can support an organization”….

OK, head’s up – content management systems are confusing and complex so I totally Googled it. Here is what I found…

According to Vasont Systems (http://www.vasont.com/resources/how-cms-benefits-organizations.html), “content management systems make content smarter and more powerful. Because content is stored only one time no matter how many times it is used, the CM system can track everything that happens to it. Editors only have to handle the content one time, but the changes are made globally to all documents.”

Vasont goes on to list the following benefits of a CM system:

  1. Content is centralized and shared: Content is consolidated into one powerful repository, facilitating content sharing among co-workers. (This eliminates multiple versions of the same content/document.)
  2. Content is accurate: Because each piece of content is only stored one time in a CMS, it can be reused throughout one or multiple documents. The CMS tracks every instance of content reuse and flags all instances when a change is made to ensure all appropriate instances are updated and consistent. (I’m not usually a fan of “tracking”, but in the case of workflow it makes total sense.)
  3. Content is secure: User privileges are assigned, so only authorized people can access content with unique IDs. (This enables version tracking and makes people accountable for their work. No more passing the blame to someone else.)
  4. Content has shorter editorial cycles: Users are alerted to their pending tasks and due dates. Additionally, daily editorial tasks can be automated to save time. (Time-saving is a good thing!)
  5. Enables quick creation of new publications: Content can be searched, retrieved, and reused to create new products within minutes. (Nice!)
  6. Ensures timely delivery of publications: Single-source content is updated once and repurposed for multiple media channels as often as daily or weekly. (Consistency and timeliness – nice!)
  7. Facilitates lower translation costs: A CMS with full Unicode support allows small chunks of updated content to be translated instead of entire documents, saving thousands of dollars. (Saving dollars on something that you hate to spend money on in the first place is awesome.)

All of these points make a lot of sense to me, more so than our textbook. Luckily for me, Vasont’s CMS had this info ready!😉

Q: WITHIN ANY ORGANIZATION THERE ARE MANY, MANY STAKEHOLDERS WITHIN EVEN MORE TEAMS. HOW DO ALL THESE DIFFERENT TEAMS INTERACT AND MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO RUN AN EFFECTIVE CMS THAT ALIGNS WITH OVERALL ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS?

Here is a breakdown of the overall conundrum:

There are three types of organizations  (p243):

  • commercial: production and/or sale of goods
  • government: running a jurisdiction and promulgating (declaring) regulations
  • non-profit: supporting a social concern

There are four major groups within any type of organization  (p251):

  • business units (generate income)
  • editorial teams (unify content)
  • marketing teams (direct/unify organization image)
  • IT group (build/maintain infrastructure)

There are two job categories of a CMS (p219):

  • design/start-up team (short-term, large staff)
  • daily operation team (long-term, small staff)

There are three phases of the CMS process (p219):

  • collection
  • management
  • publishing

There are three categories of CMS jobs (p219):

  • analysis
  • implementation
  • management

There are four disciplines within all CMS jobs (p219):

  • management staff
  • information architects
  • infrastructure staff
  • software developers

With all of these people (users) involved, it is a good thing there are user privileges and unique user ID’s to make all content trackable. This is the part of a CM system that ensures that accountability points back to the originating contributor as well as any subsequent contributors.

Q: WHAT ARE THREE MAIN HURDLES THAT STAND IN THE WAY OF ANY SUCCESSFUL CONTENT MANAGEMENT, AND CONTENT MANAGEMENT USAGE?

✦ Ego (this is my gut answer before even reading this section of our textbook) – people feel threatened by the success of others, which makes them feel “less than” or diminished. To combat this fear, they do whatever they can think of to stall, knock others down, etc. to make themselves feel better and/or look better to the higher management of the company. This makes an endeavor such as implementing a company-wide CMS a nightmare. Stroking and/or coddling deflated ego’s is annoying and takes a HUGE amount of energy and time.

Then, here is the “official list” from page 182 of our textbook:
✦ The attitude of content contributors who normally think of only one target as they create.
✦ The need to share content across output formats, which mandates that you store the content in an output-neutral format such as XML.
✦ The need to store and organize more information than is necessary for any one publication such as research plus the finished article. In the past,
this extra information could safely be archived or even discarded.
✦ The need to create publication designs that you can fill automatically. This situation is a problem especially for sophisticated print publications, where designers normally handcraft every page. If handcrafting is to occur in the context of a CMS, it must happen
as a post-process, after you draw content out of the CMS repository.

I hope this clears things up a bit. Stay Tuned….

Important Moments….

….That Have Shaped The Content Management Field…

Referencing each field in the content management industry (as mentioned in chapter 10 “The Roots of Content Management” of the Boiko “Content Management Bible” 2nd edition), this post looks at how each has impacted the current state of content management.

The PUBLISHING INDUSTRY (p147, 150) established the foundations of content collection:

✦ Document Management (DMS files) vs. Content Management (CMS=components)
DMS controls sharing; CMS controls creation
DMS is about access; CMS is about publishing
✦ Responsible for making content public which was previously private. Websites blossomed from people who had content they wanted to share with others.
✦ Publishing industry is good at targeting its audience and collecting input.

Document Management Systems (DMS) sought to organize, and make files accessible: (p154)

File storage: The system knows the physical location of each file that it tracks but doesn’t require the end user to know that location.
File categorization: You can assign file types and groups based on the criteria that you choose.
Metadata services: You can attach any kind of extra data to a file (such as owner, status, create date, and so on) based on its type.
Collaboration services: You can check files in and out of the system and jointly edit them.
Workflow services: You can route files from worker to worker in a standard, organized way.
Versioning services: You save a historical series of files and retrieve them as you need them.
Access services: End users can find files through tables of contents, indexes, and fulltext searches.

The MULTIMEDIA INDUSTRY (p157-158) focused on types of media other than text to be managed: photographs, sounds, motion. This included catalogs, electronic books, games, videos, sound (music, voice, ringtones, sound bytes), etc.

Multimedia meant bringing more than one medium of communication together and delivering them as integrated content to create a more full communication experience.

The term “asset” (p160) was gleaned from the multimedia industry: An item of value owned. This popularized the “component” mentality toward content.
“Online help” spawned from the need to disseminate massive amounts of information to supplement information in print form (such as software manuals). Online help meant the size of books could shrink, the cost of publishing was reduced, people got the help they needed more quickly, and it could be updated instantly without having to print errata or reprint an entire book.

The LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE INDUSTRIES established the foundations of:

  • metadata
  • storage
  • categories
  • information retrieval

The SOFTWARE INDUSTRY pioneered the distribution of electronic functionality and created content management software:

  1. COLLECTION TECHNOLOGIES accomplish text parsing, automatic tagging, form-based input, content preview, and custom workflow management:
    • grep (globally search for regular expressions)
    • sed (stream editor)
    • AWK (Aho, Weinberger, Kernighan)
    • Perl
  2. MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES: databases.
  3. PUBLISHING TECHNOLOGIES: templates.

The MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRIES established the foundations of personalization and “audience”. These industries focus on the audience (not the features of a system), and understand the value of content.

Web Content Management….

Let me get this down for posterity: as of this point in time, I am taking a Web Content Management course. It is NOT even required to complete my degree!

When I began my journey of completing my degree, I wanted to take this class right away. It was not available. I kept watching for it. Here it is, my final semester, and I FINALLY get to take this class – I am very excited!

I have manipulated content in many ways over the years, both for print and electronic mediums.

I have pasted gallies. I have flowed columns. I have produced training manuals. I have proofread and edited. I have used software that is no longer around, others that have been swallowed by huge software companies (and integrated into their top-selling programs), and still others that are owned by the original creators. I was there to personally witness the transition from actual 35mm film slides through the process of digital conversion (using 35mm Xpress software and a slide scanner) into both Mac’s and PC’s (before there were mice or Windows – yes, I used DOS), to creating purely electronic slides – I used “Presentations” by WordPerfect before PowerPoint was even a blip of an idea.

Been there, done that, still have my t-shirt – I can take a picture of it (either digitally or traditionally) if you wish.

For me, the digital realm is fascinating. I see it as a wonderful TOOL – but it is not my reality.

To learn the caveats and terminology and concepts of an interconnected computer network is very exciting! I love learning new things, tips, techniques, and software. It tickles my brain and makes me happy.

The very best part is this: I don’t care who I learn things from – older, younger, same age. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as I learn.

I am learning about an entirely new realm. I have watched many movies about the pro’s and con’s of AI (artificial intelligence), the inner world of the computer, the dangers of immersing too deeply into all things digital (the internet could very possibly be the beginning of Skynet), and the effects the digital world has on biologic entities. We have no idea what the impact is, because it is still in its infancy.

The textbook we are using in class is the “Content Management Bible” 2nd edition, by Bob Boiko (Bob Boiko’s web page about his book). All content within this page is referencing content from Bob’s book. Where possible, I have included specific page numbers.

The way content management works is actually very clever:

  • Hardware used: web server
  • Software used: database, web browser

A content management system (CMS) is a tad different. You can set up a website using a CMS, but that is not all it can do. A CMS can produce any kind of publication you want:
a website, a company newsletter, a corporate portal, etc. It can also be a place to store information to be shared in different formats such as on a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, an app, etc.

For now, let’s focus on using a CMS for a website.

You can have a static website, a dynamic website, or a combination of both (which is actually kind of the “ideal” setup).

A static website is one where the content is pre-built. They are NOT created on the fly or personalized in any way. To update content, you replace the page with a new one. (p.75, Boiko).

Here is a simple breakdown of a static website setup:

  • People: contributors
  • Software: database, CMS, HTML files, web browser
  • Hardware: web server

A dynamic website is one where the content is created on the fly and personalized. To update content, you update the information in the database. (p.75-76, Boiko).

Here is a simple breakdown of a dynamic website setup:

  • People: contributors
  • Software: main database, non-CMS database, CMS-generated database, CMS, HTML files, connector code, web browser
  • Hardware: web server

Notice all of the databases? I sure did. Now I understand why there are so many open positions for “Database Administrators” in the employment ads.

As I progress through this course, I will post more revelations here. Stay Tuned….

It’s a new day….

….and a new blog.

Starting fresh.

Let’s see where this takes us!

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