Content management

See also: writing for the web

Discussion articles

  • Applying usability principles to your CMS
    "Much of the impetus for examining CMS usability has come from systems users themselves. In conference rooms around the world, authors are standing up and declaring, 'Our CMS tool sucks!' Many CMS vendors have noted this user backlash and now fall over themselves to tout products as 'intuitive,' 'adaptive,' or just plain 'easy to use.' But what does 'intuitive' really mean? If markets are conversations, this interchange between CMS suppliers and users still remains quite muddled, even as it gets louder. I think it's important to tune into the growing volume, though, because when discussing CMS usability, at some level we're really asking, 'does the system actually work?' In an age of strict justifications for IT projects, that is an essential question to answer. "
    (Tony Byrne)

  • Are you in control of your website?
    A surprising number of websites are not being properly managed. A particular area of concern is content quality. Many managers have not put professional publishing procedures in place. They do not know what is being published on their websites. This is an unacceptable situation.

  • Are you publishing too much on your website?
    Many websites are still publishing content that is not core to their business. The justification is that such content will indirectly deliver benefit. This is not a good idea. Focus on the content that is directly applicable to your organization's objectives. Any other content confuses. It wastes time and money.

  • Avoid the Santa Claus approach to content management
    The Santa Claus approach to content management creates a content management software wish list. It believes in the magic of technology to sweep away any and every problem. Typically, those who believe in Santa don't believe in defining their processes, or figuring out just why they need a website in the first place.

  • Building an effective content management strategy
    "Strategy is a broad and all encompassing term. In simple terms, it is a plan used to attain a goal. What are we trying to accomplish? What are the possible courses of action? How can we get there most efficiently and effectively? What are the steps and components to a content strategy?"
    (Earley and Associates)

  • Content management: web publishing needs real discipline
    Too many organisations take an unprofessional approach to the content they publish on the web. Many web managers still seem to believe that if they get the technology right the publishing will look after itself. Quality publishing requires skill and discipline. Unfortunately, discipline is something many web teams are lacking.

  • Content management without a system
    It is quite possible, in fact could be preferable, to manage content and distributed authorship without the use of a content management system (CMS). Regardless, it’s very important to have a process in place before you choose a CMS.

  • Content migration: making it successful
    "In the real world, we all go into content migrations with high hopes and solid plans. Depending on the size of the site and the culture of the organization, you can expect delays, misunderstandings, and more than one last-minute 'uh oh'. There is a lot of good advice relating to managing the migration portion of a CMS project, and I’ve linked to some favorites below. In the meantime, here’s my short strategic plan"
    (Kassia Krozser - alt tags)

  • Content reuse in practice
    'Content reuse' is often seen as one of the key benefits to be gained by implementing a content management system (CMS). The reality however is that few organisations are able to realise this vision of content reuse in practice. Instead, content reuse is typically only used in a few limited situations, with authoring and publishing continuing unchanged to a large extent.

  • Creating a content strategy for your website
    "It's unfortunate that the software applications we use to look at websites are called 'browsers', because only web professionals actually browse sites. Everyone else comes with a specific goal in mind: 'Can I book a training place?' 'Do you have have this product, and should I buy it from you?'. People are looking for content to help them reach their goals, and you should start any site redevelopment by drawing up a content strategy designed to satisfy the user"
    (David Moore - IQ Content)

  • Doing a content inventory (Or, A Mind-Numbingly Detailed Odyssey Through Your Web Site)
    "A content inventory is a relatively straightforward process of clicking through your Web site and recording what you find. We’ve developed a simple Excel spreadsheet to help you structure your findings, and some tips on how to get through it."
    (Jeff Veen - Adaptive Path)
  • Do you manage a website or a warehouse?
    There are two types of people involved in websites today: those who see content as an asset, and those who see it as a commodity. The latter better start looking for a new career.

  • Fundamental concepts of reuse (PDF)
    Content reuse is fundamental to a successful unified content strategy. This chapter (Chapter 2 of Managing Enterprise Content) defines content reuse and the benefits of its use.It explores how other industries have employed reuse for decades to improve their processes and the quality of their products.

  • Less is more for university websites
    If the average university website were to sit an exam it would fail. In fact, every day a great many university websites are being examined by potential students and they are failing badly. Universities are growing websites like mushrooms, and have an amazing capacity to publish large quantities of irrelevant and confusing content.

  • Managing content with automatic document classification
    News articles and web directories represent some of the most popular and commonly accessed content on the web. Information designers normally define categories that model these knowledge domains (i.e. news topics or web categories) and domain experts assign documents to these categories. The paper describes how machine learning and automatic document classification techniques can be used for managing large numbers of news articles, or Web page descriptions, lightening the load on domain experts. The paper uses two datasets, one with with more than 800,000 Reuters news stories and another with over 41,000 websites, and classifies them using a Naïve Bayes algorithm, into predefined categories. We discuss the different parameters and design decisions that normally appear when building automatic classifiers, including, stemming, stop-words, thresholding, amount of data and approaches for improving performance using the structure in XML documents. The methodology developed would enable web based applications or workflow systems to manage information more efficiently, i.e. by assigning documents to topics automatically or assisting humans in the process of doing so.

  • Measuring your web content management processes
    What's really important to measure for your website? Firstly, you need to measure how successful you are at creating, editing and publishing content. These are your web content management processes. Secondly, you need to measure reader behavior. There will also be some core website performance issues to measure. This article examines key web content management process measurables.

  • Quality publishing is about saying "no"
    Are the people who have least to say in your organisation publishing most on your intranet or public website? Are the people who have most to say publishing least? You're not alone. Organisations are slowly realising that managing a website is as much about what you don't publish as what you do.

  • Scientific content management
    "Management is the pursuit of the best way. Content is an increasingly important resource and activity within organizations. It is time it was professionally managed."
    (Gerry McGovern)

  • Should you centralise or decentralise your publishing?
    Large websites often struggle to develop an efficient and cost-effective publishing model. Centralising publishing ensures a consistent quality of what is published, but is often slow and frustrating. Decentralised publishing is faster and often more cost-effective, but can result in inconsistent quality, unless rigorous publishing standards are adhered to.

  • Start measuring the cost and value of your content
    In his book The Principles of Scientific Management (1911), Frederick W Taylor wrote about how waste in activity was a greater problem than material waste. He wrote about planning, organising, training, management and measurement, as ways to address the problem. Today, we require a new form of Taylorism; one that addresses efficiency in content publishing.

  • Successfully deploying a content management system
    This article outlines a structured approach to deploying a CMS, as well as providing a range of practical guidelines and tips that will assist the implementation team.

  • Taking a content inventory
    "I've spent much of the past 2 weeks working on a content inventory. As a technique, it is pretty straightforward and well documented. But I've done this many times and have some extra tips."
    (Donna Maurer)

  • Taxonomy and metadata strategies for effective content management
    There is a lot of mumbo-jumbo like the word "taxonomy" that is being thrown around to describe how to manage so-called unstructured content like business documents, web site pages, and old fashioned technical reports and articles. On the one hand, we want to remember what we already know about how to create a useful core catalog record to describe a content object so it can be found again later when needed. On the other hand, there are some bad habits and obsolete ideas like inverted file indexes that we need to get beyond. This presentation is about what we have seen in dozens of applied information management projects over the past few years, and how you can take advantage of what you already know to solve big problems like these in your own organisations.

  • The structured-unstructured information continuum
    If you've fallen into the trap of thinking of databases as "structured" information, and files as "unstructured" information, you're not alone.

  • The top 5 risks of not managing your content
    Managing content is the key task in keeping a website strategic and fresh. Content management requires commitments to develop and follow a standard set of publishing processes, archiving strategies/lifecycle rules, and coordination with marketing, sales, training and customer service.

  • Web content management: a lot of great progress
    The web is still very new. Organisations are only beginning to digest it. But digest it they are. Every year I hear about the same fundamental problems. Yet if I listen closely I can recognise a gradual yet definite shift in attitude. Our world is maturing. It is moving on. Things are definitely getting better.

  • Web content management depends on trust
    Many websites are living off the credibility and trust that their brands have developed over many years in the offline world. For many organisations, there is a serious disconnect between how they operate in the offline world and how their websites operate.

  • Web content management predictions for 2004
    This is the year when web content comes of age. Organisations will slowly stop viewing content as some cost that needs to be managed. Instead, they will begin to see content as an asset that can drive profits and productivity. A new role will emerge within many organisations: the publisher/editor.

  • Why personalisation hasn't worked
    Personalisation hasn't worked because most people don't have a compelling reason to personalise. It hasn't worked because the cost of doing it well usually significantly outweighs the benefits it delivers. It hasn't worked because managers have seen it as some Holy Grail of content management.

  • You need a five-year plan for your website
    Websites change the way an organisation communicates with its staff, customers, investors and general public. A change in communication is a major shift for the organisation. To effectively implement such a change will take time. You need a five-year plan for your website.

  • Web content management a process, not a project
    When something is new, we need to approach it in an exploratory manner. We need to experiment and try things out. And so it has been with the web. That period is now over. We need to move from seeing our websites as a series of projects, to managing them as a well-planned process.

  • Web content management predictions for 2004
    This is the year when web content comes of age. Organisations will slowly stop viewing content as some cost that needs to be managed. Instead, they will begin to see content as an asset that can drive profits and productivity. A new role will emerge within many organisations: the publisher/editor.

Content management systems

  • CMS interface scalability
    Scalability problems in your CMS technical architecture will lead to slow page loads, errors, and disgruntled readers. Problems in the scalability of your CMS interface, in contrast, will lead to editorial process bottlenecks, dissatisfied users, stale content, and ultimately, dissatisfied readers.

  • cmsWiki: a wiki workgroup on content management systems
    A collaborative environment for people interested in and working with content management systems.

  • Don't make these mistakes when buying content management software
    Most organizations don’t need content management software. Unless you have a very busy website with lots and lots of content being published, the return on investment is not there. The majority of those who do require such software need a very simple, streamlined solution.

  • Enterprise information architecture: don't do enterprise content management without it
    Two questions resound throughout the content industry: Why do Enterprise Content Management (ECM) projects take so long to implement? And why do they fail with such alarming frequency? While all enterprise-level IT projects prove to be difficult and risky undertakings, a deeper examination of the ECM challenge in particular will reveal an endemic inattention to--or at best belated appreciation of--its critical corollary: the need for Enterprise Information Architecture (EIA).

  • Extracting value from automated classification tools
    Automated classification tools can't solve today's large-scale web and intranet indexing challenges alone. Neither can humans. But solutions that integrate human expertise with software products such as Interwoven's Metatagger and Autonomy's Categorizer can provide real value and savings. After a brief introduction to automated classification, this white paper discusses the benefits and limitations of manual, automated, and hybrid approaches. It explores the opportunities for leveraging controlled vocabularies and thesauri to produce more effective indexing solutions.

  • Information technology: Trojan Horse of information overload
    Before you invest in fancy content management software, make sure your people have the skills to create, edit and publish quality content.

  • Making a better CMS
    This whole category of software desperately needs to be redesigned with writers, editors, designers, and site owners in mind. Here are my recommendations to the folks writing open source content management systems.

  • Managing the complexity of content management
    Content management systems suck. Or so you would think from the strife heard from analysts and practitioners alike. And yet, many websites regularly publish vast amounts of information with superior control and ease compared to manually editing pages. So where's the disconnect between what's possible and the too-often failure of CMS?

  • Planning: the key to a successful CMS implementation
    So you think you need content management? The temptation is to call your Information Technology (IT) department and ask them to help you choose a content management system (CMS). Being very tool oriented, your IT department will love buying you the latest "silver bullet" without ever looking at your content requirements or your internal processes. This is the best prescription for failure.

  • Why content management fails
    So many of the companies I’ve spoken to lately have complained about the content on their Web sites. They say it’s woefully out of date, growing out of control, and generally a complete mess. Almost unanimously, these companies have chosen to solve the problem by handing it to their IT departments.

Mailing lists

  • ia-cms
    This discussion forum is a place where Information Architects, User Experience Designers, Library Scientists and other interested parties can talk about the building and using of Content Management Systems to create application for their audience's needs.


  • Content management systems, hot out of kindergarden, look set to make the grade
    An interview with Tony Byrne of CMS Watch (, who says content management systems are where the web was five years ago, but are catching up fast.

  • Making your content management system work for you: an interview with Jeff Veen
    Adaptive Path's Jeffrey Veen is a recognised expert in the area of web design and content management systems. UIE's Christine Perfetti recently had the opportunity to talk with Jeff about the reasons why many content management systems fail and what designers can do to avoid the common pitfalls associated with CMS installations. Here is what Jeffrey had to say about his experiences.

  • Peoplewatch: Lou Rosenfeld
    Lou Rosenfeld is an independent information architecture consultant. He has been instrumental in helping establish the field of information architecture, serving as president of Argus Associates consulting firm from 1994-2001. Here, he is interviewed by CMSWatch on the relationship between information architecture and content management.

Professional associations

  • CM Professionals: A Content Management Community of Practice
    CM Professionals offers a members-only mailing list, a collaborative website, discussion forums, issue-oriented group blogs, knowledge wikis, syndicated web services, a job board, a professional directory and a calendar of face-to-face meeting opportunities.