UNVERSITY CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM OVERVIEW
What is a content management system?
Using templates, Web-based tools, and a database, a content management system creates and manages the Web pages on a site. It allows a large, decentralized institution like Johns Hopkins University to maintain a diverse Web presence while ensuring both a common look and maximum site efficiency.
Johns Hopkins has a wide variety of Web sites and pages with varying designs, navigation tools, and content relevance. Given the diverse needs of individual departments, centers, and offices, responsibility for site maintenance falls to many people in different locations and with varying skills who need controlled access to their sites to update specific information. Currently, sites hosted on www.jhu.edu can be changed or updated only by a person familiar with html and/or graphic design.
A content management system (CMS) facilitates ongoing site management by separating content creation/updating from the design and technology needed to maintain an online presence. When those who create the content can easily update it, the publication process is streamlined and the maintenance workload drastically reduced. From WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) content editing areas similar to Microsoft Word’s, to function-rich modules, to auto-checking for broken links, a solid CMS can mean the diff erence between content that is relevant or outdated.
What are the benefits of using a CMS?
Speed and ease of content updates
Keeping information current, relevant, and consistent can take hours when there is no central mechanism for making changes. To alter a format requires going back to every page and editing. To update content requires touching every page where that piece of static content resides (or risk having old content on some sites and updated content on others). With content in a CMS, however, it is possible to make global changes because information stored in one central location can be displayed on any number of pages.
A CMS reduces signifi cantly the time it takes to react to breaking news or disseminate information via the Web. Articles can be written, edited, and published in a matter of minutes, without having to wait for an available Web master or programming team.
Content stays timely
Since authorized staff can specify the dates and times for the content to go live, or be archived and removed, the site stays fresh and relevant, and information can be distributed to a number of areas while residing in one central location.
Automatic link maintenance
Work flow and staffing
A key component of CMS is distributed authorship, or the separation of work into diff erent types, which are then assigned to individuals according to their training. Web designers, for example, can make the site attractive, database programmers can handle the linking and logic, and editors and writers can supply and fashion the content. Since one person can’t be expected to excel at design, programming, writing, and editing, this setup produces a more professional Web site.
The CMS also enables a non-technical person to maintain a professional Web site. With a content editing area similar to Microsoft Word’s, anyone experienced in document preparation will be able to maintain the Web site.
How will Site Executive benefit my department?
Design & Publications will work closely with your department to professionally develop templates that fit your needs. These templates will refl ect the high standards of the university, as well as the diverse needs of university departments and their many and varied audiences. In order to take full advantage of the CMS, sites must be created using these templates.
In addition, the university will train end-users on the CMS and provide account management support throughout the site development cycle. Th is process allows individual departments to have more control over their Web presence and will allow for a more efficient use of dedicated Web resources. Using the templates, department staff will be able to build and maintain their Web pages when needed.
For more information on using the CMS or developing Web sites within JHU, please contact Design and Publications, 443-287-9940.