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Content Management System

A content management system or service, which is referred to as a CMS (see em es), or web CMS, is a tool (or collection of tools) that allows people to create, edit, and publish material on one or more web sites or services.

The University has used a number of tools to deliver a CMS centrally, which include:

The Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)

The current CMS provides more sophisticated mechanisms for managing digital assets, tailored presentation, campaigns, and audience tuning.

Based on Adobe CQ 5, this tool was introduced in late 2013 to replace…

Jahia

An open source base wrapped up in enterprise support, built on a java platform. The University instantiated jahia on it’s Tomcat + Oracle infrastructure, and developed an apache based webroute layer to deal with load balancing and availability issues associated with the system design implemented.

Jahia introduced a much more restrictive template architecture than its predecessor, and the pool of authors was reduced to a relatively small number.  Workflow was standardised, and the need for specific roles in each faculty emerged. Faculties were treated as hierarchies, with a faculty based coordinator able to oversee the work of departmentally based content editors.

The information architecture was more sophisticated than it had been for the previous CMS, but the approach resulted in quite confusing experiences for visitors to web sites. While some variation at a faculty and department level was possible, the structure of the look and feel dominated what amounted to minor variation in colour. Page titles and the consistency of language used made it very easy to move between sites without realising.

This tool was introduced in 2009 to replace…

SHADO

which was a Cold Fusion based tool similar to the home made predecessor it replaced. SHADO was the first attempt at providing hosting for all faculty web services in the institution. It became a production service in 2005, and provided an interesting mix of development platform and CMS.

One of the deliverables for a University CMS was a more consistent look and feel across the public facing sites. SHADO supplied a common template that delegated some basic variations to allow a bit of local flavour for faculties, departments and service divisions that used it. The exposure of development interfaces, and direct access to content assets (including templates), allowed some interesting divergence from the original.

Where requested, academic staff and other content creators, were given access to the system.

Infrastructural design let this system down -a failure to separate a development instance from production, unsophisticated caching, and a failure to separate presentation from computation lead to performance issues in the author tools as well as the public facing interfaces.

This new collaboration across the institution exposed holes in governance and procedure, which made shared and reusable content more of a problem than a boon. Unsophisticated information architecture (at the time this tended to be more about page grouping, and depths of hierarchy rather than defining sources, scopes, and taxonomies/meta data) contributed to the issues., and this was exacerbated by the lack of standard workflow processes, which ultimately lead to a reduction in the pool of web authors allowed on later systems. 

Configuration Management System

An ITIL term referring to things like SCCM, Casper, AD, etc. -anything you can use to manage configuration across a business entity. The CMS for an organisation is the collection of tools it uses to do configuration management.