Content Management

Below are loosely organized speaking notes for Zach’s Essentials of Web Development class that I guest-lectured/substituted on Monday, November 17th.

Either we do the content management, or we get the computer to do it for us

What is redundant and repetitive about web management?

  • Placement of branding elements.
  • Placement and updating of navigation elements
  • Placement and tracking of ads
  • Updating of lists, indexes, and other info as a site’s content changes

These tasks consume time, but do not require great skill. A smart webmaster will learn how to automate them, or be replaced by somebody who already did. Start small: automate these repetitive tasks that burden the webmaster, as with sysadmins, who have often automated every repeated task with a collection of script.

But the webmaster is still burdened with adding content and making changes to all the pages. Weren’t computers supposed to distribute power throughout an organization, creating efficiencies by allowing each unit to move faster with fewer layers of management? How well can a decentralized organization be served by centralized web management?

Classic dilemma: centralized web management allows an organization to maintain the greatest control over its web presence, ensuring consistent branding, style, and capabilities throughout the site. But, centralization limits growth and agility, making the web presence slow to react to changes. Distributed management is often better at acting and reacting in concert with the organization, but at the cost of the unity and consistency in the site.

Can a content management system help? Can a content management system allow distributed management of web content without giving up the strong branding and consistent user experience of a centrally managed site?

Using a dictionary as an example:

man·age·ment (mnj-mnt) n.

  1. The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control: management of a crisis; management of factory workers.
  2. The person or persons who control or direct a business or other enterprise.
  3. Skill in managing; executive ability.

Dictionary definitions are written and edited by teams of people, but they all know their work has to meet certain criterial. When presented to the user, each definition is presented in a consistent and predictable way. The placement of the word, the pronunciation guide,the definitions and usage examples all contribute to the user’s overall understanding of the material and the usability of the resource

The Lamson Library site and CMS:

Lamson Library