Duncan Kent & Associates Ltd. > Content Management Systems

By: Duncan Kent & Assoc  09-12-2011
Keywords: Content Management, Style Guidelines

Many large organizations are now looking to content management systems (CMS) to provide information to their staff or clients. CMSs allow organizations to reuse written and graphic information in a variety of documents while still maintaining only one copy of the information, so it’s much easier to keep up to date and is consistent across all your documents and formats. CMSs can also help you manage the process of creating, reviewing, approving, and revising your documents, and may also allow all staff to author documents such as Web pages with little or no authoring experience.

Information Objects and Meta Information

CMSs require you to break down documents into small reusable chunks called information objects. These objects must be designed so they can be recombined into a variety of different documents. Each information object is tagged with meta information, which helps authors assemble objects into documents, and helps users find what they’re looking for.

Separating Content from Format

So that information objects can be reused in different documents (including both print and online), all formatting must be removed from the objects. The separation of content from format is essential to creating a flexible and powerful CMS. Instead, you’ll need to tag the elements that make up your objects (such as headings, introductions, and text) so they can be automatically formatted for output into various types of documents. To make it all possible, you’ll need to purchase CMS software and roll it out across your organization.

Information Model

We can help you develop an information model—a detailed plan of how you intend to divide up and reuse your organization’s valuable information resources. Here's how:

  • Reviewing existing information and analyzing user information needs
  • Defining standard types of information objects
  • Defining the structure and contents of key documents
  • Developing writing and formatting style guidelines
  • Creating a comprehensive information model
  • Helping select and implement CMS software
  • Working with your authors to write and edit information objects
  • Helping create output document templates (sometimes called document type definitions or DTDs)
  • Helping apply XML tags to information objects
  • Determining meta information and tagging objects
  • Designing and hosting training workshops for staff

Keywords: Content Management, Style Guidelines

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