Towson University is implementing a content management system for its website. In 2008 the university purchased RedDot, now called OpenText CMS Solutions, to better manage the website’s 30,000+ pages.
What is a content management system?
A content management system is a computer application that allows the contributors to organize, manage, create and collaborate with their publications. In Towson University’s case, we’ll be applying the content management system to the university’s website, http://www.towson.edu/. The content management system that we will be using is OpenText CMS Solutions http://websolutions.opentext.com/index.htm. Over 100 universities have used this CMS as well to manage an publish their website content, including University of Arkansas, Yale Law School, and SUNY/University at Albany.
Why are we making a change?
It is a step toward meeting 2010 website goals for the university.
The software provides the following advantages:
Better management of the online channel
Greater consistency of brand and university messaging
Fresh and accurate content
Greater attention to disability compliance
Increased efficiencies with in-browser page editing capabilities
Ability to personalize content based on user type (current and prospective students, etc.)
Translation management capabilities
More “Web 2.0” features and functionality such as blogs, forums, user ratings
How is it different from the way our website works now?
Our current website is coded as static HTML pages. This means that when site editors update and publish content, it’s done using a web editor such as Contribute, Dreamweaver or Frontpage. It requires the editor to know some basic HTML to update and publish pages. The content lives in silos, that is, the content that can’t be shared between pages. The content is built on and as a singular page.
The key difference with OpenText CMS Solutions, is that the content is coded into “chunks” or “components” that are then assembled into pages. This allows the sharing of reusable content throughout the site. It also allows for greater consistency of information. OpenText CMS Solutions allows editing and publishing directly through your web browser window. You will not need to know HTML code to update your pages. You will update your page content (text, imagery, Flash, video, audio, etc.) by simply clicking on a red dot assigned to a specific chunk of content. Once you edit that content, it is submitted to a publishing workflow for review, approval, and eventual publication live on the site. These workflows can be customized by group and department.
What does it mean for me?
It will mean first a reassessment of your site section’s content and information architecture. We are encouraging all groups and departments to review their exiting content to retire old content that is no longer relevant. This will assist in the conversion process, but more importantly make it easier for your audience to find information.
The Web Development Group will work with you to reevaluate your website information architecture and propose any needed changes before it will be converted into the content management.We will also discuss and define workflow for editing and publishing based on your group’s needs.
These initial steps are necessary before we can begin the conversion and migration of your site content from the existing site into the new CMS templates.
What training will be needed?
The Web Development Group will provide the necessary training to create pages and make edits using the new system. The training schedule will be coordinated with your site conversion.
What is the implementation schedule?
We’ve started with coding and conversion of the “Research” section of the site, and will next move onto the “Admissions” section, followed by “Academics” and “About”. Conversion of the main navigation areas of the site will follow suite. A detailed schedule is in progress and we will be reaching out to your group to discuss your site and determine a timeline for its conversion and migration.
We will post updates on the web development website, http://www.towson.edu/adminfinance/ots/websitedev/
Please contact Barney Kirby, x44108, with any questions.