Content management systems: In search of an ideal platform
Content management systems are addressed, as well as their place in the creation of information systems in institutions. Both the characteristics and the advantages and necessary conditions for the introduction of this class of systems are exposed. Several of the available tools for creating content management systems are compared. The implementation of an information system based on a content management system previously requires an analysis phase, where the most appropriate tool for the particular characteristics, conditions and objectives of a specific institution is determined.
The content management systems are undertaken, as well as their place in the creation of the information systems in different institutions. The characteristics, advantages and necessary conditions for the introduction of this type of systems are studied. Several available content management systems creation tools are compared. The establishment of a system of information based on a contents management system requires of a previous phase of analysis, where the most appropriate tool for the characteristics, conditions and private objectives of a specific institution are determined.
The development of an institution is, to a great extent, the product of the precision and effectiveness of the information system that supports its operation. A system with truthful, reliable, precise and well-structured information will guarantee the success of your consumers’ decisions. To obtain these results, an efficient and uninterrupted flow of information is necessary to support institutional processes so that they flow freely, based on the work of personnel equipped with the necessary knowledge for the development of their activities.
Information systems are designed to capture, update, integrate, consult and analyze information relevant to the organization to which they belong.
In order for an information system to be able to carry out the proposed tasks, it is necessary to identify, before its implementation:
- The institutional needs that justify its creation.
- The strengths and weaknesses that can make the system succeed or fail.
- The information that will circulate.
- The tools capable of capturing, storing and retrieving information.
- The form of exchange of ideas, forums, etc.
- The staff that will take care of its maintenance.
All these factors, properly integrated, make it possible for an information system to work perfectly.
They manage the data they store.
They manage the users who use the information, who can also add it.
They have an interface in correspondence with the information they contain.
They integrate not only data and information, but also programs and other information systems.
Information systems not only store data, but this data must be processed and distributed, as noted above. For their distribution, they must follow a clear and comfortable representation for the end user. This user is not only a consumer, he can also act as a producer of information. The system must have a record of the production of its users. In this environment, several programs can be integrated that help the development of the information system, an information system can even be the conjunction of several micro systems that are integrated into a general one, with a common presentation format that identifies it.
The point of the interface is very important for the presentation to the user, because it can help or harm the contact. A friendly, discreet, easy-to-use interface with simple navigation has many advantages over a load of information that is poorly defined, poorly organized and with tangled and confusing navigation.
The information included in an information system must be processed by those responsible for it before it is incorporated. Those in charge of operating the system must receive the information, as well as verify its origin and the programs used to prepare it, in order to incorporate it for later use.
The fact that automated information systems depend heavily on people who process the information, authorize its inclusion, and others who publish it, began to conspire against their effectiveness and rapid evolution, because, due to these processes, the information is it took time to be available to end users, as it had to circulate through various specialists; In addition, it also happened that after its expiration, it was still visible on the site. An information system that loses track of the development and workflow of the institution to which it belongs can be considered mediocre or useless.
Integration processes rest on the idea of using information as the common resource for all functions and departments and, therefore, the basis for creating a flow of data that links all areas and levels, where it flows horizontally and transversally through of the intricate skein of the organization. two
In this sense, the organizations began to create strategies that were aimed at the integration of resources and a constant flow of information circulation processes; but the solution to the need that existed, was more of a technological nature than of another nature.
The appearance of content management tools came to amend the problems presented by information systems and led institutions to base their information systems on content management systems; For this reason, it can be said that content management systems owe their emergence, basically, to the need to make up for the shortcomings that were stated before, along with other aspects such as the fact that institutions began to see solutions as insufficient. provided by information systems based on static Web pages, in need of specialists dedicated to their development. That is why, among the main benefits of content management systems is allowing anyone, without advanced computer skills, to place, modify or remove content from the site. This, without giving up the necessary quality controls required by an information system that is respected.
The appearance of content management systems took place at the end of the last century, more specifically from the mid-nineties, which is when its development in the technological world began. Among the pioneering companies in the development of this type of applications is Illustrate Information Technology, which in 1994 used a database as a content repository, with which it provided its users with a friendly environment for their intellectual creation. Another of the content management systems that had its birth and development in this decade was Typo 3, which came onto the market in 1997.
However, it is not until the beginning of the current century that content management systems begin to be consolidated and introduced into the business world as a way of developing information systems. In the year 2000 and with the consolidation of the concept of content management, Pupuke appears, a tool that was very popular among the Internet user community. Informed began working with its own content management system to support its portal in 2002.
The consolidation of content management systems is mainly due to the place that the Internet occupies in the development of organizational life. Companies use the network of networks to promote themselves, guide their operations and carry out all kinds of transactions. But as the Internet grows, so do the needs for organization within it, as well as systems dedicated to providing good content without distraction for end users.
Once technological results began to be obtained that supported the integration process in the institutions, the new tools were also used to solve these problems, to integrate not only departments in companies, but also branches and dependencies of the same company, physically separated. The basis of this operation is to share information, without any of the institutions losing its identity or its position in society.
Content management systems
The basic idea behind a content management system is to separate content management from content design. Page layout is stored in templates while content can be stored in separate databases or files. When a user requests a Web page, the parts are combined to produce a standard HTML page. The resulting web page can include content from multiple sources. 3
In this environment, users create their pages, with specific designs, and site administrators, in case they need to change the appearance of the site, they only have to work on the templates, without the need to alter the content or individual designs.
Another criterion is that “A content management system serves so that the management of a website, no matter how small, does not get out of hand: it allows to have a uniform appearance and navigation throughout the site, as well as update and manage its content easily.
It can also be verified that, in the case of content management, the processes are much more explicit and delimited, and this leads to better management and use of information.
One of the most important characteristics of content management systems is the fact that the system can be maintained, with the collaboration of multiple users, that is, there will always be elements to consult, without waiting for specialists to publish the information , according to their possibilities and with the priority they understand, when it may not be the one required.
A content management system is the confluence of the collection, processing, updating, representation and consultation of information in an institution, for decision making in a Web environment; These tasks are carried out with the collaboration of all the users, and the system does not depend only on isolated information, but also on its dynamics, which are continuous in nature, turning the process into a productive cycle, resulting from their feedback.
In summary, content management systems are used to create, process, share and organize content cooperatively between authors and the system, where the latter is capable of offering possibilities to integrate content, regardless of its format or origin. , as well as guiding its flow within it, and this offers the opportunity for institutions to successfully navigate through information management towards institutional learning, as an invaluable way to fulfill their mission and strategic objectives, as well as for the reduction of the friction costs of this process. Friction costs include the direct and indirect costs associated with the implementation and start-up of a system or technology, be it computerized or otherwise.
Among the most important characteristics of content management systems and that constitute an evolution of traditional information systems, is the fact that they are manageable by all users, everyone can upload information, manipulate it, represent it, etc. This could be seen as a problem, in terms of the veracity and reliability of the information that circulates in the system, but the truth is that content management systems allow functions to be distributed to their users, so there will always be individuals in charge of verifying that includes and who includes it, with the option to reject or request modification of the material.
This process is done dynamically, because when an author or contributor sends a material to be published, reviewers and administrators, when accessing the system, it shows them a list of pending works, they only have to review it and take action It required. In addition, since there are several people with these possibilities, the contents are not grouped and age without being published. Also, it is possible to submit the information to debate and then improve it, without the need for people to meet and talk about it, but from their workplace and with the ease that each criterion or comment made is recorded and perfectly visible. This is summed up in the so-called ability to implement workflows or workflows typical of this type of system.
One of the characteristics of content management systems and which also constitutes an advantage with respect to their use, is the fact that they enable the immediacy of the publication and edition of the contents, thereby setting aside clumsiness and the obstacles that qualify many information dissemination processes, the necessary agility is then obtained for the dissemination of the contents in an institution.
Other advantages of content management systems are:
- The ability to efficiently handle large numbers of Web pages.
- Work in an environment of interactive Web pages, that is, they are generated according to user requests.
- Control user access to the system, not only through their password, but also through the permissions assigned to each one and the information included, both in quality and quantity, which enables the perfect growth and performance of the system.
- Order in the system, as there is the possibility of assigning, by the tool, the same style to all the generated pages.
- Depending on the environment they manage and the information they use, there are different types of content management systems, the best known and used are:
Document management. Basically oriented to the cataloging and recovery of contents.
Web content management. Basically focused on the construction and management of portals, it covers the processes of creation, production and distribution of digital documents for company portals.
Knowledge management. It is mainly based on the uniform structuring of the system data, as well as the relationship between them. From this, it provides control, both of the contents of the site and of the people who use it.
Business content management. It fully manages the contents of companies, in order to meet their objectives. For this, it uses from the management of other systems to documents. A clear example of these systems are intranets.
Sistemas open source
When content management systems emerged, although they came to solve several problems in the world of business management, they also brought a problem with them: the costs of the tools that made their development possible. At first, you had to pay to get the tools; however, little by little, “open source” tools made their way, to the point that, at the moment, the world of tools that support content management systems is practically divided between tools that must be paid for and those that need to be paid for. open source code. However, “open source” programs are increasingly gaining the trust of consumers; its advantages over commercial programs are obvious.
The pro-“open source” movement encompasses all the necessary aspects to lead the open development of computer applications. 7 When the source code of a program is available in the community of technicians, technology creators and users in general, it is possible, through collective work, to constantly improve the programs, share solutions and improve the tool; “open source” is a new work philosophy in the technological world.
Several myths revolve around this movement that seek to obscure its advantages, such as: that it does not have a secure future in the technological world, that it is not safe to use programs of this type or that there are risks to its adaptation.
The future of open source code programs, on the other hand, is very secure and is in full development, due to its formidable advantages for collective development work, as well as for the adaptation of programs to the particular needs of users. Many of these programs, contrary to what some may think, are backed by large companies.
The statement that establishes that they are insecure, because their source code is open or that there is risk in their adaptation, is not credible either, because under the apparent problem of insecurity is the fact that, since their source code is in the public domain, thousands of creators and programmers around the world work to fix its security flaws and those results are public. On the other hand, it is believed that the possibility of claiming against a proprietary company in the event of a malfunction of the application obtained is a clear disadvantage; however, there are companies responsible for the programs, even if they are “open source”and also, when any aspect of the program does not satisfy the user, he is completely free to change or improve it, to benefit his needs.
The selection, implementation and start-up of a content management tool is the result of a detailed study and analysis of the organization that wishes to install it, its objectives, the work processes and information resources it uses, and of its potential users. Consequently, exhaustive planning, the result of prior study, and a rigorous start-up methodology are unavoidable in order to succeed in a content management initiative. 8
An institution should not implement a system of this type by fashion or by going with the flow. There are some key aspects that the personnel who are in charge of introducing these systems must analyze in order to determine if it is convenient or not, for example:
- Need to minimize time and effort in the creation, search and distribution of information in the institution.
- Need to eliminate duplication in work.
- Outdated or messy intranets and with an interface that is difficult to navigate.
- Little or no control of the flow, both of information and of users who use the services.
- From these aspects, then, you must, in order to implement a content management system without error:
- Identify what type of information needs to be included in the system.
- Analyze which are the priority points of the implementation.
- Determine which tool will be used for system implementation.
- Create a small-scale, low-staff schedule to assess system development.
- Involve the staff of the institution and make them participate in the project, give them responsibilities and commit them to its development.
Digital libraries, the paradigm for information services at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, organized around the trio of users, collections and value-added services, are configured as a highly specialized space for content management. The development of digital collections, the organization and creation of access mechanisms or metadata management benefit from the combination of digital publication processes and information management principles. In addition, they tend to configure collaboration spaces, through access and management of distributed collections. The current status of the major tools is diverse, as are their approaches, ranging from federated document repositories like Fedora to end-user tools like Greenstone . 8
The publication of digital information has become very important in recent years, not only with the appearance and consolidation of the Internet, but also as a means of supporting the educational and investigative work of schools, companies and universities. In this sense, the creation of digital collections whose main characteristic is that they allow the storage and distribution of information in a very agile way has become very fashionable.
When digital collections are going to be created, there are two ways: integrate content created digitally or digitize documents.9 But placing the documents on an internal website or on the Internet does not solve the problem, rather it is essential to create easy, user-friendly retrieval interfaces and attractive to users.
Another very important element is that, with the advances in content syndication technologies (RSS), Web services, XML and others, it is possible to separate workspaces and content production from their presentation. In this way, a content management system allows the production of news and other types of documents that feed portals, information channels and other media such as PDAs and mobile phones, thus obtaining great flexibility in the systems and separating the flow productive of the diverse modalities of presentation of information products and services.
Tools for content management
The selection of the tool that will support the content management system is a key decision.
To select a content management tool, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the purposes of the Web and the services that are to be provided with it; in addition to the user groups to which the system is directed; even the requirements of the network equipment, not only of the servers in which it will be mounted, but of the necessary equipment in the workstations, as well as the characteristics of the network.
From the range of features of the tools to create content management systems, the main ones to consider are:
Accessibility: The possibility of being able to access from any computer on the network, without the need to install additional programs.
Interface: Presentation to the user of the contents, visual appearance of the work area and exchange.
Flexibility: Possibility of adaptation to the needs of the organization.
Comments and evaluations: Possibility of discussing the contents, issuing criteria, etc.
Search Engine: Ease of searching the entire site.
Metadata: Assign metadata, either automatically or manually, to content for better retrieval.
News, articles: Make publications, both events, news and publication of content by the institution’s staff.
Language: Possibility of customizing the system in the native language of the users.
Group work: Collaboration between the members of the organization, synchronization of work and activities.
Document management: Access to documents, both internal and external, through links, authorship, date of publication, etc.
Workflow: Maintains control of content, entry, registration, cancellation, user profiles, among other aspects.
Security: Authentication of users and verification of circulating information.
Application server: System on which the tool is developed.
Database: Ease of organization, storage, search and retrieval of site information.
Operating system: Requirements for the computers in which the tool will be mounted and those that will use the services.
Cost: Paid or free.