Making a convincing case to change from non- or lightly-managed web sites to a content management system (CMS) can seem daunting. However, you can build a strong case that will help convince administration of the benefits of CMSs. In this talk, two librarians who manage large public and internal websites at the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado Denver give you all of the ammo you need! Gain insight on why having a CMS is better than not having one and why an open source CMS tool (such as Drupal and MediaWiki) are viable, functional, and efficient solutions. Audience participation in the form of group therapy will be encouraged!
Concurrent session delivered at Internet Librarian 2011, October 19, 2011, with Nina McHale.
KenEliminate redundant interfaces - Makes creating, managing, and *using* content easier for all - Can make granularity of content harder to see - If you can do one function, you can do all - More burden on center to keep everything up; harder to delegate - Parts of your library may feel loss of control; may become data providers without the “pleasure” of maintaining the interfaceTeach one system - Everyone can be [somewhat easily] taught to use the system on the authoring side - Requires training effort. Easier/harder than Dreamweaver/raw HTML?Democratize content creation - Everyone can be an author – yay! - Everyone can be an author – uh oh. Does everyone understand how to speak with the library’s voice? - Editing/review processed may be needed; can increase bureaucracy when anyone can write, do you trust them to do so?One design (with subdesigns) for all - Gives your site an identify - Lowers user burden to understand where they are and how to get where they’re going - Your operating units may perceive a lack of autonomy - Their expertise is probably not server maintenance, graphic design – but content. Let them do that.
NInaEmphasize brand: - Make sure you patrons are clear where they are (which library and which department). Are you serious (academic)? Fun (public or youth)? Specialized (subject or region)? Let that show - What the heck is your brand, anyway? Can you articulate and design one?Navigation: This is information architecture - Let your users where they are in the context of your site - Provide sitewide access to the services they use and need (not the same thing!) the most - Do you have a complex organization? Hard to set limits on how broad or how deep a subsection’s navigation can/should beCore Services & Functionality - What do you offer that’s unique, special, or just very useful? - Does hiding things that are *almost* that important hurt? - Can your patrons understand what your key services & functions are from a simple label?
KenFunctionalityEnvironmentSecurityMaintenanceTerritoryContent, branding, messageStaffingCostChangeTechnical skillsAuthority (too much or too little)Where are users? They don’t care. They just want a website, dang it.
Il 2011 Making the Case for CMS!
MAKING THE CASE FOR CMS Internet NINA MCHALE & KEN VARNUM Librarian 2011 O c to b e r 1 9 2 01 1 @NINERMAC @VARNUM
ONE-QUESTION SURVEY What reasons have you been given that you cant use a CMSfor web development in your library?bitly.com/cmspoll
MOVING TO CMS: THE ISSUES1. Centralization of development2. Branding3. Democratization of content4. Control over your own destiny
CENTRALIZATION OF DEVELOPMENT Eliminate redundancy One system to rule them all Simplify everything through consolidation Control Who had it? Who gets it? Staffing levels Put right staff in right place Outsource hosting, worry about customizing?
BRANDING Emphasize your brand Standardize site navigation Push core services & functionality Reduces cognitive overload for your patrons Galvanizes and promotes library identity within your community (campus, city, etc. Doesn’t mean all departments/branches need to look the same. If no brand exists, the scope of the problem is well beyond the web folks.
DEMOCRATIZATION OF CONTENT CMS separates content creation from programming Lack of administrative oversight of content Focus on consistent message Perceived (or real) loss of control Removes most skill barriers from authoring Someone’s expertise may become valueless Some HTML still may be helpful for advanced users
CONTROL OVER YOUR OWN DESTINY You’re not dependent on someone else to make things happen When you want a new function, you can do it – often by mixing & matching existing tools Ability to respond quickly to patron needs You may inherit responsibility for application (CMS) and web server security A security compromise could put your parent institution at risk as well
CMS CONCERNS FROM 3 DIRECTIONS1. IT2. Administration3. Staff
IT CONCERNS: FUNCTIONALIT Y“CMSs are too limited. We’d have to moldthe site to the CMS, rather than buildexactly what we want.” Most CMSs are very flexible and can be extended by contributed packages of code (i.e., Drupal modules) Make a CMS choice carefully; research what strengths and weaknesses of each are and show how they are or aren’t a good fit.
IT CONCERNS: ENVIRONMENT“We don’t have a place to put it.” “Make one. Pretty please?” “We’re going rogue.” Web hosting options are inexpensive Many hosting companies have “one click” CMS install for popular CMS software Support may be better than what you get in- house
IT CONCERNS: MAINTENANCE“No one will be able to maintain thesystem; it will become a security issue.” Adopting a CMS does require taking on a maintenance regime. If the site’s functionality is not too complicated, upgrades are not difficult. See if IT will agree to maintain server environment; strike a balance.
IT CONCERNS: SECURIT Y, 1/2“Open source software isn’t secure.” The nature of open source development communities actually makes it more secure The managers of these sites think open source CMSs are secure: whitehouse.gov (Drupal) wikipedia.org (MediaWiki) NYT blogs (WordPress)
IT CONCERNS: SECURIT Y, 2/2“Too many people will have access to theweb server.” In most CMSs, only web admins require direct server access Content creators add content via a browser Existing accounts (i.e., LDAP/AD) can be used Permissions of CMSs allow very granular, precisely controlled access
ADMIN CONCERNS: TERRITORY“We have to use our parent organization’sContent Management System.” What are limitations of that CMS? Does that truly give your users the best experience? Who “owns” web services within the library? Admin? IT? Public Service s?
ADMIN CONCERNS: CONTENT/MESSAGE“Library staff will have free reign on thesite.” Develop a content strategy Who speaks on the site, and what should they say? Set standards for content, branding, etc. Establish web publication workflows with editorial review (CMSs support these!) Train library staff on all of the above
ADMIN CONCERNS: STAFFING“We don’t have anyone who can do this foryou. No one has the time or the skills.” “I can do it.” Install the CMS on your laptop and develop a sample site. Time saving aspects of CMSs can free up time doing tedious work (link checking, reports, stale content) on a static site to learn how to maintain a CMS-based site.
ADMIN CONCERNS: COST“A CMS will be too costly.” Learning the CMS will be an initial investment, even if it’s free, in terms of employee time Web authoring software (Dreamweaver, etc.) is no longer necessary for content creators to draft content and connect to the server Cost of licenses Cost of staff time learning specific software versus web-based input of most CMSs
STAFF CONCERNS: TECH SKILLS“They’re too hard to use.” Web staff may have to learn the CMS initially Most CMSs use browser-based editing for content creation If staff can type in a web browser, they can add content to a CMS
STAFF CONCERNS: CHANGE“This will be a big change; will we be ableto manage it?” “You won’t have to use Dreamweaver anymore.” “You won’t have to use FrontPage anymore.” “You don’t have to use HTML (if you don’t want to).” Point out these and other benefits that will make life easier for content creators.
STAFF CONCERNS: AUTHORIT Y“We won’t have control over our content.” How much control do they have now? What are their specific concerns? Organization must establish rules for content (workflow, procedures, etc.) Most CMSs have very robust user/permissions systems that allow staff access to precisely what they need for their work, and no more
THE ONE QUESTION SURVEY: YOUR RESPONSESWhat reasons have you been giventhat you cant use a CMS for web development in your library?
CONTACT INFORMATION Nina McHale Ken Varnumnina@milehighbrarian.net email@example.com @ninermac @varnum milehighbrarian.net rss4lib.com