Wednesday, April 01, 2009

CIL2009: Implementing CMS: Academic

David Bietila and Jonathan Smith are providing information on the CMS projects that they did at their institutions (George Washington Univ. and the Catholic Univ. of America). I missed taking notes at the beginning of the session.

David Bietila -- Started with a needs assessment and created ways of keeping staff in the loop. The evaluated features and looked at what others had done. Were interested in Drupal, Joomla and Plone. They created scoring criteria in order to select a product. Plone scored significantly higher (even though the product is based on Phython and Zope).

Jonathan Smith -- They initially choice Mambo has their solution. But then the developers abandoned the software and created Joomla. CUA decided to install Joomla.

"STAR: Staff Resources for the CUA Libraries is a collaborative effort to facilitate communications though CUA..." Emphasis on policies, procedures and forms.

In doing the selection process, they established needs and evaluated features. Had to decide how to import existing content. Was there a strong, active user community? (Very important.)

Deployment - Learning
  • Install CMS on a development server and played with the product
  • Used online documentation
  • Checked user forums
  • Joomla in Libraries
  • Books -- none written in 2005, but now there are some books available
Deployment and costs
  • Technical deployment - Local hosting, development and production servers
  • Costs - servers, software ($0), initial staff time, ongoing staff time. Requires very little staff time on a ongoing basis.
Was important that librarians did not need to learn any HTML. Th editor would be familiar to most people.

  • Variety of content types
  • Taxonomy -- hierarchical structure, by function (not department). Each content item can only be assigned to one category.
Security / Ownership
  • Accessible to the general public?
  • Public content vs. restricted content -- There are different access levels
  • User levels - author, editor, publisher
  • Content ownership
  • Is not indexed in Google
  • Public web site does not point to this site
David Bietila --

Deployment - learning
  • Local laptop installation
  • Documentation on web and in books
  • IRS support channel
  • Courses, conferences, user groups
  • Peer institutions
  • Consultants
Deployment - Technical
  • Decided to host with a hosting company
  • Plone expertise
  • Academic clients
  • Level of support
  • Did development and production servers
  • Divided content migration duties and manually transferred pages
Implementation costs
  • Hosting - $5000/yr
  • Consulting ~$2000 -- configuring caching and load balancing; development of custom templates (news items on the front page).
  • Staff time - 1.5 year project for the web team. People worked on it intermittently.
Content types
  • Used default types - Used collections as a means of grouping content types from across the site
Security / Ownership
  • Plone supports granular ownership and rights over site content
  • Publication - content staging (public and private)
  • Workflow - can assign rights over different parts of the publishing process
  • Opportunity to rethink organization
  • Move away from departmental organization of content
  • Categories intended to reflect functional needs of users
  • Also created a secondary
  • Creation of unique look at feel
  • Began from a set of draft page designs predating our selection of Plone
  • Modified Plone display elements to reflect our proposed layout
  • Did presentations and updates for staff
  • Technical issues occurred mostly in initial month of use
Feedback / Problems
  • Very positive user feedback
  • Most staff found page editor intuitive
  • Technical issues in the first month
  • Plone / site has been relatively stable
Eliminated redundant content occurrences
No longer have to support a separate blog platform
Staff able to make edits
Consistent visual identity across the site
Enhanced navigation features
Future plans
  • Long enhancement list
  • Plan to configure second Plone instance as Intranet
  • Usability testing
Jonathan --

Feedback / Problems
  • Initial rush on content then decreased content creation
  • Fulfills role as policy repository
  • Desired features
  • Not used for communications
  • Use is consistently high or low depending on department
Future plans
  • Site redesign
  • Major upgrade
  • Reevaluate taxonomy
  • Desired features
  • Refresh visual design
Addendum (4/3/2009): I forgot note that I guest moderated this session for Michael Sauers, who was scheduled to be in two places at once.

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