Web content management is a process in which content management solutions are used to create, store, publish, update, and repurpose content to be communicated through an organization’s Web site. The content may appear in the form of HTML, XML, image, audio/video, plain text, or database. The management of these assets is achieved through using templates, workflow tracking features, publishing systems, and storage of content objects in database or file indexing systems.
Web content is rapidly becoming one of the primary components of the competitive advantage for all types of organizations. Whether an organization’s Web site can attract and retain users plays an important role in an organization’s success, especially for e-businesses. The increasing importance of Web content demands better and more responsive methods and technologies that produce and provide access to it.
WEB CONTENT LIFE CYCLE
Components in a Web content life cycle are given different names depending on how developers view and build the content management system. Latham (2002) proposes a six-phase life cycle for more general content management. They are creation/acquisition, review, aggregation/management, distribution, archiving, and destruction, all in the context of workflow and integration. IBM defines a Web content life cycle as having four major elements: content creation, content management, content access management, and production content delivery includes 11 columns in a content life cycle.
The general principles for content creation are to keep documents small, to build a modular system, to reuse content and definitions as much as possible, and to create powerful metadata (Gabriel, 2001). The size of display areas is limited on computer screens and smaller devices. Keeping documents small increases the displaying flexibility, but more importantly, smaller documents and document components increase the chance for them to be restructured and reused.
CONTENT CREATION AND AUTHORING
Web content results from business processes such as planning, design, and implementation and falls into a number of large categories—depending on which criterion is used to categorize the content. For example, commonly seen content types include information on products, procedures and guidelines, reports from research or development projects or business transactions, presentations, and white papers to the public.
Version Control and Collaborative Authoring
The term “version control” has long existed before the Web. It was originally used to manage versions of source code in programming projects. Version control software allows a developer or a group of developers to keep track of versions of program files that modifications have been made to.
Document Management Systems
Managing documents—e-mail messages, spreadsheets, image files, media files, or textual material—traditionally uses file systems in which documents are organized by location in hierarchies. The hierarchical structure of folders maps out the semantic structure of the file system. However, the hierarchical file system is not without a problem. For instance, documents can appear only in one place in the structure, even though they may play different roles and be relevant to other activities. As Dourish et al. described, the ideal document management system is the kind that provides a logical structure for document storage (meeting the needs of the system) while supporting document interaction.
Many commercial document management systems are built based on document properties, rather than document locations, because document properties are “the primary, uniform means for organizing, grouping, managing, controlling, and retrieving documents”
A document management system may be a collection of roughly related systems that perform one or more of several functions, or a system consisting of a number of functional modules. Typical document management systems perform the following functions.