Photo by Dossy
Photo by Dossy
Content Management Systems

Brief Description

(From Wikipedia) "A content management system (CMS) is a computer application used to create, edit, manage, search and publish various kinds of digital media and electronic text.[1] CMSs are frequently used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing industry-specific documentation such as news articles, operators' manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures. The content managed may include computer files, image media, audio files, video files, electronic documents, and Web content. These concepts represent integrated and interdependent layers. There are various nomenclatures known in this area: Web Content Management, Digital Asset Management, Digital Records Management, Electronic Content Management and so on. The bottom line for these systems is managing content and publishing, with a workflow if required."


Most organizations used to create web pages with hypertext markup language or HTML. This required changing every page on the site of you changed formats, hand linking of pages, etc. Now we have tools that allow us to set the look and feel of a site for every page, and then adjust content only on the individual pages. These tools allow organizations to build sites easier, have better organized sites and have additional features like search built into the software.

When to use

Content management systems are used both for internal ("intranet") applications, external websites, and, when collaboration features are used, they are used not just for managing content but for providing an overall collaboration and communications platform.

How to use

Examples of Content Management Systems

For additional lists see this page on Wikipedia
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • SharePoint
  • Typo3

Some of the open source content management systems have large, active communities of users and developers. These communities can provide technical support, customization, ready to use modules/add-ons, and other support.

In some cases these communities are creating specialized sub-communities of users and developers for customized information management solutions that can be applied to specific sectors. One example is AgriDrupal. AgriDrupal is built on the Drupal CMS, and is both a “suite of solutions” for agricultural information management and dissemination, and the community of practice around these solutions. To learn more about AgriDrupal and the organizations that are using it, take a look at this presentation.

Tips and Lessons Learnt

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Examples & Stories

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Who can tell me more?

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Related Methods / Tools / Practices


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Idealware's March 2009 comparison of Joomla, Drupal and Plone


Photo or image credits

Creative Commons photo by Dossy

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