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Beyond the Fat Wire

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tuesday Afternoon, part one

This session is called "Implementing Content Management Systems - Next Steps" with some familiar faces on the panel. Ann Rockley and Bob Boiko, both of whom were speakers at the 2004 IA Summit, are there. The third person is Ben Martin, who I haven't heard of.

Ann Rockley says -- get presentation here (PDF)
  • XML is your friend
  • IA for the content authors / separate from IA for site visitors
  • Beware the content review cycle
    • Avoid unnecessarily multiple reviews
    • Make sure roles and workflows make sense
    • Don't let authors and reviewers get bogged down in minutiae
  • Content audit = an accounting of the information in your organization
    • what do we have
    • how much of it is there
    • how is the content used, reused, and delivered to various audiences
    • how can the content be unified -- how to create a unified content strategy?
  • Decide the structure of your content repository (beyond the file/folder structure)
  • First mistake is to choose a tool before you understand your requirements

Bob Boiko (who is a hoot) says:
  • A new edition of his book is coming out soon
  • what are good requirements?
    • important = things with "must" and "should"
    • durable
    • doable
    • just specific enough = with solid direction, but not so restrictive that you'll get into trouble
  • What sort of requirements?
    • the ones people give you = i.e., the stakeholders. however, they usually don't know. actually, you're lucky if they even have an idea of what content management is (and probably, they won't have a clue)
    • the ones you figure out yourself = when you get tired of people giving you crazy, un-doable ideas
      • because, people usually can't tell you what you need to know
      • they have their pet ideas, they have what maybe somebody "cool" told them
      • they give you opinions that may or may not be based in knowledge
      • the topics they will raise with you will be "hit and miss", often will be irrelevant, often will be contradictory
    • you still have to talk to people, but talk to them for the skeleton of what you need to know, don't expect them to give you everything you need to know
  • How do you fill in the blanks yourself?
    • what are the goals of the system? what are we trying to accomplish? how will we know we are successful?
    • who is the audience? (are the audiences)
    • what publication(s) is/are best for those goals and audiences? what content do those people need? what will communicate with them the most effectively?
    • what methods of transmission to these people want? web? handouts?
    • who will be supplying the content? (who are the authors -- what do those authors need? what goals to the authors have?)
    • what will the access method be? what is needed to make that method happen?
    • access structures means metadata and IA as well as delivery methods
  • The detailed requirements process -- collect the requirements, manage the requirements, publish the requirements
    • Documentation .... don't neglect this step. it's how you will communicate to your stakeholders
  • Understand the expertise of your authors
    • technical expertise (or not)
    • content expertise (if not, you're in trouble)
  • Map requirements to features

Ben Martin, of Industrial Wisdom, LLC, ex of JD Edwards, says in "Multilingual Content Management: Taming of the Shrew" -- get presentation here (PDF)
  • "shrew" -- in the sense of the animal that is so voracious that it will eventually eat itself rather than starve to death
  • the web is not a US, English speaking entity any more
Ben Martin really is talking to people whose sites are global, where localization is an issue. This is not our situation -- some would say that as a library at a US university (where to get admitted you need to exceed a minimum TOEFL score) that we should not be in a position to even consider issues related to multilinguality, localization, etc.

However, I believe that we can't forget that a sizeable portion of our audience is a member of that non-US, non-native English speaking, community. We might not offer translated, localized sites, but awareness of what will and will not communicate to that non-US, non-native English speaking community is something we have to have.

"Translation memories" .. a database that holds phrasal level translations
"Up chunking" .. dividing up your content into chunks, so that it can be reused, repurposed, and served up again in different contexts, formats, etc

Basically though:
  • Tame the source
  • Tame the change process
  • Integrate translation processes
  • Centralize, but allow flexibility to allow for localization needs

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