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Published on September 24th, 2006 | by Rahel Bailie


Types of content management

Any CMS worth itsr salt supports the creation, approval, storage, retrieval, versioning, re-use, and delivery of content objects. What differs is the type of content that being managed and the features that manipulate the content in specific ways for different purposes.
Web Content Management, usually referred to by the generic term “content management,” is a system for handling content on one or more Web sites. WCM can range from an extraordinarily simple application, such as a blog, to feature-rich applications that run portals delivering personalized content, such as a “My Yahoo” page. Some WCM applications are known for their specializations, such as the handling of localized content.

XML Structured Content Management has functions that allow authors to product technical documentation and publish that content to multiple channels. These systems usually have more functions, such as the ability to generate PDFs and online help as well as Web pages, and have features that generate authorities (table of contents, index, glossary) and let authors view their content in a familiar split-pane “table of contents” format common in help authoring tools. Of the 2,000-plus commercial CM systems, only a dozen or so are intended for the power-publishing done by technical communicators.

Enterprise Content Management does both WCM and XSCM and more. Each ECM system has its own unique combination of modules that handle content that ranges from unstructured content, such as email, to records, documents, and product information for e-commerce sites – in fact, any or all of the types of content mentioned here. These are usually massive, expensive systems that often get semi-implemented. (The words “SAP implementation” and “ECM implementation” often cause the same type of hysterical laughter from staff who have survived such projects.)

Knowledge Management essentially uses content management technology for the purpose of gathering information to help with business processes, best practices, expert systems, and other information that can lead to better business intelligence. This affects the way the content is searched and retrieved.

Learning Management manages content for online courses, along with the management of supplemental information such as student information and test scores. Many LM systems use SCORM (Sharable Content Objective Reference Model) standards that specify ways to catalogue, launch, and track course objects.

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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

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