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Published on January 15th, 2007 | by Rahel Bailie

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Picking through the alphabet soup of content management technologies

Managing content takes many forms. In fact, you could serve up a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms that vary on the content management theme: the basic CM (content management), WCM (Web content management), ECM (enterprise content management), DMS (document management), DAM (digital asset management), KM (knowledge management), LM (learning management), PIM (product information management), RM (records management or rights management), and CRM (customer relationship management). These terms refer to different types of content, with specific business requirements and processes that drive the feature set of the particular technologies.

Not surprisingly, none of the technologies mentioned so far support the production of content for purposes of producing technical documentation.

That is a specific type of content management system that has specialized functions for technical communicators doing multi-channel publishing, yet it hasn’t spun off its own specific acronym.  Sometimes called structured content management with XML – personally, I think XSCM would make a fine acronym for XML content management – it refers to what I hear many writers still do with “FrameMaker and an Excel spreadsheet”: facilitate re-use of content across multiple output channels such as print, PDF, online help, and customer support knowledge base.

So when confronted with this jungle or acronyms, how can you tell what’s what? Borrowing heavily from the glossary compiled by CM Professionals at http://www.cmsglossary.com, I’ll be posting a series of articles that take a look through the many acronyms behind the technologies enabling companies to handle their content management needs.


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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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