Institutional Web Management Workshop 2005: There Is No Such Thing As A Silver Bullet: CMS And Portals Will Not Solve Your Problems!

Institutional Web Management Workshop 2005: There Is No Such Thing As A Silver Bullet: CMS And Portals Will Not Solve Your Problems!

Sounds like an interesting session – let’s see.

If a portal or cms answers the question – you are probably asking the wrong question.

Who is a CMS for?
If you can’t answer this question, then you really aren’t off to a good start.
Is for people coming from outside? Is it to save/make money? Is if for your users? Is it for the librarians? (says something about libraries and agenda setting that this comes up?) Is it for the IT dept?

Who should be involved in the procurement of a CMS?
Just a straw poll shows that just about everyone in the room has or is going to implement a CMS – this is where it’s at!

Generally the audience seems to feel that the key users of the CMS are Communications, Staff and Students, but that mainly the IT service is leading the project. This is a problem…

However, what isn’t captured here is that IT stand to gain – reduced support costs etc. The whole point is to stop IT spending time on Content Management and web stuff – although they aren’t going to be the key user, they may be one of the key beneficiaries.

The speaker is pointing out that many CMS features are not aimed at the main users – and it is easy to become distracted by this – but this is often true of IT systems isn’t it?

What is the CMS for?
Storing, Locating information
But people actually want to ‘do stuff’ with information – not just store and locate. They want to publish/share/preserve information.

Where is the data that is going to go into the CMS?
Inside or outside the institution? Collaborative working etc.

Who can access the data?
People, Projects, Institution

You may solve one persons problem with a CMS, but you won’t solve everyones problem – because often people’s problems (or should I say the required solutions) are contradictory.

Are you going to have centralised or distributed CMS? At the moment you have a distributed CMS by default – everyones content is somewhere, and you’ve got a multitude of corporate and academic systems storing all kinds of content.

The user doesn’t want to be moving between multiple systems to access different content. In fact, the user doesn’t even want to think about where stuff is.

Some questions:
Who is it for?
How does it relate internal and external information?
How does it relate to research data?
How does it relate to Blogs?
Will it Wiki?
Who owns the content?
Who is responsible for the metatdata?

What about portals? – Lots of hype
Key issues (in speakers view) – Customization, Personalization, Adaptation
This seems to be 3 related things – basically about delivering an experience and environment which is tailored for you – the differentiation being that some is done by the user (personalisation), some done by the system (adaptation) and some done by the people providing the service (customisation)

Seems to be differentiating between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ portals at the moment (lots of content in the portal versus the portal as a way of navigating to the relevant information seemlessly).

The starting point was that we may be asking the wrong question. I’m afraid that I’m left not knowing what the right question is…

In answer to a question the speaker has said that he believes there have been 3 major revolutions in the world:
Writing (separated learning from place – you no longer had to go to a guru)
Printing (brought democracy to writing)
Internet (more democracy, but brings us round to interaction again – you can ‘go’ to a guru independent of location)

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