Those who are responsible for Web Publishing Services in various Computing and Library departments spend growing portions of their time doing repetitive content-formatting tasks for clients, especially reformatting e-mail, word processing, and table (spreadsheet) documents into html markup for new and updated Web pages.

With the second phase of a Computing Web Redesign project about to get underway, a discovery group can get a head start by evaluating the benefits and costs of deploying a light-weight Web content management system. The team would then make recommendations available to the Web Redesign team, as well as other on-campus Web developers.

This CMS discovery group will meet a total of four to six times in September/ October 2002 to develop recommendations.


  • Identify and consider needs of internal and external Web site users.
  • Identify and consider needs of Web production staff: Authors, editors, designers, developers, administrators.
  • Develop broad criteria for evaluation of Web CMS options, including prioritized features list.
  • Investigate and evaluate current options and costs for commercially-available, open-source, and campus-developed/integrated CMS applications.
  • Select three hosted solutions for demonstration.

Evaluation Criteria

The optimal Web content management system would:

  1. Be easy to use for all user groups from novices to administrators.
  2. Generate pages that adhere to Web standards and universal design.
  3. Provide a cross-platform, standards-compliant Web browser interface.
  4. Separate content and presentation.
  5. Limit page editing, site structure, and workflow functions to specified user groups.
  6. Scale to a large number of discrete sites.
  7. Support emerging technologies and standards.
  8. Provide simple presentation templating, yet allow custom development for navigation and other modules.
  9. Be dependable (fast response, power protection, back-up, and restore).
  10. Provide extensive data exchange capabilities.


Publish initial findings on the project Web site to benefit the Computing Web Redesign team and other campus Web developers and designers. The Web Redesign team will undertake further investigation. Options may include: External service agreement, in-house development, or continued manual production.

Project Constraints

  • Computing Communications planning is at an early stage.
  • Expectation for rapid delivery of findings.
  • Limited resources.

Success Criteria

High-quality information provided by this discovery project will help the Web Redesign team determine which Web content management options to investigate further.

Version 1 – 9/24/02 (With comments from Jay Collier, Alan German, Sarah Horton, Barbara Knauff, Mary LaMarca)