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published: April, 2002

Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Content Management Systems
Peter Firminger, Australian Museum, Australia
Anne Skates, Australian Museum, Australia
Russ Weakley, Australian Museum, Australia

Workshop: Content Management Systems

In this workshop we will present a content management system we have developed for the Australian Museum websites. We will illustrate how the complementary roles of design, content and architecture can produce an integrated process for website management for a large, diverse, information rich and fast growing website. We will also illustrate how this system can apply to small local sites or parts of sites using examples the Australian Museum webteam have been involved in (The British Council, Gosford City Council, some commercial clients and The Eureka Prizes).

As a website progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult for the web managers to manage the resources and infrastructure, while maintaining the content and the myriad changes required to keep it up-to-date.

Faced with this problem the Australian Museum Online team set about delegating the management of content (initially in the more frequently changing content and then progressively to most areas of the site) back to the content owners who wouldn't require web programming knowledge.

This strategy involved the implementation of standard web management tools like Dreamweaver (with the templates locked to be non-editable, just the content available to the authors) and a custom built Content Management System (CMS) affectionately known as ConMan. At the heart of ConMan is an SQL database holding metadata and content in rich text (html) form.

It involves the use of a heavily tested and accessible subset of the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) protocols and HTML that is valid for the widest range of browsers possible.

This workshop will discuss the complexity of the administration of the CMS and the basic guidelines that ALL public institutions could follow in presenting information on the web. This includes Interface design, Information architecture, simplicity of management for content holders and authors, accessibility and server management. The sites referred to in this workshop all fall under the umbrella of australian museum online and include the following:

http://www.amonline.net.au/ http://www.dreamtime.net.au/

http://www.seaslugforum.net/ http://www.crustacea.net/



http://www.naturefocus.com.au/ http://www.lostkingdoms.com/

and soon to include http://www.fate.net.au and