Instructional Design Resources

Librarians sharing cool stuff

Session B304 – Content Management Systems (CMSs) October 31, 2007

Filed under: IL2007 — ellenh @ 4:43 pm

I’ve been looking forward to this session all week – since I have my own struggles with our campus CMS.


Ruth Kneale, National Solar Observatory, ATST Project – From Static to Dynamic: Choosing and Implementing a CMS

CMSs – used to collaboratively and interactively create, manage, control, and publish information. Known by many other names.

We need them to avoid the “single point source syndrome” and to increase team collaboration, ease administration, increase functionality, improve presentation.

Her needs: LAMP setup (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PhP), content approval, WYSIWYG editor, friendly URLs, version control, content reuse.

Should haves: sandbox/staging area, mass uploading, site mapping/indexing

Nice to have: stats, events, photos, drag and drop

To CMS or to Wiki?
Looked at and,,, and did local evaluation

OpenSourceCMS – lets you play with CMSs without installing on your own server – Very nice!


Amy Radermacher, Reference/Cataloging/Electronic Resources Librarian, Concordia University
May Chang, Head, Library IT Services, UMBC Library, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
– CMS Experiences at CSP and UST: Same Application, Different Libraries

At both these universities, the CMS was handed to the library from the IT department.


across-campus CMS use: from a marketing standpoint, wanted to develop a more uniform website, increase the number of editors while maintaining design consistency.

The library would have liked to have been involved in the plan from the beginning, because library sites are much more dynamic than other departments on campus – they are constantly changing, constantly growing, constantly requiring new interactive tools.

Issues: the design was separate from the content, library site linked to many more outside sites (and the web services people had put all links across all the campus in one folder), weren’t able to make pages live immediately

University of St. Thomas:

Again, decided on a CMS because of marketing considerations. However, the library is a service point, not about marketing. Campus IT wants control and consistency.

Tips for success: get in early, negotiate flexibility, develop in-library technical expertise, communicate! Make sure you still create good folder structures, etc. even if you do have control over your content.


One lesson learned: ally yourself with someone in marketing (since they have so much power over how the CMS got deployed) and argue your case for other functions from a library marketing standpoint.


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