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CommonSpot Content Management System
During the summer of 2003, the Office of Marketing and Communications worked with Media Services and Information Technology staff to install, test, and deploy the CommonSpot Content Management System (CMS). This system was acquired by the university to provide campus web publishers with a method of publishing Web content that would remove technical burdens associated with traditional Web publishing methods, present an editing interface within a Web browser window, manage interface design and HTML standards through centrally-controlled templates, and allow the marketing office to influence and guide the university's Web presence.
Prior to the launch of the CMS, a typical publishing system for a university department would require a student, staff or faculty member technically proficient in Web authoring, direct access to the production Web server an FTP account, and publishing software such as Dreamweaver to manage a local set of files. This distributed, autonomous method of publishing allows for a high level of flexibility in site design, but requires technical proficiency in Web authoring that is unevenly distributed on campus.
Publishing in the CMS is fundamentally different. A CommonSpot content owner browses to his or her site on a staging server, and enters a user id and password. Once authenticated, the content owner has access to content on a page that can be edited directly through a Web browser, using a familiar editing interface. If needed, a site administrator can specify that certain content owners' changes must be approved before being published. This, along with the option of scheduling the expiration or availability of content, will assist publishers with the otherwise difficult task of ensuring that a site's content is authoritative and current.
This new system is complex, flexible, and powerful, and requires significant system resources and administrative oversight to make it all work. The system includes two production Web servers, a staging Web server, and two database servers, along with many software components. We believe that the CMS framework will prove to be a more efficient method of Web publishing, and result in a more stable and useful Web presence for the university.
CommonSpot is being used for campus organizations that present content to external audiences, and currently have sites hosted on www.scu.edu.
Contact OMC's Web Marketing Manager for more information about Web services.