Book Review: Managing Web Content

By Holland, Michael E. | Information Management, September/October 2002 | Go to article overview
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Book Review: Managing Web Content

Holland, Michael E., Information Management

TITLE: Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach EDITOR: Russell Nakano ISBN: 0-201-65782-1

PUBLISHER: Addison-Wesley


LENGTH: 238 pages

PRICE: $39 U.S.; $59.95 Canada

SOURCE: Pearson Education Corporate Sales Division, or 800.428.5331

Few enterprises involved in the distribution of goods or services via the Internet can do so any longer with a free-form management style and loose control mechanisms. The ability to rely on a lone webmaster as asset creator, developer, auditor, and site manager has become a luxury of the past. With increased reliance upon Web sites and increased specialization in the creation and management of Web sites, there is a need for rational, organization-wide management of Web assets and processes.

Russell Nakano and a small but growing group of practitioners have struggled to articulate a new type of organizational management that is applicable to increasing and evolving Internet complexity. These pioneering Web architects have developed a set of concepts, "Web content management," which they define as the principles and practices supporting the development, management, maintenance, and deployment of Web content in an organization. Most successful enterprise-wide Web sites have not only e-commerce segments but also information about a plethora of other corporate activities; all of these assets must work without conflict, failure, or appreciable down time.

Nakano has produced a highly readable, understandable, and practical book about a very complex topic. Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach systematizes the steps, stages, and principles necessary to manage Web assets for all sizes and complexities of organizations with varying sophistication of Web assets. It is a well-organized explanation of and guide to rational development and deployment of Web assets for a growing and evolving technology in a commercial environment. Web site managers and general organizational managers, Web architects, and Web-asset developers unsure of their place in the volatile and rapidly changing environment of Internet management can use Web content management to identify their place and determine the next step in the evolving structure of an enterprisewide Web site.

The book is divided into four sections. Part one explains the need for content management and what can befall an organization when Web content is not managed carefully and systematically.

Part two introduces the concepts and principles required by Web practitioners to develop a content management approach for their organization's Internet assets. The tools and theoretical concepts explained in this section are essential to manage the natural confusion and inevitable disastrous consequences of free-form Web asset administration. Web content management can prevent mixing Web asset development with Web asset deployment or wedding quality control to asset development and having untested assets deployed to a public or production server for all the world to see. Among the tools and techniques of Web content management presented are templating, workflow, asset deployment, versioning, and branch design.

This section introduces fundamental steps for the construction of a content management structure that will hold together as technology and asset complexity advance. It also defines the essential concepts such as identification of enterprise stakeholders (internal and external), separation of development and production phases of Web site development, inventory of assets, efficient and effective use of feedback, use of site versioning and file versioning, and assessment of control mechanisms needed in an enterprise at any stage of evolutionary development.

Chapter four, "Best Practices for Collaborative Web Development," shows the means and advantages of separation of developmental activities from staging and editing.

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