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What Is Content Management?

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Content management is a much misunderstood science, mainly because it is not just one thing. The following is a list of characteristics of content management. If your application requires several of these characteristics, then your application might qualify as content management. Evaluate whether you want to reimplement those characteristics on your own, and whether your CMS provides those characteristics painlessly, in order to determine if your application fits your CMS.
Content
"Everything is content." Everything from raw data to intelligent information. Because everything is content, this may create the illusion that all applications are content management. This is not so. All applications deal with content. Not all applications are content management.
Metadata
The ability to associate content with arbitrarily typed qualitative and quantitative descriptions.
Content Types
The ability to classify content as structured aggregations of metadata.
Content Type Authoring
The ability to define content types as content.
Content Authoring
The ability to create, modify, retrieve, rename, delete, move, copy, cut, and paste content. Sometimes known as CRUD. This is the basic unit of content management. Without this characteristic, there is no content management happening. With this characteristic, there may be content management happening. This characteristic is necessary but not sufficient for content management.
Content Migration
The ability to seamlessly manage existing content after redefining the structure of content types.
Migration Authoring
The ability to define content migration plans as content.
Content Routing
The ability to organize content into hierarchies of named containers as content.
Content Skinning
The ability to input and/or extract named subsets of metadata to and/or from content.
Skin Authoring
The ability to define content skins as content.
Content Recognition
The ability to ingest content from well known formats.
Recognition Authoring
The ability specify mappings from well known formats to content types as content.
Content Transformation
The ability to output content in well known formats.
Transformation Authoring
The ability to specify mappings from content types to well known formats as content.
Content Repository
The ability to persistently store content for later recall.
Repository Replication
The ability to copy content repositories.
Repository Recovery
The ability to ingest content from a secondary repository copy.
Repository Synchronization
The ability to copy content repositories in real time.
Repository Balancing
The ability to select from among synchronized content repositories in real time.
Storage Management
The ability to plug and play and/or mix repository storage.
Content Export
The ability to extract content from a repository in a portable format.
Content Import
The ability to ingest content into a repository from a portable format.
Content Versioning
The ability to capture the history of changes to content as content.
Content Differencing
The ability to compare content versions.
Content Rollback
The ability to restore content to a previous version.
Actor Identification
The ability to name humans and machines (actors) which may perform content management operations as content.
Actor Authentication
The ability to establish the identity of an actor.
Authentication Management
The ability to plug and play and/or mix authentication mechanisms.
Actor Sessioning
The ability to associate identified actors with attempted content management operations as content.
Actor Authorization
The ability to associate identified actors with allowable content management operations as content.
Access Control
The ability to inspect actor authorizations before allowing content management operations.
Access Accounting
The ability to log the history of attempted content management operations by actor as content.
Access Auditing
The ability to automate actions, including content management operations, associated with attempted and/or completed content management operations by actor as content.
Authorization Aggregation
The ability to name groups of potential actor authorizations as content.
Role Management
The ability to associate aggregated authorizations with authenticated actors or groups of authenticated actors as content.
Content Security
the ability to constrain allowable content management operations on content and/or groups of content by actor and/or role as content.
State Management
The ability to define changes to content security as content.
Transition Management
The ability to automate state management as content.
Workflow
The ability to associate transition management content with content.
Workflow Authoring
The ability to manage workflow as content.
Workflow Modeling
The ability to plug and play and/or mix Workflow implementations.
Content Locking
The ability to temporarily constrain operations on specific content and/or groups of content to specific actors and/or roles.
Lock Management
The ability to find, assign, reassign, and/or remove content locks.
Content Staging
The ability to author future versions of content without disturbing the state of current versions.
Content Validation
The ability to monitor and/or modify content for correctness by rule sets.
Templating
The ability to associate content authored in a templating language with content for the purpose of generating specialized presentations of content, content skinning, and/or content transformation. The templating language is capable of accessing an API for extracting content. Invoking the template requires an actor.
Scripting
The ability to associate content authored in a scripting language for the purpose of sequencing content management operations. The scripting language is capable of accessing an API for content management operations. Invoking the script requires an actor.
Content Indexing
The ability to cross reference content.
Content Searching
The ability to retrieve content by reference.
Vocabulary Management
The ability to constrain metadata.
Vocabulary Authoring
The ability to define metadata contraints as content.
Content Framework
The ability to present content within a content management application.
Framework Authoring
The ability to define a content framework as content.
Web Management
The ability to perform content management through the web.
WYSIWYG Management
The ability to edit content through the web in exactly the form in which it will be presented on the web.
Drag and Drop Management
The ability to reconfigure the presentation of content and/or content framework (i.e., framework authoring) through the web by means of drag and drop mouse gestures.
Application Integration
The ability to coordinate content management operations via applications outside a content management system.
Network Services
The ability to execute content management operations via FTP, WebDAV, XML/RPC, etc.
Web Services
The ability to execute content management operations via HTTP requests and responses, including syndication.
Internationalization
The ability to ingest and present content in multiple languages.
Accessibility Compliance
The ability to adhere to laws and regulations regarding web accessibility.
Enterprise Management
The ability to recognize and transform content from and integrate with all applications across a large business, especially CRM and ERP.

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