Successfully manage Web content to achieve a competitive edge
Using the content management strategy that she developed for companies such as Nortel, Motorola, Cisco, and others, Hackos walks readers through the stages of effective Web content management. She shows how to establish a content strategy based on what type of content a user needs, the platforms to which it should be delivered, and the types of content necessary for the organization. Readers will learn how to develop and incorporate an information model into their Web site design as well as how to transform their organization's processes to ensure dynamic content delivery. They'll also find tips on how to take advantage of XML.
From the Back Cover
"Dr. Hackos has written an invaluable reference. This book will arm you with the knowledge to turn your information into a real competitive advantage."
-PG Bartlett, VP of Marketing, Arbortext
"Finally! A book written for information-development managers who want to move their departments into the 21st century."
-Diane Davis, Senior Publications Manager, Synopsys, Inc.
Content management begins with a vision of the users' experience--learning what information your customers, employees, and trading partners need from you and how best to deliver it. Successfully publishing your content to the Web and multiple other channels means grounding your strategy in your user community and building on it a comprehensive information model. An effective information strategy in today's highly competitive e-business world requires planning, design, structure, and collaboration. At the center of this strategy is content--the currency for competing in the Digital Age. Your effectiveness at managing and delivering content can make the difference between business success and failure. Not only is content management in your future, it is one of the greatest challenges faced by businesses today.
Using the content management strategy that she helped develop for companies such as Nortel, Motorola, Xerox, Cisco, and others, JoAnn Hackos walks content managers and developers, information architects, Web designers, and IT managers through the five phases of content management and discusses in detail important issues such as:
* Establishing a content strategy to determine what content your users need, in which media it should be delivered, and what types of content should be singled out for sales and marketing, customer support, training, reference, and more
* Moving existing content out of books to more accessible modules
* Developing an information model that underlies your Web site design
* Taking advantage of XML
* Transforming your organization's processes to ensure dynamic content delivery
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About the Author
JOANN T. HACKOS is President of Comtech Services, an international consulting company that advises companies on content management, customer analysis, user interface design, usability, and process maturity. She is also the author of Managing Your Documentation Projects, Standards for Online Communication, and User and Task Analysis for Interface Design (all from Wiley).
Most helpful customer reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful.
Provides a good start, but.....
By A Customer
At first reading, this book was good, but I later found myself confused about the processes Hackos describes. The first chapter is strong in that it provides an overview of the five phases of a content management project, complete with lists of deliverables. The book includes a number of process checklists in the appendices.
When I see a book that lays out a process structure in the beginning, I expect the table of contents to follow that structure. This book fails to do that. It can be difficult in the first reading to know what phase of the process is described in any particular chapter. The last two phases of development--the pilot project and the roll out--are not described outside the introductory chapter.
Since the content management field is apparently devoid of a conventional vernacular, authors get to invent their own terms for things. I had to read several chapters many times to understand what Hackos means by "information type" and "content unit." It was also difficult to see where metadata fits into the picture. Her information model shows an information repository containing "modules of content", such as reports or manuals. Each module of content may contain one or more "information types", such as letters or recipes. Each information type is constructed of "content units", which can be recipe ingredients or procedure steps. But, you start by defining "dimensions", which become retrieval metadata for the information types.
A dimension is essentially an enumerated data type with a set of discrete values. Once you define the dimensions, you can then define information types and, at the lowest level, content units. These dimensions are translated into metadata attached to "modules of content". This is what confuses me. As described in the book the metadata is attached to the highest level of document in the repository, but not the lowest level of content unit. Apparently, the sole function of metadata advocated here is to aid user-level searching and retrieval, and not to support authoring workflow. I find this a significant shortcoming.
Strengths: Strong focus on the end user, case studies, process not overly detailed, a chapter on making a business case, appendices full of checklists, & a good introduction.
Weaknesses: Book doesn't follow process flow, the jargon is difficult to grasp, reuse mechanisms are not well covered, uses a weak metadata model, and really only details the first three phases of a five-phase process.
Recommendation: A number of people I work with like this book, so maybe I'm just cranky. I would check out the comtech-serv.com website where Hackos lays out the process for you and provides some detail. You should be able to get a feel for her style and process there.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
Lots of great information, but very technical
By Robin Lawson
Personally, because I am a beginner at content management, this book seemed a little too technical for me. It is meant to teach someone the process of content management, but somehow it still seems a bit high-level. In any case, the content itself is a good indicator of how the process works. Here are some highlights:
* It covers the processes necessary to analyze, create, and manage content, as well as present it on the web.
* It includes strategies for separating presentation from content, such as how to analyze documents to break them up into logical units.
* It shows how to create an information model (a schema used for defining the structure of the data) and defining content units (logical units in which content is stored); it discusses creating content in that data model using XML.
* It includes creating content plans that define how data will be organized and presented to users for both static and dynamic sites.
* It focuses on the concept of single source publishing (publishing the same content in multiple ways and formats).
* It talks about how to staff a project with advanced content creation experts.
* It touches upon advanced concepts such as using topic maps to define advanced presentation.
If you are just starting out, this book may be too much for your first stab at learning the material. However, this is a good 2nd book, once the initial idea has been understood.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
See all 12 customer reviews...
The first book you should read on content management
If you are attempting to understand the steps required to move your technical documentation into a content management system... and what to do with such a system afterward, read this book.
This book makes few assumptions about what you know about content management; as such it explains the basic material that other books gloss over. Make no mistake, however, this book is not just an introduction - if you follow the excellent examples and illustrations, you will have a good understanding between such items as "your information model" and "metadata" ... and why the relationship is important to content management. Separate chapters progress from beginning to end of the process to help you understand the steps necessary to move your content into a content management system. Roles and responsiblities of team members are discussed; activities such as task analysis are also identified at appropriate steps.
If you are attempting to understand why content management is good and how to implement it, read this book; if you have you have implemented a system already and are not pleased with it, read this book to identify what might have gone wrong. Great practical information to understand before you implement your own system or before you discuss your needs with integrators and vendors.
This may not be the last book you read on content management however it should be the first.