In January 2003, LSA Development, Marketing and Communications (DMC) launched the new College of LSA website. Besides the complete graphical redesign, new audience-based architecture and revision of content, this was also the first site in the College to utilize the Vignette Content Management System (CMS) Version 6. Implementing a CMS for web content offers numerous institutional benefits, including consistency and usability for external visitors, no programming skills required to update web content, the ability to re-use content easily, and making use of dynamic content (e.g., events calendars) across the organization.
Since that first implementation of V6, the CMS has evolved quite a bit: The system went through a difficult upgrade to V7; the LSA site was redesigned; over 60 LSA units began using the CMS; and the leading content management company, OpenText, purchased the Vignette product and added it to its flagship suite of software offerings. There is no question that LSA is among the leaders in higher education in terms of deploying such an advanced technology across campus for its websites.
In August 2010, the newest version of V7 (version 7.6) was deployed on new hardware and with a rich assortment of new features, which includes:
- Multimedia: Embed YouTube-style videos on your page. Upload them in several common formats and let the system convert them to the appropriate web-friendly format for you. Additional media formats will be available in the future (e.g., podcasts, vodcasts, mp3 downloads, et cetera).
- RSS feeds: Units may now easily paste XML links into their sites to display other people's content within the context of their own sites. LSA units may also turn their own news and events content into RSS feeds so others may syndicate their content.
- Faculty publications: Store and display faculty members' publication information in a way that ties it to their personal profile page.
- And more....
See the complete feature list for more information or read the White Paper for more detailed information on the technical architecture, our development process and redundancy.
LSA units who have previously used V7 should notice some improvements with version 7.6 beyond the new content features: Fewer pop-ups to create new content, an improved region config tool, batch uploads, and more consistent format types.
Users new to the CMS entirely should expect to adjust their thinking about websites: The idea of treating websites as collections of content rather than a series of pages can take some getting used to, and with any software, there's a learning curve.
But version 7.6 is by far the most powerful and easiest to use iteration of LSA's CMS implementation thus far.