Content management, or CM, is the set of processes and technologies that support the collection, managing, and publishing of information in any form or medium. When stored and accessed via computers, this information has come to be referred to, simply, as content or, to be precise, digital content. Digital content may take the form of text (such as electronic documents), multimedia files (such as audio or video files), or any other file type that follows a content lifecycle requiring management.
Contect management goals and practices vary by organizations and this leads to differences in terminology and in the number of steps used in the process.
Content management is an inherently collaborative process. It often consists of the following basic roles and responsibilities:
- Creator - responsible for creating and editing content.
- Editor - responsible for tuning the content message and the style of delivery, including translation and localization.
- Publisher - responsible for releasing the content for use.
- Administrator - responsible for managing access permissions to folders and files, usually accomplished by assigning access rights to user groups or roles. Admins may also assist and support users in various ways.
- Consumer, viewer or guest- the person who reads or otherwise takes in content after it is published or shared.
A critical aspect of content management is the ability to manage versions of content as it evolves.
A content management system is a set of automated processes that may support the following features:
- Import and creation of documents and multimedia material.
- Identification of all key users and their roles.
- The ability to assign roles and responsibilities to different instances of content categories or types.
- Definition of workflow tasks often coupled with messaging so that content managers are alerted to changes in content.
- The ability to track and manage multiple versions of a single instance of content.
- The ability to publish the content to a repository to support access to the content. Increasingly, the repository is an inherent part of the system, and incorporates enterprise search and retrieval.
Content management systems take the following forms:
- a web content management system is software for web site management - which is often what is implicitly meant by this term
- the work of a newspaper editorial staff organization
- a workflow for article publication
- a document management system
- a single source content management system - where content is stored in chunks within a relational database