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. In recent times this information is typically referred to as content or, to be precise, digital content. Digital content may take the form of text, such as documents, multimedia files, such as audio or video files, or any other file type which follows a content lifecycle which requires management.
Content management practices and goals vary with mission. News organizations, e-commerce websites, and educational institutions all use content management, but in different ways. This leads to differences in terminology and in the names and number of steps in the process.
For example, an instance of digital content is created by one or more authors. Over time that content may be edited. One or more individuals may provide some editorial oversight thereby approving the content for publication. Publishing may take many forms. Publishing may be the act of pushing content out to others, or simply granting digital access rights to certain content to a particular person or group of persons. Later that content may be superseded by another form of content and thus retired or removed from use.
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 (see also version control). Authors and editors often need to restore older versions of edited products due to a process failure or an undesirable series of edits.
Another equally important aspect of content management involves the creation, maintenance, and application of review standards. Each member of the content creation and review process has a unique role and set of responsibilities in the development and/or publication of the content. Each review team member requires clear and concise review standards which must be maintained on an ongoing basis to ensure the long-term consistency and health of the knowledge base.
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