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What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

by Colin Stark last modified 2006-01-30 09:57

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A content management system (CMS) is a computer software system for organizing and facilitating collaborative creation of documents and other content. A content management system is frequently a web application used for managing websites and web content, though in many cases, content management systems require special client software for editing and constructing articles. The market for content management systems remains fragmented, with many open-source and proprietary solutions available.


Content Management Systems were intially developed internally at organizations which were doing a lot of content publishing. In 1995, CNET spun out its internal development offerings into a separate company called Vignette. The company started offering the software as a web-based content management system, allowing sites to create templates of the presentation of their content on the web.

In 1998, Pencom Web Works, a consulting company, introduced the Metaphoria Data Transformation Server, allowing Java developers to write applications that would be tied with content and target the content output to different channels. The product failed but the concepts that were introduced by it made their way into most ancient content management systems.

In the early 2000s, many companies started offering weblog software which brought many of the concepts surrounding content management systems to the masses. Six Apart, with the release of their Movable Type quickly established itself as a leader in this field.

Types of content management systems

There are several types of content management systems:

  • Web content management systems assist in automating various aspects of web publishing. such as WIKIs.
  • Transactional content management systems (T-CMS) assist in managing e-commerce transactions.
  • Integrated content management systems (I-CMS) assist in managing enterprise documents and content.
  • Publications management systems (P-CMS) assist in managing the publications (manuals, books, help, guidelines, references) content life cycle.
  • Learning management systems (L-CMS) assist in managing the web-based learning content life cycle. See also managed learning environment.
  • Document imaging systems are also generally considered under the family of general content management.
  • Enterprise content management systems (E-CMS) vary in their functionality. Some support both the web and publications content life cycle, while others support the web content life cycle and either transactional content or customer relationship management content. The definition of AIIM for ECM includes methods and tools for "capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver" content across an enterprise. "Manage" contains components like document management, collaboration, business process management, records management, email management, workflow and web content management. The ECM concept is not restricted to web based technologies but includes client/server and host based solutions.

See also

External links


Communities and Associations

  • AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Association (Association for Information and Image Management).
  • AIIM Chicago, the Chicago Chapter of AIIM.
  • CM Pros, Content Management Community of Practice.
  • OSCOM, the central organization for open source content management.

Directories of available systems

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