Content management or CM is a set of processes and technologies that support the evolutionary life cycle of digital information. This digital information is often 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.
The digital content life cycle consists of six primary phases: create, update, publish, translate, archive and retire. 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 Later that content may be superseded by another form of content and thus retired or removed from use.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:
* Content author - responsible for creating and editing content.
* Editor - responsible for tuning the content message and the style of delivery.
* 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.
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.