Portal Conference Live Blogging Day Two – Content Management Meets the Portal

Heather Pierre the new Associate Director of Web Communications at Gettysburg College was kind enough to guest blog a session this morning by Mark Albert from Gettysburg College. Content Management Meets the Portal.

Started developing own web interface to display ERP data (CNAV) in 1995.

College NAVigation (aka CNAV) launched for student, faculty and staff in 1995.  Alumni, parent added since.

Technique using synonyms on the databases so that CMS could look directly at CNAV data – eliminates need for interfaces and gave real-time updating of data.

Pull data presentation out of portal (CNAV) – use dotCMS for presentation of information.  CNAV continues to function as data engine and used as myGettysburg ‘tools’.

Launched myGettysburg for alumni and prospective students on 11/1/2007, collaboration with Education & Enrollment Services and Development, Alumni & Parent Relations divisions, integrated security layers.

Data write-backs are not necessarily automatic.  Data owners determine what data is eligible for write-back, frequency and what approval process will be used.  ERP is responsible to pull data from CNAV/CMS database, interface written by ERP technical.

Future – more audiences, cradle to grave community, enterprise-wide event registration, service oriented architecture (SOA) with disparate systems, myGettysburg tools become less web and more data engine (warehouse?).

Questions from audience:
How do users understand or feel about CMS vs. portal vs. public site?  Is there confusion?
Paul (GC) – user confusion as to how to navigate both inside and outside of CMS, unclear as to how to get back and forth, can you do everything logged in or not, etc.  Gettysburg is addressing usability feedback via changing navigation and more clear instructions.  Google search functionality confused with alumni directory.

How does the CMS work on the backend to show custom content?
CMS is an application framework…templates can be designed (various columns, etc.) and chosen on a page-by-page basis
not flat html pages
Content can be tagged
Will (DM) – “You can do anything!”

How do users know that they need to login to access special content?
Will (DM) – somewhat understood by today’s audiences that they have to login to get ‘their’ tools, but should address the question as to how to make it clear to those who don’t get it.

Are there performance issues with multiple people logging in at same time?
2 load balancers handle it well
Web-caching within dotCMS

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