Book Review: Web Content Management


Web Content Management by Deane BarkerA long time ago, Deane Barker swung through DC on business and I was lucky enough to have breakfast with him. Even luckier, he gave me a copy of the book he had recently published through O’Reilly, Web Content Management. After nearly two years, during which I read very few non-fiction books, I picked it up and gave it a read.

I’m glad that I did.

I am not going to profess having learned a ton about Web Content Management (WCM) from reading Deane’s book. After all, I have been doing this whole content management thing for a while. However, it was great to read a collection of wisdom from Deane’s decades of experience focused in this domain. Deane is an excellent write and his practical (and witty) use of footnotes really conveys what is involved when you tackle a WCM project.

Broad Scope

The book covers everything you need to know in implementing WCM in your organization. Just a sampling of important topics he covers are

  • Foundational WCM concepts
  • Flavors of Web Content Management System (WCMS or simply CMS) out there
  • Technology selection
  • Realities of running a WCM project
  • Migrations and why you need to pay more attention to them

While he doesn’t cover every topic definitively, he brings them together in a way that is definitive. Each of the topics could be their own book. Many do have excellent books written to expound upon that topic. Deane brings many of those experts to offer their perspectives in his book.

An important thing that Deane doesn’t cover in depth, which he clearly states, is the design of your website. You aren’t going to learn about Content Strategy, Information Architecture, or User Experience. What you do learn is how to best take those elements to use in selecting a CMS and building a website.

The Best Part

This book isn’t aimed at consultants. While they will get a lot out of it, this book is aimed at people who are tasked with getting their organization’s website up and running. Too often the people tasked with building a new website have never done it before. If they have it was for their church or kid’s Scout troop.

This is a must read for people who are responsible for a website. Ideally it should be read before undertaking a fresh build, a redesign, or a platform migration. It sets the expectations for how a project should work, what you can expect from implementers, and how to best take advantage of your resources.

In Short…

If you are in the business of helping people build websites, read this book. More importantly, give it to your clients. When you receive a Request for Proposal (RFP), send them a copy of this book immediately. THEN start working on your response.

If you are ever tasked with building a website of sufficient complexity that you are hiring people to build it, you need to read this book first. You will be able to better anticipate issues, create realistic plans, and work better with both the CMS vendor and your implementation partner.

Deane has written a great resource distilling his hard-won experience that is easy to read. Do yourself a favor and read it yourself.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or otherwise compensated for this review. The author gave me a copy of the book for free and requested that I write a review of it if I liked it.

InfoGovCon 2017 Continues to Set the Bar High


Governor Raimondo speaks at InfoGov17This post has been a long time in coming because I’ve been trying to process everything that happened this year. Once again, InfoGovCon was a great event and the Information Coalition should be proud at the quality of speakers that they assembled. After all, how many conferences score a governor and get them to talk about something relevant?

Conferences like InfoGovCon are critical for the industry. We are still building a template for consistent success. As Shannon Harmon, whom I had the pleasure to meet this year, put it,

The best practices are still being developed. The body of knowledge is under construction.  This makes information governance an exciting space within which to work.  It can also be immensely frustrating for those who want a well-defined structure in place.  Working in this space requires a certain comfort level with the unknown.

After decades of working in this space, I agree that there are still some unknowns. We have learned a lot about what NOT to do. It is the way we can get things done consistently that we are still putting together.

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An All New Monktoberfest, Putting Society First


Trips to Portland are never complete w/o some Speckled Ax coffee to jumpstart the day & the brainIf you’ve spent any time around me in the fall, you know that my favorite conference, by far, is the annual Monktoberfest. Hosted by Redmonk every year in Portland, Maine (aka Real Portland), Monktoberfest operates at the intersection of technology and social. I like to think of it as taking craft technology, craft beer, and mixing it together to find ways to make the world a better place.

This year Stephen O’Grady took it up a notch. The 12 months since the previous Monktoberfest have been, at best, tumultuous. This is not a phenomenon of any single industry or country. It feels like the coming to head of various forces in society that is making people of all walks of life realize that they have had enough.

Seeing, and feeling, this unfold made Stephen create the most important non-technical, tech conference you need to attend.

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Focusing on the Local by Joining the NCC-AIIM Executive Committee


Hanging out at AIIM Nats night w/ (left to right) Mark Mandel, AIIM Vice-Chair Mark Patrick, and dedicated AIIM staffer Theresa ResekI’ve talked a little bit here about the need to improve the local communities for information management. It is an area that ARMA does better than other groups in the industry but their focus and members can be intimidating for those who aren’t records managers. AIIM chapters are a decent alternative but there are a lot of challenges.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been chatting offline with some chapter leaders from both associations, brainstorming ideas, and trying to think of ways to improve the local community. Some of these discussions became more focused when Kevin Parker became the president of the local AIIM chapter, NCC-AIIM. During one of these discussions I agreed to join the chapter’s executive committee.

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Book Review: Women In Tech


This is the book you need to buyIt’s been a while since I wrote a book review, mostly because I’ve been reading fiction and history, neither of which really fit this blog. However I just finished a book that definitely deserves a review, Women In Tech.

First, the TLDR: Read the book!

Women in Tech was written by Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack in conjunction with women drawn from across the tech world. It is a blend of a career guidebook and inspirational stories written by women from different backgrounds. Each woman has made their unique mark in the industry.

Before I get much further with this review, it must be noted that as a man, I am not the primary target for this book. That is not to say I didn’t gain value from reading it. Far from it.

I learned a lot and enjoyed reading the book. Women in Tech is well written, humorous at times, and I highly recommend it for anyone in the tech industry. One last note, as women were the primary audience, my perspective on the book should be considered in that light.

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Information Governance, Moving on from Content


Has Content build holding us prisoner, making us miss the bigger picture?When I dove into the debate on Content Services and ECM, my conclusion was fairly straightforward.

Look at your information flow. Follow it and find new ways to make it flow faster. If you can do that and know where your information is at anytime, you are done.

There is a lot of detail buried under that relatively straightforward statement. Content Services is part of a broader trend in the content management space and is here to stay. It has been here since CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) entered the picture almost a decade ago but now people are seeing it as more than a way to integrate systems.

The problem is that ECM (Enterprise Content Management) is still just part of the picture. Even if we use the latest tools without regard to the latest buzz words that define them. If we just focus on the content we are failing to solve what needs to be solved.

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ECM, Content Services, or Just Doing It?


"It's deja-vu all, all over again." - Yogi BerraRecently, Gartner issued a note announcing The Death of ECM and Birth of Content Services. This has been met with several, mixed responses. Many pointed out to Gartner that many of us have been talking about this for years. I wrote a post on Content Services, Not ECM back in 2013. Going even further back, the concept of Content Services is core to Content Management Interoperability Services. In 2009 I outlined the three fundamental use cases for CMIS, or any content service.

I could spend all day linking to old posts but I want to take some time to bring something new to the discussion. A lot has changed over the years and perspectives have been refined. The last few days have seen my mind wandering and debating this whole topic in my spare, and not so spare, time.

Let me sum it up for you, it is a false dichotomy. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is not a thing you buy. It should not be taken into isolation. Content Services is useless as a replacement as it is completely different.

Let me break this down.

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