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Zia McCorgi by Cooner

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Zia McCorgi by Cooner
Alright folks so this just came down the line to me today.

Apparently as part of my interview Tuesday I need to give a thirty minuet presentation on Content Management Systems. Now I know a little about the subject and I've done a couple searches but honestly I'm a big befogged. I'd like to know if anyone can offer information or thoughts. Is anyone here really knowledgeable?


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Sorry, heard of them and all, but not particularly knowledgeable. To fake it for 30 minutes, I'd suggest a breakdown as follows: 2-5 minutes on background and what they are, history and outgrowth from general blogging sites/e-commerce engines/LAMP (linux, apache, mySQL, PHP/Perl), then about 15-20 minutes going into one specific, widely available and popular CMS package, probably Drupal or Joomla. Both are open source and have a number of books written on them. Use one book as source, describe overarching structure, plug in module architecture, set up on server. Finally, last 5-10 minutes discussing pros/cons/alternatives based on individual need. Things like Squarespace as integrated hosting/cms systems, pros and cons of running your own server-i.e. full control vs. full responsibility when something fucks up, limitations of that primary package and alternatives. (I.e. if it sucks for big ecomerce, or other packages are better for other things.) The last part can come from web feature comparisons and review sites.

This is not faking it; this is research, and I think the function of the exercise is more to test the ability to do this, precisely, than to measure your knowledge of CMS's.

This is very true. Not having seen a job title/description/duty details, it could either be a simple research test, or it could be preliminaries for some sort of electronic library content solution. While I doubt it's really a CMS based job, since based on Zia's lack of prior experience/training, I have no way of knowing if this is preliminary for evaluating future electronic solutions or just a straight up research test. Oh, and if you suspect is is a preliminary for any kind of e-book and or e-circulation challenge, talk to Mammallammadevil about it, since that is her day job.

I think part of my problem is just linguistic confusion which stems from having this assigned today and catching me off guard.

so is CMS essentially the Web 2.0 stuff of wikis, blogs, hosting services and so on that makes it easier for people to create content on the internet and share information without having to know XHTML and CSS or is it the systems for creating database and research systems?


CMS is a catch-all for a variety of systems to deal with the constant creation and display of new data. SoFurry and FA could be thought of as CMSs. CMSs can also be powering e-commerce, from Fuzz's Fur Planet store to Amazon. It can also be internal things for managing library projects, research systems, etc. The general idea is to organize and display for retrieval various data. Ease of adding/editing is a priority. The most popular parlance would be the LAMP/Joomla/Drupal systems I alluded to, but it's generally any system that allows people to update complexe sites (internal or external) without having to muck directly with the back-end code. Databases are integral to CMS systems. CMS systems could (but don't usually) 'create' the databases, that's handled by software like mySQL, postGRESQL, or a proprietary database software like something from Oracle or IBM. But a CMS system does generally create/extend the data sets that make up the database. That is, the database file is created and 'managed' by a true database program, but CMS makes it possible to add, display, rearrange that content without being a database admin yourself.

THANK YOU! that makes sense now! it isn't an either or its a bit more broad then that and integral to the modern web system.

Okay thank you again this really makes a lot more sense the way you said it sorry for being confusing earlier.

Oh, and if they didn't tell you up front, make sure you ask who this presentation is actually for. That way you can focus on things more relevant to them. Also, you'll know if this is just going to be in front of your 3 person interview panel, a 10 member library committee or 30-50 people including library staff, faculty, students, grad students. Ask about presentation facilities, will they have a projector for powerpoint, etc... If you need to practice, and have a microphone, I ought to be able to squeeze some time to listen to a presentation, and watch your powerpoint this weekend. Let me know.

I think I forgot to get back to you right away on this.

Anyway thank you for the above advice it really helped. It turns out I'll be giving it to the staff and some faculty. I'll have power point. This is clearly an instruction test.

I REALLY appreciate the offer of listening to my presentation. I don't want to add to your day and I know you're busy. I've got someone to listen to my practice session and I think I'm ready.

You've really helped me out a lot though and I owe you for that. Thank you.

You get an A+, spot on!

I run Joomla on my web server for one of my non-geek pals for exactly the reasons use case you describe above. It wasn't overly hard, just annoying to set up on top of the existing LAMP stack.

He did the how-to reading, figured out things and has a very nice highly usable website up and running w/o having to acquire any of php, css/html and javascript knowledge.


Gee, thanks. You'd almost think I knew something about this instead of just reading slashdot. ;)

And while Joomla is supposed to be super easy (relatively speaking), I can imagine it'd be somewhat of a pain to integrate into an existing server set up instead of one started from scratch based around it.

It's not to bad really. You do want a fully debugged and running LAMP stack first including perl, then do an aptget or yum install or whatever your distro uses (manly men use make install though ;-) to get teh package installed and running.


As for why i didn't go into the full title and details I just sort of hoped once I understood what CMS was that I could tailor my research more effectively to get my talk together. I think I'm just confused on the terminology and my preliminary research was confusing me further. I suspect a lot of that is nerves.

understood and I'm really not asking people to do my work for me. I'm just a bit confused and I thought I'd ask for a little help trying to unpack what CMS is so that I can do this. I'm a little nervy and panicked right now and I was looking for some help understanding the term so I could avoid wasting time.

Are we talking databases? We use those to manage our both our physical content, as well as electronic content, such as software images or source code. What content are you managing?

I don't really think its databases I'm just confused by the title I think.

I think they're referring to CMS from a high level perspective. Particularly web CMS -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_content_management_system

The most common (free) ones are:

You usually see these tools being used for things like blog-centric and wiki-like sites in which there are a number of articles loosely related to one another.

The important thing to remember is that CMS usually allow you to form hierarchies of data (unlike a wiki), and that this information is generally formatted by some sort of markup language. It's the job of the CMS to manage -how- this data is stored and accessed while it is the user's/maintainer's job to manage how the data is formatted (usually via a markup language) along with its contents.

okay that was helpful. thanks foxy *belly rubs of glee*

Basically it lets you save articles and stuff on the web in a hierarchical format without having to maintain a bunch of HTML pages.

So it organizes information in article format, and it also makes it look nicer than regular HTML.

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