One Size Does Not Fit All

Getting this one in under the gun!

I work in content management, so I have had the “pleasure” of working with six different content management systems in my career, including WordPress and Drupal, which are two of the most-used CMSs in librarianship. (And to be clear: I don’t really think of digital library software as a traditional CMS, although they share similarities.) Pyrounakis and Nikolaidou hit the main problem that most organizations run into with content management, particularly open-source content management:

It is difficult to propose one specific DL system as the most suitable for all cases. Each system has its advantages and drawbacks…

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. And while I love the culture of open-source software, by design it aims to offer solutions for everyone, which as Brian and spd pointed out, is nearly impossible.

The key is to find something that meets most of your organization’s needs, and then I think it’s important to customize it to fit. Your digital collection is incredibly important. The great thing about open-source is that it can be shared and manipulated. Find someone, in-house or outside, to help you develop the underlying code so it can meet your needs and your community’s needs. And then once it’s up, don’t think of your digital collection or your website or whatever you’re building as something you launch and forget about. Content management is like gardening — create a beautiful space and then do the work to maintain it and know that someday you may need to just take a rototiller to the damn thing and start over from scratch.

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One response to “One Size Does Not Fit All

  1. “Content management is like gardening — create a beautiful space and then do the work to maintain it and know that someday you may need to just take a rototiller to the damn thing and start over from scratch.”

    You speak the truth! A related point is that carefully choosing a platform is only half the battle, or perhaps even less than that; the next challenge comes with trying to populate the platform with useful material. This is a fact that our guest for week 5, Keely Merchant, speaks to in her video in our coursespace.

    You are, indeed, a vet, and I agree with you that there is a distinction to be made between general-purposes CMSes (e.g., Drupal; Joomla) and something like Omeka, which really is a specialized platform.

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