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Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

If you're looking to improve the way you manage content, it's best to start with analysis, then build a solid plan of attack. In this issue of The Rockley Report, we provide you with several resources you may find valuable during the planning and analysis phases.

Planning and Analysis Articles and Surveys

Planning For Legacy Content Conversion

Software tools exist to help convert legacy content to structured XML. Unfortunately, these conversion products work best on highly structured documents that are consistently formatted. Even the best-of-breed conversion tools cannot address the multiple ways authors use word processing tools in the real world. In an article for entitled, Planning for problems when converting legacy content, Michael Gross, Chief Information Technology Officer for Data Conversion Laboratories examines "5 ways to break your conversion engine". The problems discussed in this article are focused on issues caused by inappropriate and inconsistent use of Microsoft Word.

Common problems include:

  • improperly formatted paragraphs
  • absolute positioning of text boxes
  • simulated tables (using spaces and tabs to align text)
  • misaligned table column separators
  • improper table/row separation
  • fonts not mapped to ISO character set
  • use of implicit links (cross-references)

Read the article.

Analyzing Content Management Needs: Users and Content Authors

In Losing Site of the Content in a Content Management System, James Robertson provides an excellent checklist of some of the many planning and analysis issues you'll face when tackling a content management project. Robertson focuses on providing high-level guidance on issues including:

  • content creators and authoring environments
  • business needs
  • user analysis
  • content structure
  • developing new processes

Read the article.

Planning for Scanning

If your content management needs require you to manage scanned documents, Arthur Gingrande has a few tips to assist you. In Document Preparation, an article for e-Doc magazine, Gingrande provides guidance designed to help you plan for both physical preparation and batch processing.

Read the article.

Survey Results: Problems With Content Management Systems

The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture (AIFIA) is a global non-profit trade association that focuses on issues of importance to information architects and other content management professionals. The AIFIA web site maintains an excellent resource for those considering the adoption of a content management system. It's called Problems With CMS, and is the result of a survey of content management and information architecture professionals. The survey data presented, while anecdotal and lacking in statistical value, nevertheless pinpoints some of the pains associated with content management tools and technologies. Use the data presented to increase your knowledge of potential issues you may encounter, and plan for them in advance.

Read the survey results.

Copyright 2004, The Rockley Group, Inc.