Content Workflow Musings

One thing I am tasked with doing right now is coming up with a viable workflow for content creation at Martin Luther College. There are a couple of goals I am trying to keep in mind.

  • enable faculty/staff/students to create content for various sections of the website
  • create a system that allows staff to vet and proofread created content before it goes “live:
  • have the system not get in the way of posting information in a timely manner
  • everyone can use it and understand it

Not exactly the easiest things to work out. Plone provide a workflow mechanism, and I will be working within that so that all content can stay within Plone from start to finish. Granted, a lot of it will be pulled from print publications or written in Microsoft Word, but the idea is to get it into Plone and then work from there.

The main problem I am running up against in my own mind is balancing the need to vet/control the content and allow creators the sense of ownership for the content they create (getting it up in a timely manner). How much control should an editorial team exert on the content that goes up?

I don’t even pretend to have the answers right now, and a lot is going to change as I grow into this role, but I think an approach that is flexible enough to change based on the person who is creating the content and the area they are posting is probably needed.

I’ll try and give a few examples.

  • Someone creates a new page outlining the programs available at MLC. They submit it via Plone and it can either be posted directly to the site or merely submitted for approval. Considering it is main content for the college having to do with academic programs, I believe that submitting it for approval is the best course of action.
  • Graduate Studies has their own section of the website chronicling what is going on with the program along with links to various sources that might be of interest to the students. The head of the program creates the content for this area. I can’t help but think that he should be able to post directly to the area pertaining to his program.
  • Breaking news on the campus: a bear has just gotten a honey pot out of a tree! Awesome. Someone from PR writes up an article with a picture and wants to post it up as soon as possible. In this case, one of the few editors should be able to quickly vet the article and then post it directly from Plone. It could be the head of PR, webmaster for the school or whomever.

Those are just some thoughts on various situations. One about vital information, one about continually-updated information for program-specific students and another about speed. I don’t know what is right or wrong, and I’ll be changing my tune soon enough as I find out what actually works, but I really feel there needs to be flexibility and no hard-and-fast rules that can get in the way of both simplifying things and obfuscating them when the need is there for each.