Why a CMS at NYU?
New York University’s Web site is one of the critical ways we present ourselves to the world, and it is a crucial tool for communicating with our audiences, both internal and external. Every year, more of NYU’s community, including prospective students, current students, employees, and alumni, are relying on the Web as a primary point of communication. Collectively, the pages within NYU’s Web site create an impression about New York University - who we are, what we do, and the impact we have regionally and internationally through research, outreach, and teaching.
As NYU's Web presence increasingly plays a crucial role in providing academic, administrative and community services to the University's constituents, it has become necessary to reevaluate the underlying infrastructure upon which it operates. The current structure of the NYU Web is a conglomeration of loosely affiliated sites created and maintained in isolation. It has become apparent in recent years that we must move to a platform that allows for more structured and organized Web operations. The ability to manage the core capabilities and integrations of Web services becomes doubly important in the context of cross-university initiatives and absolutely imperative in a global environment. In addition, it should no longer be necessary for those wanting to update information to know how to program HTML.
Since the time NYU first developed a Web presence, administrative units of NYU have enjoyed fairly wide latitude in setting up their individual Web sites and pages. Indeed, even when the University has periodically refreshed the look, feel, architecture, and navigation - the "user interface" - of www.nyu.edu, that new user interface started with the University's home page and other top pages, then sporadically trickled down as University units commissioned the Office of Web Communications (WebComm) to do work on their sites. As was the case with logos, this has resulted in significantly different looks and Web navigation as users move from one section of the NYU site to another.
In the period since the last upgrade and refreshing of www.nyu.edu in 2005, much has changed. New University priorities have emerged, the need to reorganize the Web site so that it will be more intuitive for visitors and users has grown, and new technologies have become more important or prominent. WebComm began an effort to create a new user interface for www.nyu.edu which took these changes into account. This time, the expansion of the new user interface and associated technologies was done in a far more deliberate, encompassing, and organized fashion than during previous redesigns of our Web site.
The new Web presence will for the first time be undergirded by a University-wide content management system (CMS), which WebComm and Information Technology Services (ITS) have worked closely together to implement. The system confers a number of advantages, such as ease of posting new information and consistency of important University-wide data across NYU sites, in addition to providing a strong foundation for future university Web services.