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What is an Open Source Content Management System?

S. Gonzales
S. Gonzales

A content management system is a computer application that aids a user in creating and organizing his digital work, including text and media. Content management systems are usually chosen over other software systems because of their ability to be used in collaboration with other users. The administrator of the system, and users who have been granted backend privileges to the system, can create, edit, review and publish material. Materials may also be manually indexed and archived by privileged users.

An open source content management system simply means that a content management system is free for the general public to use. The content management system's source code is also made available to any developers who are interested in changing, modifying or improving the system's functionality. This means that the open source content management system, in both its original and modified forms, is available for redistribution without restrictions or legal penalties.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

The six categories of content management systems are component CMS, document management system (DMS), enterprise CMS (ECMS), media content management system, mobile CMS, and web CMS (WCMS). Content that can be integrated, organized, and published using an open source content management system includes images, audio files, video files, electronic documents, other associated computer files and miscellaneous web content. The type of open source content management system used will likely depend on the user's needs and goals.

Businesses may opt to use content management systems to help organize the internal workings of their business or offer information to their customers. Documentation in the form of news articles, press releases, sales guides, product manuals, technical manuals and marketing brochures can be made accessible through content management systems. For example, a business devoted to technology may use a content management system to provide its technical support staff with product and technical manuals so that the manuals can be easily referred to while staff is helping customers.

An open source content management system is also often used by website owners who wish to run content-rich websites that they can easily and readily update. This type of system is especially attractive to website owners who want to have many, regular content contributors. The administrator of the open source content management system can set up a universal account for himself in which he can oversee and edit all materials added onto the website. He may then create accounts for individual contributors and set their user privileges, giving them the ability to upload, edit or publish materials.

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