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University Web Developers

We basically roll our own and use our enterprise CMS, Cascade, to produce our catalog:
http://catalogue.vassar.edu

I was asked by another school if we used a CMS for our catalog, as they are looking to send out RFP to some companies for theirs. They're interested in a catalog-specific CMS, primarily looking at Acalog, but want to know of others. What are the options? And their pros/cons?

My own interest lies in features -- I'm looking to revamp what we have online with some tools. I've been looking at shopping carts to find something so folks can select courses throughout the catalog and make a list for advising purposes. Our current layout is too connected to a print version only a few people now see (we print enough for one copy per department/office.)

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SmartCatalog is the only other product I know of off the top of my head. http://www.academiccatalog.com/
Kirstin,

Would you be interested in sharing how you are managing you catalog in Ingeniux? Are you managing everything, that is outputting the catalog information (I'm assuming as XML) for the Web and then being able to export the catalog information (as XML) to print (for bringing into something like Adobe Indesign).

We just launched our site on Ingeniux (http://www.anselm.edu) and would be interested in seeing how you are handling the management of your catalog as we are using a very manual process for updating our catalog each year.

Thanks,

Doug
No worries! The more discussion the better.
Hi Kirstin,

We rolled our own using drupal and the workflows module. It works along the lines you describe, with a multi-stage workflow with different workflows applied depending on the type of course being created. It tracks revisions and locks out various classes of users as courses move through the workflows.

It's stitched into our ERP so the data flowing through this is what ends up on our department and course websites, the course scheduler and registration systems, etc, and what ends up in the printed catalog.

It's not perfect but it's much better than the MS word-driven process it replaced. We're entering into our third year with it at this point.

This page describes the basics of its usage, including most of the workflow features, if you're curious:

https://www.amherst.edu/help/catalog/editor
Megg,

We have OmniUpdate as our CMS provider and they helped us pull our undergraduate bulletin / course catalog together:

http://sb.cc.stonybrook.edu/bulletin/current/

This replaced our old online bulletin, which was just sections of PDFs from the printed bulletin, which came out every two years. Now, the bulletin is much more easily maintained each semester in the CMS. All course information is pulled out of PeopleSoft as XML. XSL then generates the HTML course pages as well as PDFs. There's also a nice course search. We don't have a shopping cart, but that is an interesting idea.

We're following that up with our graduate bulletin this year. In both cases OmniUpdate was a huge help.
While I love OminUpdate, the problem there is that a school can't launch a whole enterprise CMS just to solve the catalog problem. Same with Ingeniux. I do think, however, that there is an opportunity perhaps for those vendors to offer customized, "lite" versions of their systems for this task.

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