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University Web Developers

Has anyone had success using a CMS to manage online and print versions of their catalog? We're looking at starting with a CMS for this purpose, and later on adding the balance of our .edu (and possibly other, such as intranet) content. I read the discussion a couple of entries down, so I realize that this may not be enough information. Our immediate need is to move toward CMS for the catalog, and it is my hope that we will find a CMS that is scalable, rather than a stand-alone catalog-only product.

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We haven't done so with a course catalog, but we created a printed research directory from our web content stored in Hannon Hill's Cascade.

I'm not plugging Cascade— we could have done the same thing by writing a PHP script and pulling from a MySQL database (and actually did).

It was a ton of work, but well worth it.
At Dominican U of CA, we use the open source plone CMS for our entire public website, including the online catalog section. Currently, we have a script that grabs every page for a given section of the catalog, and basically allows us to copy/paste into Word. Then we import into InDesign for layout for the print version. It's not a one-click solution, but it works fairly well.
This is a hot topic for lots of folks right now. Since automating the process of creating and maintaining an online course catalog offers the benefit of possibly eliminating print versions, it's also a way to help get the CMS purchase approved -- saving tens of thousands of dollars carries a lot of weight these days!

One of our clients, Stony Brook University (part of the SUNY system) just presented a great webcast on how they created and maintain their online course catalog using our OmniUpdate CMS. The "print" version essentially went away, but they were able to meet state and university requirements by offering PDFs of the catalog -- thereby saving about $30,000/year and giving students some things they couldn't offer in print (such as truly up to date course information).

The webcast was recorded and made freely available to all. I think you learn quite a bit from Stony Brook's success by watching the webcast at: http://omniupdate.com/assets/recordedwebcasts/ (then click on "How to Create an Online Course Catalog).
Thanks for your comment on my question. I was at a colleague's desk for the Suny Stonybrook webinar. We sent in a couple of questions and haven't heard back -- maybe you can help. We are not at a point where we can do without some printed copies -- bound, for distribution to prospects and some staff. Can your CMS work with Quark or InDesign to do this?
Simply yes, but the question from our view is what is your true source for the catalog going to be? If the idea is to create catalog content from scratch (or copy/pasted from Word etc.) in the OU Campus CMS, and then publish to the web as well as for other purposes, then yes, in addition to publishing the content to the web site we can create XML output that can be imported to other systems to be printed. We can also publish to PDF file format.

If the source is your back-end database system (Datatel, Peoplesoft, Banner, legacy database, etc.) that you want to go to both print and to the web, then the answer is also yes, but in a different set of possible steps. The Legacy system (or the others mentioned) would export the XML data that is needed, OU Campus can be setup to read in that XML automatically (and on a scheduled basis) and then publish that to the web site. That same XML that was exported from the back-end can go to your print publishing software.

Alternatively, the XML that is imported to OU Campus from your database can be augmented by user generated content, published to the web site, as well as published as XML to your print publishing solution.
Thanks, I'm passing your reply on to our graphic design and IT folks.
I attended the StonyBrook Online Course Catalogs session at OmniUpdate's most recent User Conference back in March 2009 in Long Beach, CA (yes, our institution is a customer), and the method that they used to migrate their existing catalog (print) to XML source for delivery using the OU Campus CMS was impressive.

I won't lie to you (and they didn't either), as it was a daunting task to set it up initially, but the benefits that they realized outweighed the time investment. Besides, they were investing the time anyway each time they created the print version, so this was a natural evolution of their process.
Thank you.

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