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The History of Content Management Systems is as old as the history of Content, which is coincident with the history of human knowledge, including history itself.
We will develop a timeline of content management that emphasizes the development of great tools or practices that changed the nature of how humans have managed their content, improving the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation that allows the contemporary world to be so incredibly productive compared to our ancestors.
Of course our emphasis is on the modern digitization of knowledge and its abstract measurement as information, in Shannon's sense of bits transmitted over a communications channel and in the computer sense of bits stored electronically with a user interface that allows retrieval of the information. But very little that is essential in content management differs from the methodology used before computer technology.
We must gloss quickly over the invention of writing, the creation of portable document formats based on paper (papyrus), the assembly of many pages into books (from scrolls to bound volumes), the collection of books into libraries (Alexandria), the mass production of books following especially on the invention of movable type (and the subsequent distinction between a work - the words and ideas of an intellectual property - versus a document or instance of a work), the cataloging of books (first in handwritten lists then by separate index cards which could be rearranged alphabetically by title or author), the classification of books into categories with subject headings or by some more general bibliographic retrieval system, classification schemes that assign a unique call number to an individual document (e.g., DeweyDecimal? or LibraryOfCongress?), and the collocation of books on physical shelves to facilitate navigation of similar material.
Content management can be described as solving the general problem for the producer of ContentCreation, the general problem of ContentDelivery for the consumer or user, and the general problem of InformationRetrieval?, whether the information is in print or electronic form.
Content management is getting the right content to the right person at the right time at the right cost.
Gerry McGovern in the CM Professionals Mission Statement
While a ContentManagementSystem (CMS) could describe even a manual process, we will use it to describe computer-software based tools that assist humans to create, manage, deliver, and navigate or browse content.
Several major advances in computer hardware software can be used to demarcate historic milestones along our timeline of the development of the CMS. Among the hardware milestones are the computer itself, offline? storage from punched cards and magnetic tapes to hard disks and solid-state memory, shared access to central mainframe computers from terminals, the personal computer, the ClientServer? model of computing with personal computers as "fat clients," and the WorldWideWeb? of networked computers on the Internet. Software innovations include computer operating systems and file systems, databases (flat, hierarchical, and relational), distributed computing, markup languages that tag content (SGML, HTML), and the extraordinary suite of protocols (TCP/IP and friends) that support web-based application programs.
We must place on the CMS timeline four important developments:
Along the way we hope to identify the development of the key features of a CMS, and try hard to give credit to the innovating individuals or companies responsible for their development.
Among the features are the core concepts that critically define a CMS:
We hope to identify the introduction of these concepts.
What Is Content Management?, Frank Gilbane, October 2000
Brief overview of CMS market, Bob Doyle
Who Did What When?, Bob Doyle
The CmsGlossary defines many of the terms used in this HistoryOfCMS, and arranges them in a Thesaurus?, the most sophisticated form of a ControlledVocabulary.
PT - ContentManagement
BT - InformationManagement?
RT - KnowledgeManagement, DocumentManagement, AssetManagement, Collaboration?, RecordsManagement, RightsManagement, WebContentManagement
Up to CmsGlossary.