How the University manages existing content

John Chapman
Tuesday 3 November 2020

I recently read Paul Boag’s blog post on ‘Content Management: How to effectively overcome legacy content’. In this article, Paul focuses on the negative consequences of poor content management and how to find solutions to improve general content management.

Since the beginning of the external website project, maintaining content standards has been a top priority for the content team. Before the move to T4v8, many University web pages were not regularly reviewed. This resulted in many pages having outdated content, negatively impacting on the overall user experience.

Having read Paul’s blog post I wanted to share how the University’s content team manages existing content in T4v8 and ideas for going further.

There are thousands of University web pages across T4v7 and T4v8. This means that content is always changing and can easily become outdated. This makes it hard for one person or team to review all web pages and make the relevant changes. Therefore we have various processes in place to ensure that all content is regularly reviewed.

Content owners and moderators

The digital communications team can provide web access to staff members who are responsible for their School or unit’s web content. Provided they complete the required training, content moderators are able to add, publish and delete web pages and content.

The digital communication team relies on content moderators to regularly review and update their own content.

Editorial calendar

To assist content moderators and to protect the integrity of the University website, the digital communications team also manages the master editorial calendar. This is an online spreadsheet which lists out many of the pages held in T4v8 along with what specifically needs to be checked and when. Some pages are checked on a yearly basis while others are checked bi-annually, quarterly or monthly.

The editorial calendar is completed each month, and the pages which need to be reviewed are checked for the following:

  • out-of-date content
  • broken links
  • duplicated content
  • spelling mistakes
  • formatting issues.

If there are any quick fixes such as a spelling mistake or broken link, then the digital communications team will go ahead and fix these. For bigger issues such as out-of-date content or multiple house style issues, we will contact the relevant content moderator to bring it to their attention.

Reporting out of date content

If any web user spots a problem with the University website, such as out-of-date content, then they can email [email protected] to report it. This will then be passed to the relevant content moderator or team to solve.

Future improvements

While it is important internally to know when content needs updating, it is also important for the user to be able to identify how old the content they are reading is. Knowing this information allows the user to understand when the content was published and decide whether the information is still relevant or potentially out of date.

When the University’s coronavirus web pages were created, it was decided to include a time stamp on each coronavirus-related page. Staff and students were told to keep checking these pages, so having the date in place allowed for users to know if there had been updates since they last viewed the content.

The University of Edinburgh provide a date stamp on all of their pages, and this is something that St Andrews may want to introduce at some point to improve content legacy management.

The University of Edinburgh places a date stamp on all of their web pages.

Some organisations take this even further by including a review date of their pages. For example, the NHS provides the last review and the next review date.

Example of an NHS page with the review dates.

While this information may not be relevant for all University pages, it could be something which is beneficial to some, especially internal content. The internal website project is due to start soon, and how we maintain internal content will again be a top priority for the project.

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