George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Collecting Content

A Place for Everything, and Everything In Its Place​

Updating your website means you'll be researching, writing, and editing a lot of text, as well as finding, editing, and sizing photos. Keeping track of all that material and getting it ready to use requires organization and a system that everyone on the project understands.​

The first step is to get a (somewhat) stable information architecture set up. Having an organizational structure in place is vital to knowing what you have and what you don't.

We've found that having a page-to-page system works best. The content for one web page — text, photos, etc. — is gathered in a centralized place on a corresponding document. Everyone who will work on the page or contribute content should have access to it. Your options include working in OneDrive, to which all active Mason employees have access, and Google Drive, which is free.

You can set up a section for your web project, share it, then use it to store your Word documents or Google documents, as well as your photos.

As you put your web page components on each document, they will need to be clearly labeled. Here's an example from the Mason core site, the first site we did in Drupal. We used Google Drive to gather and organize our material.

You'll need a system that identifies where each page stands in the process. A good way to handle this is to set up a series of folders, then move your documents from folder to folder as they progress. Label the folders as:

  • Compiling Resources. Pull the notes, original text, urls, etc., that you need to write the material for each page.
  • Drafting. The writing process has started and is in the works.
  • Editing. The writer has gotten his or her material in. Now the editor makes sure it's grammatically and factually correct, there are no typos or spelling errors, and that the writing follows our style guide and content strategy.
  • Legal Check (if required). Some units have material that we are legally required to have on our sites. It's always a good idea to have an expert check this before it goes live.
  • Web Ready. This means everything is in and ready to go on the page. Photos have been sized and captions written. Videos have been closed-captioned. Text has been edited and approved.
  • Ready to Populate. The team lead agrees the content is web ready and alerts the page population team.
  • Populating. Pages are being built in Drupal or WordPress
  • Live on CMSPages are complete, and ready for stakeholder review.

You must have 75 percent of your content, which has been written/edited to follow our content strategy, ready to go before we will create a site for you.

A Possible Option​

One of the tools we use is a system called Gather Content, which works pretty much like it sounds. Content is gathered and labeled on a one-to-one page system.

Digital Communications has an account in Gather Content. Unfortunately, we can't open it up to the entire university, as the number of users and storage space is limited. However, it remains an option under the right circumstances, and we can discuss its use for your project.

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