delivering responsive, innovative IT across the University of Oxford

Search Google Appliance

WebCMS

Oxford mosaic banner

Overview

The IT Services WebCMS (content management system) project aims to provide a simple and easy tool that any research groups, departments, colleges, service units, academics, student societies or cross-institution partnerships could use to communicate their work or activities with a wider community.  Knowledge & content sharing rather than technology is the primary focus, allowing non-IT users the autonomy to effectively create and manage their own modern websites with fresh, responsive designs that work on desktops, tablets and mobiles.

What we are doing

Following a successful pilot in 2015 with 25 units and groups from across the University, IT Services worked in partnership with the Humanities Division to develop a production system in the Cloud.  Using an agile project management methodology, meetings were held very regularly throughout the duration of the project and an upgraded iteration of the site was delivered every two weeks.  This engendered ongoing confidence before delivery of the well received private preview in May 2016.

A follow-on project is now underway to design and implement a new service, Oxford Mosaic, for rolling-out the Web CMS platform for use across the University.  Since July the platform has been made available in a public preview phase and early adopters are using this to request and build their own websites. Once the work to define and implement the service is concluded it will be possible to extend use of the platform more widely and it will become a fully supported service in early 2017.  Users will not be charged until that service is available.

Why it matters

To date, IT Services has not offered a single CMS solution to the University.  Instead, several options are available offering overlapping services, these are the web publishing service for the collegiate University; Terminal 4's Site Manager used by most of the UAS departments; the hosting service which offers individuals, societies and departments or groups space on a web server to put up HTML files; and a paid-for service for web design and hosting, largely using Drupal.

In December 2013, the Drupal Review project was commissioned by IT Services Senior Management Team to assess whether the Drupal CMS would meet the needs of all of the web publishing services, in order to provide a more seamless and cost-effective service to the collegiate University including in-depth technical support. This identified considerable advantages in standardising web-hosting on a single platform, including provision of a cohesive, secure and scalable service, a more dynamic and cost-effective approach to development,  and service enhancement through economies of scale.

Our goals

The project is creating a service that aims to provide a common platform to users and a simple tool to create modern websites, which will also allow the University to develop a cost efficient system that is progressively improved by incorporating ongoing feedback from those users. 

Timeline

The platform is available now as a public preview - see the Oxford Mosaic website for further details.  It will be available as a service from mid June 2017.

Outcomes

Creating a service that provides a common platform to all who require websites, which will also allow the University to develop a cost efficient, progressively improved system based on continuous feedback from users.