City borrows newspaper tool

The California city of San Carlos is one of the first jurisdictions to use

software originally developed for newspapers and other publishing enterprises

to boost the manageability of Web site content.

The content management software, Vignette Corp.'s StoryServer, enables

users to make changes to multiple Web pages with just one edit and enter

new information without knowing HTML. It also uses run dates so pages can

be automatically removed from a site on a given date.

San Carlos Assistant City Manager Brian Moura said that before StoryServer,

each Web page had to be designed by hand and the person who did it needed

to know HTML. That meant that all content for the Web site had to go through

the Webmaster.

"Most of the people in our city government just don't have that skill,"

Moura said. "Plus, we wanted to find a way to re-use the content so that

when it was put into the database, it would be a simple thing to just update

it and use it again."

Building the new Web site using StoryServer cost from $200,000 to $300,000,

Moura said a big jump from the $50 a month the city paid previously for

Web space. But the advantage is that the Web effort has become an enterprise

effort, with content creation distributed throughout the city government.

That, in turn, has led to far more information being posted and at a far

faster pace, he said.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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