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Palantir.net's Guide to Digital Governance: Content

This is the sixth installment of Palantir.net’s Guide to Digital Governance, a comprehensive guide intended to help get you started when developing a governance plan for your institution’s digital communications.

In addition to defining ownership for every piece of content on the website, it may also be beneficial to consider and provide guidelines for the many types of content which will appear on the site. Here are some common content types along with some of the questions to consider in defining appropriate usage for your organization.

News and News Listings

  • Who is permitted to publish news on the website?
  • Which kind of news items are permissible for publishing on the site? Which are not?
  • Is there a set of required information that must appear in all news items, such as headline, sub-head, preview text, author name, thumbnail image, etc.?
  • How many sources of news or news listings are presented on the site, and what are they?
  • Who may publish news to or from these sources?
  • Are there editors or gatekeepers who monitor the news that is published or submitted?
  • If so, what are the criteria they use for determining which news items are permitted or not permitted?
  • What happens to those that are permitted? And to those that aren’t?
  • May users or groups of user request their own news listing?
  • What is the process for acquiring a news listing?
  • May the creator of a news item have his or her item appear in the news listings of others?
  • What is the process for sharing news with other parts of the site?

Events, Event Listings and Calendars, Event Registration

  • Who is permitted to publish an event on the website?
  • Which kind of events are permissible for publishing on the site? Which are not?
  • Is there a set of required information that must appear in all events, such as title, date, time, location, contact info, thumbnail image, etc.?
  • How many sources of events, event listings, or calendars are presented on the site, and what are they?
  • Who may publish events to or from these sources?
  • Are there editors or gatekeepers who monitor the events that are published or submitted?
  • If so, what are the criteria they use for determining which events are permitted or not permitted?
  • What happens to those that are permitted? And to those that aren’t?
  • May users or groups of user request their own events listing or calendar?
  • What is the process for acquiring a events listing or calendar?
  • May the creator of an event have his or her event appear in the listings or calendars of others? What is the process for sharing events?
  • Are events, listings, and calendars hosted by third-party services (such as Google Calendar) permitted?
  • May third-party event and calendar content be imported into pages of your Website?
  • May events have a registration form?
  • How is the registration form developed and published?
  • Who collects the form submissions, and how is the data collected?
  • May payments be collected through the registration form?
  • How is the payment collection process managed?

Blogs

  • Who is permitted to publish a blog on the website?
  • What kinds of blogs are permissible for publishing on the site? Which are not?
  • Are group blogs allowed, or are they all individual person blogs?
  • Who may publish to or from group blogs? How are bloggers added and removed?
  • Are there any rules about the authorship of blogs on the site, such as they must be publicly attributable to the person or group writing them?
  • Are there any legal qualifications that need to be addressed for blog content, such as blog content does not reflect the official opinions, policies, or beliefs of the organization as a whole?
  • Are there editors or gatekeepers who monitor the blog posts that are published or submitted?
  • If so, what are the criteria they use for determining which blog posts are permitted or not permitted?
  • What happens to those that are permitted? And to those that aren’t?
  • May users or groups of user request their own blogs?
  • What is the process for acquiring a blog?
  • May a blogger have his or her post appear in the blogs of others? What is the process for sharing posts?
  • Are blogs hosted by third-party services (such as WordPress or Blogger) permitted?
  • May third-party blog content be imported into pages of your Website?

Basic or Standard Pages (i.e. general pages of the site, like “About Us”)

  • Who is permitted to publish basic content pages on the site?
  • Once a page is published, who has permission to edit that page?
  • Are there any restrictions to the type of content that can appear on a basic page?
  • How is the location (within the menu hierarchy of basic pages, i.e. navigation) of new pages determined?
  • Do basic pages need to be reviewed or approved prior to being published?
  • What are the required elements of a basic page in order for it to be published (i.e. title, sub-title, body copy, preview copy, hero image, thumbnail, URL alias, etc.)?

Images, Audio and Video

  • Are images, audio files, and/or videos allowed to be published to the site?
  • What file types and sizes are permitted?
  • Are there any rules regarding where and how those assets are stored on the site or server?
  • Are there any guidelines for how images, audio, and video owned by your organization are to be used on the website?
  • May they be edited or altered?
  • What types of attributions are required for acknowledging the creator(s) of those assets?
  • Do you require release forms from any individuals who may be captured in those assets?
  • Do you hire contractors to produce images, audio, or video assets? If so, who owns that material?
  • Are images, audio files, and videos hosted on other Websites permitted to be displayed on your site?
  • Are there any restrictions or limitations to the type, quality, content, authorship, or source of the images, audio files, or videos hosted elsewhere and displayed on your site?
  • Are there any guidelines for the use of these types of assets from outside sources.
  • What is your policy for using copyrighted material (images, audio, video, as well as textual copy, excerpts, etc.) from outside sources on your website?
  • Who is permitted to publish images, audio, and/or video to the website?
  • Are there editors or gatekeepers who monitor the images, audio files, and videos that are published or submitted?
  • If so, what are the criteria they use for determining which are permitted or not permitted?
  • Is there a workflow for the materials that are permitted? And to those that aren’t?
  • Should users of the site be permitted to download or reuse your copyrighted materials?
  • Do you clearly display permission rights on the website?

Embedded Objects and Scripts

  • Are embedded objects and scripts permitted to be used on your website, using HTML elements such as embed, script, or iframe?
  • Are there limitations to how, when, and where these elements can be used?
  • Who is permitted to publish these types of code to the website?
  • Are there editors or gatekeepers who monitor the publishing of embedded objects and scripts?
  • If so, what are the criteria they use for determining what code is permitted or not permitted?
  • What happens to those that are permitted? And to those that aren’t?

These are some common types of content and the issues that surround them, but you may have your own set of issues that need to be addressed specifically in your governance plan, so add those wherever it seems appropriate.

Very likely, you have additional content types, beyond those listed above, in your website. You will want to ask the same types of questions as those above about your additional content types as well.

 

This post is part of a larger series of posts, which make up a Guide to Digital Governance Planning. The sections follow a specific order intended to help you start at a high-level of thinking and then focus on greater and greater levels of detail. The sections of the guide are as follows:

  1. Starting at the 10,000ft View – Define the digital ecosystem your governance planning will encompass.
  2. Properties and Platforms – Define all the sites, applications and tools that live in your digital ecosystem.
  3. Ownership – Consider who ultimately owns and is responsible for each site, application and tool.
  4. Intended Use – Establish the fundamental purpose for the use of each site, application and tool.
  5. Roles and Permissions – Define who should be able to do what in each system.
  6. Content – Understand how ownership and permissions should apply to content.
  7. Organization – Establish how the content in your digital properties should be organized and structured.
  8. URL Naming Conventions – Define how URL patterns should be structured in your websites.
  9. Design – Determine who owns and is responsible for the many aspects design plays in digital communications and properties.
  10. Personal Websites – Consider the relationship your organization should have with personal websites of members of your organization.
  11. Private Websites, Intranets and Portals – Determine the policies that should govern site which are not available to the public.
  12. Web-Based Applications – Consider use and ownership of web-based tools and applications.
  13. E-Commerce – Determine the role of e-commerce in your website.
  14. Broadcast Email – Establish guidelines for the use of broadcast email to constituents and customers.
  15. Social Media – Set standards for the establishment and use of social media tools within the organization.
  16. Digital Communications Governance – Keep the guidelines you create updated and relevant.