Background: The unique structure of The Cochrane Collaboration (CC), along with growing interest in its existing web presence (www.cochrane.org), and the need for a single coherent presence on the web to facilitate the dissemination of healthcare evidence, necessitate a precise a priori evaluation of available solutions for maintaining the CC's web content.
Objectives: To describe how we identified the available content management systems (CMS) and assessed their potential value for the CC's websites.
Methods: An internet search was performed to identify available CMS. From the hundreds available, the ten most promising CMS were selected for closer evaluation. Criteria were defined including: intuitive work flow, web-based interface, publication staging and versioning, accommodation of legacy content from multiple sources, and a facility for managing multiple independent websites. For each CMS the evaluation process included installing and/or configuring the system, and then attempting to implement each of our requirements.
Results: A total of 10 CMS were evaluated (six open source, three externally hosted solutions, one proprietary). Of the solutions, eight had an intuitive work flow, nine were web based, five allowed for publication staging and versioning, none could reliably accommodate the legacy content, and none could manage more than one website.
Conclusions: None of the available CMS that were considered could satisfy all of the defined requirements. Consequently, the content needing management was divided, and a set of different CMS will be used to manage the heterogeneous content of the CC web presence. This analysis of the evaluation process and the conclusion drawn from it may be helpful to other non-profit healthcare organisations trying to manage their web presence.