Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Finding the red thread

First post in a long time now. Managed to catch quite a nasty cold the other day, and the week before was pretty cramped with turning one open source CMS into a webshop (will post about it later).

One of the main issues with my thesis as now is that it lacks a red thread through it. The thesis is an answer to a question; a research question. Am I ready to specify a context of the question? See writing about open source and open standards in wcms is still too general. I need some sort of approach or specialty, an aspect I can attack.

In my experience, you have to be careful when reading through your own papers. Do it too often, and you grow tired of your own content. My technique will now be to first look quickly through the thesis (7500 words) and the blog (11000 words, bloglines is a great tool for viewing your whole blog on one page), and see if I can select an aspect based on the content I've already collected.

Afterwards, I will go through it again, more slowly this time, adding more content, references, generally putting in the fixes suggested by A.

The aspect

Been a while since I read my first blog-posts. Interesting to note that I've all along proclaimed customizability as the most important feature of a WCMS, especially in an off-the-shelf WCMS, or an open source WCMS. Reading through the blog gave me the impression that I've been bouncing back and forth between different aspects, roaming from knowledge management to the architecture of a WCMS, the social aspects of open source, and the concept of a web portal. I doubt all these concepts can be treated properly in the thesis.

Reading quickly through the thesis. Some chapters follow the the thread, others are immensly subjective and will have to be heavily edited. The abstract and introduction suggest the following red thread:

  • requirements of WCMS
  • how requirements are met by open source systems (OSS) and open standards
  • how OSS compares to proprietary WCMS
  • how to compare different OSWCMS

So the choice remains. What are the options?

  1. The aspects of open source and open standards
  2. WCMS as a knowledge management tool
  3. A study of an open source content management system project (social and technical aspects)
  4. The business case of using an open source WCMS
  5. The technical implications of JSR-170

As previously mentioned, my current title is The Use of Open Standards and Open Source in Web Content Management Systems. Why can't I stick to this aspect? Is it too general? Too subjective?

Nonetheless, I've got material for aspect for all these aspects, especially number 3.

Depending on feedback from A, I want to try to make my current title the red thread. After this has been settled, I'll give the thesis a good write-thru and see how it goes.