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Integration

How the new CMS will replace or work with existing city information systems

Desired Functionality

Ultimately the city's information systems should reduce effort and improve results for those seeking to store, retrieve, and communicate all kinds of information about the city and its activities. This CMS is unlikely to do everything by itself. For example there is likely to continue to be a separate e-mail infrastructure. But for optimum results the CMS and the other systems should be designed to work together as seamlessly as possible. This page is our attempt to make it so.

Web site

All city information and communications should be available at a single  well-organized, attractive web portal. It should be very easy for anyone to participate by commenting and adding content subject to city policies. Currently the city has three disjunct web sites that are difficult and obtuse for users and authors alike.

City and community e-mail services

Electronic mailboxes for gustavus-ak.gov and gustavus.ak.us support IMAP and integrate with directory and calendars.

Forums and e-mail lists

We want this to work in the same way that Google Groups do. GG allows members to participate in threaded discussions entirely via their web browser, entirely via their e-mail client, or by a combination of both.

Calendaring

It should be easy to schedule an event by submitting the pertinent who, what, and where. The event should be automatically checked for scheduling conflicts, added to appropriate calendars, and announced/invitations sent via e-mail and the web portal.

Electronic Files

Secure, searchable, easily accessible central storage for all kinds of electronic files.

Community Directory/Single-sign on

We would like to have a central directory or multiple integrated directories that could be used as phone/address/email list as well as for authentication for all the above systems.

Automation of common tasks such as scheduling, announcing, and recording meetings

For example, a meeting has this lifecycle. We desire to automate the work flow as much as possible:

  1. Schedule the meeting. Meetings can be recurring.
    1. Set the agenda, date and time, location, participants, and any resources needed
    2. Check for availability of resources and participants. Reserve resources.
    3. Announce the meeting via e-mail lists, publication to the city web site, and addition to the community calendar(s).
    4. Post written notices at the standard 3 public locations.
  2. Conduct the meeting
    1. Approve minutes for previous meeting
    2. Record minutes using agenda as template
  3. Publish the minutes and circulate for review

Other workflows exist that could be automated.

Existing Systems

The city has a Windows server at the library which hosts Active Directory domain gustavus.lib.ak.us , Exchange e-mail server, electronic files, and various other services such as this Plone instance. The Gustavus Community Network also has two linux-based servers for authentication, accounting, e-mail, and other services for its subscribers. By ordinance GCN is a self-sufficient entity so should not depend on or substantially support other city functions but there is opportunity for integration at least in using the accounts for single sign-on access to the CMS.

Web Sites (3)

Active directory domain

Microsoft Exchange Server

  • e-mail for domains gustavus.lib.ak.us, gustavus-ak.gov, gustavuslandlegacy.org

  • e-mail lists using Active Directory groups and including public folders as recipients for archiving and web access
  • calendaring and public folders

GCN linux-based systems

  • Freeside open-source ISP billing software
  • Authentication and accounting via RADIUS
  • Maintained under support contract with SISD.

Windows file server, print server, terminal services, DNS, DHCP, etc.

Tentative Roles

Here is how the desired functionality is being provided presently and, subject to change, how it will be provided after the CMS is rolled out.

Function Current Future Notes
Web site
Multiple sites hosted on library Windows server via IIS
Replace 3 sites with one Plone CMS hosted on the library server
 
City E-Mail
Exchange server on library server
   
Community E-Mail
GCN Linux server
   
E-Mail lists
Exchange server on library server


Forums
Exchange server on library server


Calendaring
Exchange server on library server

Electronic files
Library file server via IIS, FTP, WebDAV


Directory
Active directory on library server, Freeside on GCN servers


Automation
None


Questions

Directory

What product or combination of products will hold the user accounts for the various information services such as logging on to Windows machines, securing files on Windows servers, logging on to the CMS, and connecting to the community network? We seek to keep the number of directories managed by the city at the current 2, or reduce to 1; we do not really want to add a new directory of Plone users.

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Freeside GCN users
  • Windows Live ID?

E-Mail lists and forums

What software provides Google Group-like functionality for e-mail/discussion integration, and how to we integrate it with our Plone CMS and directory?

  • Continue using Exchange server?
  • Use PloneBoard (but what are its e-mail capabilities?)
  • Something else?

CMS

  • Integrate with (which) directory/directories
  • Get WebDAV working
  • Integrate with e-mail lists and forums
  • Automate certain tasks.
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