The Current State of Component Content Management: An Integrative Literature Review

Rebekka Andersen, Tatiana Batova

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Scopus citations


    Research problem: The widespread adoption of component content management in organizations calls for a comprehensive summary of the territory of this phenomenon. A summary provides stakeholders in component content management with a sense of how the practice has evolved and its implications to research, theory, and future practice. The last such review was published in 2003. This integrative literature review is intended to fill the gap in the literature by describing the current state of component content management as presented in the current publications. Research questions: How is 'content' currently defined, described, and approached in the component content-management literature? What processes and tools are organizations adopting to achieve the goals of component content management? Literature review: The theoretical orientation of this review is Rhetorical Genre theory, which allows for classifying individual components as a genre characterized by granularity, reusability, and potentiality. Component content management gained recognition in the mid-1990s when early adopter organizations were looking for more efficient and effective approaches to reusing information between similar products or versions of the same product. Developments in the 2000s include a surge of publications focused on defining and describing component content management; new best practices for implementing a component content-management initiative; evolving processes and technologies for creating highly engineered, modular content that can automatically adjust to specific user requests and device capabilities; and collaborative efforts to integrate content creation and management strategies across organizational units. Scholarly and trade publications increasingly explore different concerns; whereas scholarly publications tend to offer critical perspectives on component content management, trade publications tend to describe processes and technologies and articulate best practices. Both focus on the goals of component content management, such as single sourcing, content reuse, multichannel publishing, and the structured content components required to achieve these goals. Methodology: To answer the research questions, we reviewed the body of literature on component content management. To do so, we searched library databases, Google, and for articles and books in both the scholarly and trade literature; we also sought out publications by well-known voices in component content management who direct successful consultant and/or research organizations. We then classified selected publications in relation to research questions and identified themes within each research question. The review did not explore other types of content management. Results and conclusions: Current component content-management literature suggests that component content management has evolved from a practice focused on single sourcing and reuse strategies for product documentation to a mature discipline concerned with designing pre-sales and post-sales information products for a multitude of devices and delivery channels. In recent years, trade publications have led the way to standardizing the discipline's core concepts, methodologies, processes, and technologies, such as structured content, structured authoring, single sourcing, component-based content strategy, Extensible Markup Language authoring tools, and component-content-management systems. Scholarly publications, however, have had comparatively little impact on advancing the discipline of component content management because only a handful of publications have focused on the topic and almost no crosstalk exists between these publications and the trade literature. Several questions about the practices of component content management still need to be answered, particularly in the areas of multilingual communication and content quality and usability. Based on the results of the literature review, we call for a coherent, robust, and ambitious component content-management research agenda that addresses topics such as content quality and usability, the diffusion of content-management systems, and global content management and that leads to studies that both advance scholarship and improve component content-management practice.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number7393887
    Pages (from-to)247-270
    Number of pages24
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 2015


    • Component content management
    • content strategy
    • information reuse
    • modular content
    • multichannel publishing
    • single sourcing
    • structured content

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Industrial relations
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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