Why the Plone CMS is a good fit for Higher Education and Research



Universities and research organizations often have very specific needs when it comes to content management systems. This talk is a study as to why Plone is often chosen as the ideal CMS due to it's scalability, extensibility and metadata handling capabilities.


Plone has been used by hundreds of universities around the world, including Harvard School of Engineering, Penn State University, Rice University and many more. This talk will highlight some of the major success stories where Plone has been adopted, and hopefully encourage a Q&A session at the end.

Plone can be configured to provide each department or research group it’s own subsite within the parent Plone site, each with it’s own navigation, search and design. Plone’s group collaboration features make it very attractive to research groups that need to share documents within a private area, but share certain content with external researchers.

There are add-ons for Plone to generate a faculty and staff directory, and even integrate it with LDAP or Active Directory to pull in all the directory information that already exists on the campus network. There is a plugin to aggregate all of a university department or individual professor’s published works, and make all of the metadata searchable and cross-referenceable.

Plone was adopted by Rice University to build Connexions (cnx.org), open source web portal software for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web. Connexions is being used by Teachers Without Borders as their content engine for training and certifying teachers in 84 countries around the world.

EduCommons (educommons.com) is another open source Plone-based CMS software tool designed specifically to support OpenCourseWare projects, in use by many universities and businesses including Novell. eduCommons will help you develop and manage an open access collection of course materials and it’s built around a workflow process that guides content developers through the process of publishing materials in an openly accessible format.

Plone is one of the largest open-source teams in the world, and is in the top 2% of all project teams on Ohloh, which lists most of the major open source projects in the world. The first lines of source code were added to Plone in 2001. This is a relatively long time for an open source project to stay active, and can be a very good sign. Read more at http://plone.org

Speaking experience


  • Nate profile

    Nate Aune



    Nate Aune is CEO & Founder of Appsembler, a marketplace for open source web applications that you can deploy with 1-click. He’s deployed open source web applications to various cloud platforms such as Amazon AWS, Heroku, Dotcloud, Redhat’s OpenShift and Google App Engine. Nate is the founder and organizer of the Boston Django User Group with 800 members, and he served for 3 years on the Plone Foundation board.

    Nate has presented at LinuxWorld, Grassroots Use of Technology, Non-profit Software Developer Summit, EuroPython, PyCon and PyConBrasil. Read Nate’s blog at http://appsembler.com/blog and follow @natea on Twitter.