Encyclopedia Content Management System (eCMS) is the only content management system and web development framework designed specifically for developing state and regional digital encyclopedias.

Do you need to develop a robust state or regional digital encyclopedia that brings articles, images and media together into one comprehensive resource for students, teachers, historians and researchers?

eCMS allows you to build an online digital encyclopedia that incorporates:

  • Dublin Core Metadata
  • American Association of State and Local History Best Practices for Digital Encyclopedias
  • Compliance with accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0 Level A, Section 508, Americans with Disabilities Act)

Since 2005, we have been heavily involved in the design, development and implementation of online digital encyclopedias. No other organization has the experience that we bring to the table.

eCMS was initially developed as a fully featured application framework that allowed organizations to develop a dynamic digital encyclopedia that included articles, images, audio, video and multimedia. Content could be organized in various ways, including:

  • Alphabet (A-Z)
  • Categories & Subcategories
  • Topics
  • Time Periods
  • Geographic Regions

The software was built specifically to create digital encyclopedias, but also offered some minimal options for managing an entire website. Over time, customers asked for more web design features. This created a problem, because eCMS was so heavily focused on managing and presenting encyclopedia content. The idea of adding additional features outside of the scope of encyclopedia functionality  did not fit with the mission of eCMS.

We began to explore our options. We wanted to continue to provide eCMS to museums, historical societies and humanities councils, but we had to find a way to meet their web design requirements as well. This is where WordPress came into play. WordPress is, by far, the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world. We had some experience with it on small projects and felt that it provided the most user-friendly approach to content management.

Over the past year, we have developed eCMS for WordPress (eCMS WP). eCMS WP is a WordPress plugin that provides all of the features and functionality of eCMS in a package that can be included in any WordPress installation. When you integrate eCMS WP hooks into your WordPress theme, then you are able to take advantage of everything that the WordPress platform offers — and still create a one-stop resource for information about your state, city or region.

eCMS WP Features

Encyclopedia Objects

eCMS WP allows you to create different types of content Objects in the system, which are necessary for any digital encyclopedia project.

  • Entries
  • Images
  • Documents
  • Recordings

Project Objects

  • Staff Members
  • Partners
  • Category Overviews


WordPress provides a simple, robust method of creating taxonomies, which we have extended to eCMS WP. You can add as many terms as necessary to the taxonomy.

Dublin Core Metadata

eCMS WP provides a way to add Dublin Core Metadata to all Encyclopedia and Project Objects.

Accessibility Compliance

Our team has significant experience with accessibility guidelines that are usually a requirement for an online digital encyclopedia:

  • W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level A
  • Section 508
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

Best Practices

The team behind eCMS WP helped develop the Best Practices for Digital Encyclopedias. These guidelines were produced by the Internet Digital Encyclopedia Alliance (IDEA) of the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH).

Commitment to Continuous Improvement

We have always looked for new features and functionality to add to eCMS. Now that we have integrated with WordPress, we can leverage the full power of the platform through the massive network of plugins that are available. We are able to add features to your entire website, including the encyclopedia, without having to add to the eCMS WP core.

Unrivaled Experience in the Design & Development of Digital Encyclopedias

No one has more experience than we do in this field. The following organizations and websites have used eCMS:

Involvement with the American Association of State and Local History

We are a member of the AASLH Internet Digital Encyclopedia (IDEA) Working Group. This group produced a document of Best Practices for state and regional digital encyclopedias. As an member of AASLH, we are honored to be involved in these efforts to help define the best practices for these projects.

eCMS WP Versions

The original version of eCMS was offered in three different versions.

Encyclopedia Content Management System (eCMS) Standard Edition

The standard version of eCMS allowed authorized users to create entries, upload images, to create collections and photo galleries and to create complex linking relationships between all content. All of this is still in eCMS WP.

Encyclopedia Content Management System Light Edition (eCMS LE)

The Light Edition offered the core functionality of the eCMS system, and is ideal for small museums, historical societies and organizations that want to develop websites with encyclopedias and glossaries to their audience. We are working on the design of a light version of eCMS WP.

Encyclopedia Content Management Member Portal (eMP)

eMP was developed as a way to allow people visiting an encyclopedia to create member accounts on the web site. This same type of functionality can be added to a WordPress installation, with the BuddyPress plugin.

Learn More About eCMS

Pick up the phone today and call Randal Rust at 614-370-0036 or email us to schedule a free consultation and online demo of the eCMS system. We’ll talk about your goals for your encyclopedia, and work up a proposal to help you develop a plan to bring your regional or state encyclopedia to life. You can also visit our Facebook page to see screenshots of our digital encyclopedia projects and other projects that we are currently working on.

In Development

  • South Carolina Digital Encyclopedia

Current Projects

  • American History Central
  • Encyclopedia of Appalachia
  • Immigrant Entreprenuership
  • KnowLA
  • Ohio Civil War Central
  • Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture
  • Transatlantic Perspectives
  • Whole Earth

Past Projects

  • Ohio History Central