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Unlocking Centuries of Content

Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press (OUP) is a department of the University of Oxford. OUP has a rich history that traces back to the earliest days of printing. The University was involved with several printers during the late 1400s and although there was no formal university press at the time, Oxford University was recognized by King Charles I and entitled to “print all manner of books.”

As delegates were appointed to oversee this printing process, the structure of OUP as it exists today began to develop around 1668. From the late 1800s, OUP expanded globally, opening branches in New York, Canada, Australia, India, and Southern Africa. Today, OUP is the largest university press in the world and publishes in all academic fields, from multiple offices around the world.


Oxford University Press set out to develop a repository for the outside world to search and discover its wealth of journal, reference book, and educational content. The Oxford Index will serve as a gateway to the vast digital collection of authoritative scholarship published by OUP.

This free discovery tool needed to have a standardized description of every item of OUP content in one place as well as a standard data format of XML metadata and free content. Data had to be extracted from multiple sources to feed the index. Additionally, there had to be a smart, integrated linking of content across product types, which meant OUP required a central repository to store, interact with, and deliver XML metadata.

The massive organization of people, processes, and systems also had the additional requirement of achieving a first iteration delivery in just 12 months.


Building the Oxford Index involved the collaboration of people from all functions, publishing areas, and offices. OUP selected Contiem’s RSuite component content management system (CCMS) to house its full-text content. RSuite CCMS also serves as the metadata hub for OUP — the connector across multiple content repositories. This hub provides the intelligence to link search terms with abstracts and references to source documents.

Critical to note is that OUP had one very simple strategy: start with XML. XML content is managed, edited, and tagged through OUP’s editorial and production processes and the single-sourced content is used for delivery to its various output channels and products. RSuite CCMS manages and stores OUP’s XML, as well as other data types and data models.


Implementing RSuite CCMS at OUP resulted in a modern content management system. Years of editorial work is readily searchable, findable, and usable by staff who are developing new products to serve scholars, students, faculty, and librarians.

The Oxford Index is one such tool that would not have been possible prior to RSuite CCMS. One search of the Oxford Index brings together top-quality content and unlocks connections in a way not previously possible.

“RSuite will allow us to deliver our digital future. It’s going to help structure our content and develop the methodologies and the processes to handle our content so that we can reuse it and revitalize it and publish it and compete in the market as it changes.”
— Jess Lawson, Head of Content Architecture, Oxford University Press

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