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What is OmniUpdate?

OmniUpdate is one of the website content management tools used at Vanderbilt. With Omni, editing is done with a Web browser – meaning you can update your site anywhere, anytime (well, as long as you have an Internet connection). Omni is very easy to use; website maintainers don’t need to know HTML, and they don’t need any special software.

Omni web pages are created with templates, which are based on the main Vanderbilt presence design. There is flexibility with layout: you can choose to have a 1-column, 2-column, or 3-column layout. Omni is modular, meaning that you can add sidebars, menus, rotating slideshows, Flickr galleries, and RSS feeds.

Omni is supported by Digital Strategies and is a free service to departments, centers, and offices within Vanderbilt University.

OmniUpdate was chosen by Vanderbilt based on input from a committee made up of stakeholders from the University and Medical Center. After evaluating many products, Omni was chosen for these reasons:

  • It is designed specifically for higher education and is used by over 555 schools.
  • You can work on your web pages anytime, anywhere – all you need is a web browser and an Internet connection.
  • Users don’t need any knowledge of FTP or HTML
  • It has a scalable, modular design that can handle hundreds of sites, thousands of users, and millions of pages

The Omni Update Platform

Vanderbilt is running Omni in a Software as a Service (SaaS) environment. With SaaS, OmniUpdate hosts the OU Campus application on its server and Vanderbilt hosts the production server. When you create and save an Omni page, all that work is done on the OmniUpdate staging server. When you publish your page (or site), a copy is sent to Vanderbilt’s production server – and your site is live for the world to see.

Omni’s underlying platform is powered by XSLT 2.0 which offers a true programming language with typed variables and user-defined functions. OU Campus uses a decoupled, or “push,” architecture that separates the web CMS from the live production site by publishing static and/or dynamic content as needed to the live web server.

Developers can access the core of the Omni CMS to remotely modify users, groups, and other record data, including creating new sites and sub-sites. Developers can also add to the user interface (UI) through the Add-Ons tab – virtually any homegrown or third-party web app can be integrated into the Omni UI.

If you’d like even more technical details about Omni, check the OU Campus Documentation website.

Here’s how to get started using Omni:

  • If you would like to start working with Digital Strategies on creating an OMNI website, please submit our New Project Request Form.  The staff in DS will contact you to set up a meeting.
  • If your department’s website is already in OmniUpdate and you would like access to it, please contact your department’s webmaster. If you are unsure who your departmental contact is, please email

Digital Strategies offers training and support for Omni websites. See our Training and Support pages for more information.

*OmniUpdate templates and support are not available for VUMC websites. Please contact the VUMC Web Team for assistance with VUMC sites.