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NCI Digital Media Guidelines

  • Updated: 05/03/2012

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Required Content Elements

Every NCI content page within the Percussion Web Content Management System (WCMS) must include the following content elements. Managers of NCI Web content stored outside of Percussion should consider these elements important best practices, and follow them accordingly.

Key Words
Use of key words in the title tag, page title, and within-page content help tell your Web audiences and search engines what the page is about. Key words are important for:

  • recognition and retrieval by external search engines (Google, Yahoo)
  • NCI’s internal search engine
  • content promotion

Include key descriptive words from your page content in the title tag, page title, and page description.

Title Tag
The title tag is seen at the top left of the browser window, between the browser icon and the name of the browser. Search engines often use the title tag as the name of the link displayed in search engine results.
The best title tag is:

  • brief
  • unique to the page
  • contains key words from page content

Title tag


Page Title
The page title should concisely explain the content of the page. The Percussion WCMS requires content owners to create the following types of titles:

  • A Long Title – a descriptive title of page content with unlimited number of characters displayed. 

Bortezomib (Velcade®) Delays Progression of Advanced Multiple Myeloma Longer than Standard Therapy: Results of the APEX Trial displayed on a "Clinical Trial Results" content page. 

Drugs Approved for Multiple Myeloma and Other Plasma Cell Neoplasms” displayed on the “Drugs Approved for Different Types of Cancer” content page.

  • A Short Title – a concise title, limited to 65 characters.

Bortezomib Delays Progression of Multiple Myeloma” displayed in the “Treatment” section of the Multiple Myeloma Home Page.

“Drugs Approved for Multiple Myeloma” displayed in the “Treatment” section of the Multiple Myeloma Home Page.

Page Description
A brief description of a page's contents helps Web visitors quickly identify content they seek. Page descriptions also help match your content with the search terms Web visitors enter on large search engines, such as Google and Yahoo. Improving content ranking on search engine results is called “search engine optimization.” The description should include key words that reflect the title and page contents. The description field can accommodate more than 500 characters. However, for readability and brevity we recommend limiting the description to a maximum of 250 characters.

All NCI content within the Percussion WCM fits into a hierarchical structure of content folders. Content folders determine the path of the primary URLs used on the site. New pages are created within the content type folder or subfolders.You only need to assign the last part of the URL when you create a new page. Percussion builds the rest of the path from the folder structure.

Primary URLs
The WCMS is set up in a hierarchy of content folders and subfolders. NCI’s website includes the following content folders:

  • /cancertopics
  • /clinicaltrials
  • /statistics
  • /researchandfunding
  • /newscenter
  • /aboutnci
  • /espanol
  • /ncicancerbulletin
  • /global

Example: The beginning part of the URL for a content page inside the /aboutnci folder in the Percussion WCMS community is

Secondary URLs (optional)
Shorter URLs can be assigned as secondary URLs for promotional purposes and marketing campaigns. These short URLS may also be called “pretty URLs."


Content pages must display a date. The Percussion WCMS currently allows the following choices of date display:

  • “Posted” – Date that the page or document is originally published on the NCI website.
  • “Reviewed” – Used for pages or documents that have been reviewed for current accuracy and relevance, but that have not been substantively changed. May be used with, or instead of, the “posted” date.
  • “Updated” – Used for pages and documents that have had substantive content changes.
  • Last Modified” – Used for PDQ cancer information summaries that have had substantive content updates.

Ideally a document will display only one date:

  • a “Posted” date initially
  • an “Updated” date if the document is substantively modified, or
  • a Reviewed” date to show that content remains current.

The “Posted” date might be retained when another date is added if the initial date is essential to understanding the context of the document (such as a clinical trial result or a press release).

No document should ever display all three dates (“Posted,” “Updated,” “Reviewed”) simultaneously.