Drupal Applications and Practice

(note: this is a post of my notes from the Computers in Libraries conference. Not any tips or tricks with drupal)

I was interested in attending this session so I could learn a little more about drupal. I didn’t get as much as I’d like from it but it isn’t the presenters’ fault. There were two things working against me, slow service at lunch and a huge gap in my technical knowledge. I was able to fill in a bit of that technical knowledge gap but it really made me realize that I have soooo much more to learn.

Blake Carver of LIShost.org and LISnews.org was the first speaker of the session and I’m sad to say I missed the first few minutes so my notes will pick up where I came in. I really like the LISnews site and have been subscribing to it for years. It has helped me keep current on lots of library information. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for current library information.

There was some discussion about the best drupal modules to use. Blake mentioned that he began listing all of the ones he really liked but the list quickly got out of hand. So he decided that since others have already produced good lists he would just mention theirs. He mentioned

Drupal will be coming out with a new version soon It will be version 7 and below are some of it’s features:

  • Surveys and usability testing
  • Better media and WISIWIG
  • Performance and security
  • Php 5.2
  • New dashboard and admin pages and themes
  • Toolbars and shortcuts
  • Should make it easier to intall and configure

He also mentioned where to go for help online:

Some one asked if there were any must have modules? He mentioned:

  • Backup module
  • Admin menu

The question was asked “How to convert from current site to Drupal?” He mentioned there are some good themes that are fairly easy to start and you can bring your current content into them. There are some custom modules designed for libraries out there too.

Another question was asked, “How does switching to drupal affect a site’s performance?” Generally switching to drupal doesn’t affect a sites performance too much. It seems to depend on how many modules you install. The more modules you have the slower your site will be.

James King of the National Institutes of Health was next. His organization (along with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) was tasked with creating a “Pandemic Influenza Digital Archive”.  He outlined some of the steps they took. One of them was deciding to use drupal as the content management system. There is a lot to all of the thing he and his team have accomplished and I don’t pretend to understand it all. The short version is that drupal has worked nicely for them. Luckily for me (and you) he has posted his presentation on slideshare for all to view. Please take a few minutes and look at it. His notes are very informative and he covers everything there.

Something I got from both of the presenters in this session is that drupal is a social publishing system not just a content management system. You can run wikis and blogs off of it along with many other things. Drupal is very flexible and customizable. It is definitely something I want to investigate and learn more about.

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