Over the past year, many librarians and directors have contacted me about finding different software to maintain their library websites. For a variety of reasons, the tools we currently support (Contribute, Dreamweaver, and TypePad) are not always a good fit for member libraries. To meet these web service needs, we are exploring a tool called Drupal.
We cannot currently provide a timeline for when Drupal will be available for member library use, and I apologize for the disappointment that this may cause. I can, however, tell you what we are doing to move the project forward.
We began the project with a "sandbox" installation of Drupal 6, and, shortly thereafter, Drupal 7 (the latest version) was released with many enhancements. Then the Koha migration happened, and Drupal was temporarily set aside. This summer we abandoned Drupal 6 and made the decision to focus on Drupal 7. We now have a new "sandbox" installation, and our plan is to evaluate whether it is feasible to offer it for member library use and then develop recommendations for policies, workflows, settings, and modules. Greg Barniskis and Kerri Hilbelink deserve recognition for their work on planning and preparing these test environments.
We are investigating Drupal because it is a powerful tool that is likely to meet many libraries' needs. Here are some features that we are excited about:
- It is web-based. There is no software to install, and it can be accessed from any computer with Internet access.
- It has a fine-grained permission system that could make it possible to grant library staff total control over a website.
- It is highly configurable, with lots of add-on modules to provide modern website features (e.g. slideshows, image galleries, calendars, web forms, RSS feeds, etc.).
- It has a strong user community, including many libraries.
We are committed to providing easy-to-use tools to help you achieve your website goals. If Contribute, Dreamweaver, or TypePad still meet your needs and you want to continue using them, we will continue to support these tools for the forseeable future. All the planning, testing, and preparing that we do with Drupal is intended to improve the service we provide member libraries, and we look forward to sharing the results with you in the future.