Friday, March 04, 2011

Countdown to DrupalCon Chicago...

I've got just a few days until DrupalCon Chicago, but there are a couple of things I've been wanting to post about, but haven't taken the time for lately.

1. is a huge congratulations to Westport Public Library for successfully migrating their website to the Drupal web content management system! They went live toward the end of January, I believe (apologies, can you tell I'm a bit behind? ;) ) The site looks great & has lots of exciting features - highlights of events and topics of interest at their library in the form of a slideshow at the top of their homepage, for example.
Perhaps more importantly, it's extensible for any future feature additions, iterative improvements, and redesigns (that's the power of a system like Drupal). The work done for Westport has also added back into the Drupal community in the form of a LibraryThing for Libraries Drupal module. That's how the "recommended reads" are brought into their site (see their home page).
2. we're experiencing a lot of success with our in-house implementation of Acquia's Drupal Commons distribution. A member of our IT staff put it up on a Windows server he had handy, so we're using it internally. We've seen it gain a lot of traction since he put it live last week - there are 23 members of the Commons now (for us, this is a lot of staff participation). The smartest thing we did with the Commons was highlight the "most active user" section of the site, where users' "points" (they get points for participating in the community - by discussing, "shouting" (and internal twitter of sorts), by posting to blogs, wiki pages, adding events, or otherwise interacting. This has spawned a slightly competitive (yet fun!) aspect to the community. Everyone wants to be the one with the most points. (I'm usually in the top five, but not always, lately). It's a great Drupal package, ridiculously easy to get going, especially if it's for a fairly casual, internal-type communications site. You can try out its features by joining the Acquia Commons, so you can see it for yourself. Or just download the stack & run it on your local computer or server. It's amazing!
I found & added in the Flickr Rippr module for the Commons (one of the joys of Drupal is that you can just add on modules however you want), in answer to a challenge made at this AM's digital collections meeting. Sure enough, it works beautifully in harvesting the items on our Flickr stream, their descriptions, tags, (it can also do the comments, but I didn't choose to import those in), and so on. I've set ours to cache the jpegs locally, so they're actually on our Drupal server. There are lots of other modules that deal with displaying Flickr photos/sets/streams in a Drupal site (& many ways to do that in other types of sites), but I chose this module because it actually created nodes for me from our stream. That meant that all of the great metadata our digitization guru put up into our Flickr stream was brought into the Drupal site & then automatically indexed by the Drupal site search.
Very cool!

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