Drupal for Archivists
Over the course of the last academic year, I have been part of a team working on survey project aimed at identifying and describing archival collections relating to the Asian and Pacific American community in the New York City metropolitan area. The results of the fifty-plus collections we surveyed have been posted on our Drupal-powered website, which has been an excellent fit for the needs of this project and has also enabled us to engage many of the challenges the project has presented. By way of introduction, this survey project seeks to address the underrepresentation of East Coast Asian/Pacific Americans in historical scholarship and archival repositories by working with community-based organizations and individuals to survey their records and raise awareness within the community about the importance of documenting and preserving their histories. Funded by a Documentary Heritage Project grant from METRO: Metropolitan New York Library Council, the project is a collaborative effort between the Asian/Pacific/American Institute and the Tamiment Library/Robert F.
When Mark asked me to write about our use of Drupal at the Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections, the first thing I thought about was when our Archives Reference Blog was initially launched in April 2007. I couldn't believe that it has been two years already. I am pleased to report that my colleagues at Dickinson and I are enormously happy with the results of those two years. I hope others may find this brief explanation of how and why we are using Drupal as a reference management tool to be helpful and instructive. The concept for our implementation of Drupal was a simple one. I was thinking about the fact that we help researchers everyday to locate information that they want, but that what they discover among our collections or learn from them seldom gets shared, except by those who write for publication. So, what if we shared via the web, through a simple blog format, the basic questions posed by our researchers along with a simple summary of the results?
I've been fairly quiet lately as I've been busy with this and that, but I thought I'd let everyone know that I've been beginning to put together a series of posts entitled "Drupal for Archivists." Drupal, as you may or may not know, is a flexible and extensible open source content management system. There will be a general overview of some of the important concepts, but it'll focus less on the basics of getting people up and running — there are plenty of resources out there, such as the wonderful tutorials and articles available from Lullabot. Instead, I've drafted a handful of guest bloggers to discuss how and why they're using Drupal. Keep your eyes peeled!