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Blyberg's Beautiful Drupal

What a great post John Blyberg has written regarding Ann Arbor District Library’s implementation of Drupal as their content management system!  AADL has been doing amazing things, and I’m not the first to recognize this series of great accomplishments.  Their use of a blog for the main web page is brave but it appears that it’s been very successful – so many of their posts have high numbers of comments.  The sense of community this creates is invaluable.  

I come away with two key bits of advice from his post.  First is to plan and practice.  Blyberg mentions spending at least six months looking at content management systems (CMS) before settling on Drupal (hey John, thanks for doing the legwork!). Built into his plan is the expectation of future change and updating -- vital if our services are to evolve and succeed.

The other key bit of advice?  Have a backup plan that can be quickly implemented.  When rolling out his new CMS he had a quick fallback to the old OPACs.  This is so very important, not just for your customers, but for your own neck as well!  Trying and failing is one thing, trying and failing and shutting down your entire online presence is another thing all together.  Have a backup.

My favorite quote? Easy, it’s this:

There is always going to be the one person who throws a Snickers bar in the pool. The public is not going to hold the library responsible for these people when they hijack a comment thread and become belligerent, rude, or aggressive. Our general policy that we ask our users to adhere to states that they should be respectful and stay on-topic, but there are people who can’t seem to manage that. The best thing, in those circumstances, is to let it go. We moderate profanity and leave content intact (we just add bl**p marks). Users will generally ignore them or dismiss them quickly. My point is, don’t be scared of these people, and don’t let their existence hold your plans hostage.