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Drupal Organization: Tips From a Librarian

Ahh, libraries. The smell of books, the sounds of pages turning, the incessant Karaoke singalongs of the library workers. OK, maybe the last one is a bit far-fetched, but we all know it’s founded in some truth. The fact remains that libraries are a hallowed ground of information consumption and organization.

That organization doesn’t happen by dint of chance. No, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into maintaining a collection, and these steps taken by your local library workers might inspire us to approach our websites with the same set of diligent hands. Get sorting, people!

 

Shelf-reading

Picture this: You’re scanning the stacks for that volume of poetry by your favorite Tang Dynasty era scribe, and whaddaya know—it’s not in its right place! Typical, amiright? Actually, it’s very atypical.

Library workers actively "read" the codes on the spines of books to ensure that they are arranged in correct order. Think of it as an analog version of web-crawling. Someone literally walks through the stacks and pulls misaligned books from the shelf in order to get them back to their rightful place. It’s continuous, tedious and probably the bane of a librarian’s existence. But it must be done.

Your site must organize content in a conscientious and intuitive manner for users to find what they need. Similar to identifying a book by its code, a good admin will identify the different content types and then start putting the pieces in place for a user-friendly website.

 

Weeding

"Next to emptying the outdoor bookdrop on cold and snowy days, weeding is the most undesirable job in the library. It is also one of the most important. Collections that go unweeded tend to be cluttered, unattractive, and unreliable informational resources."

- Will Manley, "The Manley Arts," Booklist, March 1, 1996, p. 1108.

 

That quote really does say it all. And then it cites in clinical fashion. #LibraryStyle

Ever had a garden that was choked by invasive, persistent weeds? The only remedy is to pull those opportunistic plants by their roots and turn the soil for good measure. Libraries have to do something similar to remove old, non-circulating and damaged books that are clogging the shelf space. Sayonara, unwanted copies of Steve Wozniak’s Joke Book!

The post-audit process for a Drupal site should follow similar principles of economy and usefulness: was this custom module really needed for the UI? If it’s taking up space and not serving the users, then it’s got to go! 

 

Cleaning up a site the Promet Way

One thing that helps get your site in good working order is a thorough audit. Check out our presentation from DrupalCon 2014 to get the skinny on how we drill down to a site’s components with the Drupal site audit.

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