Many universities use Drupal

More and more universities start to embrace Drupal by moving departmental sites to Drupal. It is an emerging trend, and one that bodes well for Drupal. A lot of students are being introduced to Drupal this way.

Also, having worked at a university myself, I can say that universities are complex enterprises that often employ thousands of people. To me, these are important signs that Drupal is gaining momentum in the enterprise.

Paul Albert of Cornell University shared a great presentation that compares Drupal to Fatwire (a proprietary, enterprise WCMS), and that provides an excellent overview of how other universities are using Drupal.

If you want to bring Drupal into your enterprise, you should watch the video of Paul's presentation below. Highly recommended!


Wim Mostrey (not verified):

This really is a great presentation, this is certainly something I will show to existing and prospect customers.

I wonder where this was presented or what the intent of creating it was? Is Paul Albert using it to encourage departments to use more Drupal?

May 28, 2008
Rafael Ferreir… (not verified):

Here on Brasil there are many Universities using Drupal too. USP (Universidade de São Paulo) one of the biggest here is using Drupal in many of it's departments.

May 28, 2008

This looks interesting as well: It is a 37 page report on how libraries can use Drupal.

May 28, 2008
VB6 (not verified):

Very interesting. I might use this to see if the University I work at could switch over. Its mostly a Microsoft shop right now. With all the development done in things like Visual Basic and .NET. Still, its worth a shot.

May 28, 2008
Robert (not verified):

Good luck with that, but I don't like your chances :p

May 28, 2008
Chad Fennell (not verified):

This is indeed an excellent presentation.

I'm biased (I'm at University of Minnesota), but I think there is tremendous potential for Drupal in Higher Education, and it's not just in the area of traditional websites.

Drupal-powered academic communities are beginning to pop-up here and there. We have two major projects under way at the moment at the U of M Libraries.

One is a Gates grant (to launch in the very near future): also see the presentation we made at the Digital Library Federation:

The other is a Mellon project, where we will be making use of the many socially interactive features of Drupal (groups, relationships, profiles, community tags, etc):

Both projects are integrated with other FLOSS software (ex Solr, GeoServer, GeoNetwork and so on) to varying degrees, which speaks to Paul's point about how easy it is to get stuff up and running (and maintained, scaled, etc) with Drupal. Both projects require very short development time frames and at the same time demand lots of functionality. Drupal has made it possible to meet these needs.

There just aren't many (any?) good enterprise solutions for community site building; I believe this gives Drupal another competitive advantage over "enterprise" solutions in academic environments where socially interactive spaces are in increasing demand to support scholarship.

May 28, 2008
WouterVH (not verified):

Most universities use a homegrown system, followed by Plone and Drupal. So there is a lot of room for improvement.

There was a recent survey published on this:…

May 28, 2008
Lior Kesos (not verified):

We (at Linnovate) have been working for 3 months in a project which is shifting all of Bar Ilan University's future sites to Drupal.

I can verify this is certainly a global trend and that IT and web managers within the universities which take the time to research the options tend to evaluate Drupal as well as a strong contender.

Presentations like these give us (the Drupal shops) extra "firepower" to work with, validating with an "external authority", that what we explain to our prospects is true.
What I like about these types of projects is that they present interesting integration challenges to the existing user base (LDAP integration), existing procedures (workflow, moderation queues, permissions).

We will eventually host a massive multi-site (70-100 sites) operation with installation profiles for the different flavors of departmental sites.

Thanks for the extra "firepower"


May 29, 2008
Marc Blumenfrucht (not verified):

Lior, you beat me to it :) I'm writing this from my desk at Bar Ilan University in Israel - we ( are currently migrating them to a Drupal multisite system for each faculty and department, the first of which is being launched next month.

Drupal is excellent for this kind of thing - we've integrated LDAP and used views and CCK for all sorts of things. There are certain things that don't work so easily - but they are reasonably easy to code and the university will be contributing any new modules back to the community.

Thanks for the presentation...

May 29, 2008
LiquidCMS (not verified):

I have recently added a new project to that would seem to be a must for most Universities thinking to do a Drupal intranet site: Plagiarism Checker - Authentication Framework.

Check it out; this is a pretty cool module (even if i do say so myself). Allows professors, editors, etc to check if posted content has been plagiarized. It does this by scouring the net using any of various plugin search API's and doing full page comparisons against the posted content. In the end, coming up with matching URL's that may have been used to copy content.

This project was designed by LiquidCMS and funded by LifeWire, a NY Times Company.

Peter Lindstrom
LiquidCMS - Content Management Solution Experts

May 31, 2008
Paul Albert (not verified):

Yay me.

I'm glad you all liked it. Enjoy it while you can, because I'm sure it will be outdated in the next few months as more academic institutions innovate on the Drupal platform. : )

For those wondering, the impetus for sharing this video was to do my part to catalyze the formation of a community with common goals. All around the world, there are hundreds/thousands of library programmers trying to do the same thing. Why not combine our efforts by using a common platform?

As you'll see in the ALA report mentioned above and on display at meetings such as Code4Lib, there's a strong interest in Drupal and forward-thinking librarians/programmers are just starting to appreciate the power of a strong developer/support community.

June 02, 2008
Wouter Van den Bosch (not verified):

Very nice vid.

I teach Content Management Systems at the University College of Drupal. Apart from a healthy dose of theory on the topic of CM, my students also have an equal dose of hands-on classes. Rather than letting them choose a CMS to figure out on their own, I've started making Drupal my obligatory tool of choice to introduce them to content management systems. So as of this summer, about 50 students a year will graduate with a basic knowledge of drupal administration, development and themeing.

The reason for my choice was two-fold. One the one hand I think Drupal is one of the more well-written well-documented systems out there and an ideal, open tool to let young people explore the functions and structure of a CMS. On the other hand, as Drupal is gaining more and more 'street cred' in the professional world out there, it's a skill that could increase our students' value on the job market.

June 03, 2008
heather (not verified):

LOL "University College of Drupal"

I even googled it! Freudian slip?

June 11, 2008
doug (not verified):

This is a great thread on the many ways that Drupal is being used in academic environments. Drupal use at UW Madison has been skyrocketing for the past couple years. In addition to departmental sites, we're seeing:

Exciting times!

June 13, 2008
Phillip Senn (not verified):

Pretty impressive.
The argument "Libraries have a rich history in sharing technology with each other" helped convince me.

July 03, 2008
Jeff Noyes (not verified):

This is an excellent presentation. Very convincing presentation.

July 18, 2008
David McIntosh (not verified):

I use Drupal personally and professionally, but at our University... we are looking for a central WCS solution that we can centrally maintain for multiple colleges/departments/students/users.

The thing I struggle with is not the power of Drupal on a site by site departmental basis but rather how a central ITS group can easily manage over +300 individual websites.

These kinds of numbers scare me when I look at how Drupal currently performs updates. I could certainly share a code source base, share selected contributed modules, but to push updates out to +300 sites... that is daunting.

I feel Drupal is the strongest when you have it installed on a departmental site with staff who can customize and develop meeting the specific needs of their group.

I know of at least one department in our University that manages many Drupal sites, but the ratio is not nearly the same as what I am facing.

Please give me your thoughts on Drupal NOT just for a department by department install but hundreds of them across an ENTIRE University.

Thanks for your help.


August 23, 2008
Anonymous (not verified):

I too would like to roll it out to the whole university but am wondering if it's really more appropriate for each department to manage their own drupal installation.

I would like to manage approximately 100 departments/organization, each of which have their own editors and own distinct menu's and slightly different appearance. Can this be managed under 1 drupal installation? Maintaining and updating 100 installations is out of the question.


October 17, 2008
James W (not verified):

I'm in the same boat as the previous two posters (though my boat is smaller). I' ve got 40+ depts/organizations the the university I work for. We're a rapidly growing university and there will be larger numbers of depts/orgs that will be having individual sites.

So far I've ended up with:

Pubcookie authentication
- module that is AWESOME 8^)
Virtual Sites
- module w/ different Themes/navigation per "site"
Content Access module w/ roles for
- module that seems to work great
- the permissions interface could get ugly with 40+ 'roles'

And in my testing environment it seems to be working good.

I'm concerned about managing that many sites (updates to codebase/modules, etc...) on one install.

If anyone reading these posts has a "definitive guide" on this topic, we'd love to see it 8^)


October 29, 2008
Jinendra Jinadasa (not verified):

We implemented Drupal in 2007 for Brigham Young University-Hawaii. We have 51 departments branching off of a single installation.

We are very grateful for you and your community in developing such a powerful CMS. May Drupal continue to be the best Content Management System. Thanks.

Jinendra J.
Webmaster BYU-Hawaii

February 26, 2009
Yannick Warnier (not verified):

Together with the Drupal Peru community, we've built a conjunction of web services and features that allow the e-learning system Dokeos to be a slave of the user base of any Drupal site, and to show its list of courses and agenda events inside blocks of the Drupal site.

We hope this will help universities make their websites even more original and useful.

November 16, 2009

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