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September 9, 2016
‘GOVCON’
NIH Library Hosts Drupal Conference

NIH Library Branch Chief James King
Flora Qian
Richard Barnes
NIH Library Branch Chief James King (top) introduces the day 2 keynote presentation featuring Flora Qian (middle) and Richard Barnes (bottom). They talked about the NIH.gov web site migration to Drupal.

PHOTOS: SUSANNE COATES

The NIH Library recently organized and hosted the annual Drupal GovCon conference, one of the biggest Drupal conferences on the East Coast. Drupal is an open-source web content management system. NIH uses it as the back end of its home page.

Held at Natcher Conference Center July 20-22, the event drew nearly a thousand people from all over the world and at every level of government.

The conference featured more than 70 sessions. There were daily keynote speakers, including a presentation by NIH web developers Richard Barnes and Flora Qian about the NIH.gov web site’s migration to Drupal. The 3 days also included free training, mentoring and networking opportunities, a coder lounge and an exhibit hall.

The NIH Library, located in Bldg. 10, champions new technologies that can improve how NIH operates. Drupal use and support is just one example of a technology that the library’s Custom Information Solutions (CIS) Service encourages for adoption. Highly scalable and flexible, Drupal is available for anyone to download, use and share with others.

The CIS Service uses Drupal to build targeted web sites for the NIH community. These include tools to help grant managers assess research portfolios and virtual spaces that support scientific collaboration around specific diseases and conditions. Many institutes and centers also use Drupal for web site development.

The NIH Library hosts Drupal training classes and quarterly user group meetings, manages and hosts a Drupal community site and helps organize the annual GovCon event.

Drupal GovCon continues to grow, from 330 attendees in 2012 to almost a thousand in 2016. It illustrates the interest in and importance of open source platforms as low-cost solutions for digital government.

To view keynote talks from Drupal GovCon, visit http://videocast.nih.gov.—Bridget Burns, MaShana Davis

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