TECH SET interview: Ken Varnum

By Patrick Hogan |

Editors Note: The TECH SET Series Editor Ellyssa Kroski has interviewed authors about their books. We will post the interviews to the companion pages for the The TECH SET. Starting today, and on Thursdays during the next 9 weeks, we will feature an interview on the ALA TechSource blog.

Yesterday, one of the participants in Sean Fitzpatrick's Drupal Basics workshop asked if we could suggest a concise guide on using Drupal to develop a library website. Yes we can!

Among the 10 new titles to The TECH SET series is Drupal in Libraries (14) , by Kenneth J. Varnum. Series Editor Ellyssa Kroski spoke to Ken about the book. Below the SoundCloud embed are a few notes from the interview.

Drupal is misunderstood and can ge a bad rap. People know it as a powerful tool, but that also creates fear. (2:00)

Downloading and installing Drupal is a project described in the book. "After that, you don't have to touch the command line at all," Ken says. From there, it’s a familiar web interface. (3:30)

Other projects described: Setting up basic content types, using Views, managing user content (4:50)

The book assumes little specific knowledge of Drupal or PHP, which it’s written in, only comfort with using Web interfaces. Using a content management system brings simplicity to a website development project and also complexity, which usually has its roots in your organization and its range of your content. A critical first step is designing a process for building your website. (7:10)

At ALA's Annual Conference, Ken will be hosting one of the "Conversation Starters," discussing the pros and cons of hosting a discovery tool in your site versus somewhere else. He will also be writing a forthcoming LITA Guide. (10:05)