There are a variety of platforms for building a project website. Drupal, an open source content management system, allows users to build highly customized and complex sites without writing custom code. This flexibility makes Drupal a strong choice for a variety of digital humanities projects that want to organize, display, and analyze research data. Even if you don’t intend to launch a public website for your project, Drupal may still be a helpful tool when building a database for your own research use.

  • open source: Drupal is free to use and modify. Drupal’s active community of developers utilize Drupal, extend its functionality for a variety of projects and industries, and contribute back to community.
  • no coding: Site-builders can develop data models, enter data and organize and display it in a wide variety of ways (from maps and timelines to image galleries, charts and spreadsheets) without any programming.
  • modular: Drupal sites can range from simple to complex. Using various modules, a Drupal site can be used for maintaining a complex database, generating maps, displaying image galleries, or hosting members-only forums.
  • recommended by Berkeley IT staff: Free development hosting is available to UC Berkeley affiliates building their sites in Pantheon (see below). Drupal is also used in a variety of disciplines and in teaching, research, and administration settings on campus. If you run into issues with your Drupal site, there is a helpful community of users on campus to consult.

For further discussion of Drupal’s features and a comparison with other platforms, watch this excerpt from “Basics of Drupal for Researchers” (~10 minutes) or read our resource guide, ‘Choosing a platform for your project website‘. Looking for more personalized help? Get in touch with a DH consultant to discuss your project needs.

Building and Hosting Your Site On Pantheon

Free development hosting is available via Pantheon. You can build your site at no cost, and either pay to host it on Pantheon (which allows you to use your own URL, like or or export the site to be hosted elsewhere (where you can also use your own URL). Please consult IST for current hosting rates with Pantheon.

Web Hosting (Pantheon)
Launch your Pantheon site
Self-service Pantheon guide


Drupal Developers Circle (DDC)

The Drupal Developers’ Circle brings together faculty, students and staff who are building websites using Drupal, or who are learning to use Drupal. The group generally takes the form of a Q&A session, where people bring in their problems or questions, and anyone can help find a solution. People who are just starting with Drupal may watch training videos on headphones (the facilitators can offer suggestions of videos), and ask any questions that arise. The Drupal Developers’ Circle generally focuses on academic Drupal sites (those directly connected to research or teaching), but people who run administrative sites are also welcome to participate. The Drupal Developers’ Circle takes a “no custom code” approach to solving problems wherever possible, emphasizing the use of modules written and supported by others.

Berkeley Drupal Users Group (BDUG)

The Berkeley Drupal Users Group (BDUG), hosted at the D-Lab, brings together a variety of Drupal users together for monthly discussions. BDUG meetings usually feature a short talk on a Drupal module or workflow, discussion, and Q & A.

Off Campus

The Bay Area has an active community of Drupal users and developers who can offer help either online or at in-person meetups. Free training is offered at the annual Bay Area Drupal Camp (BADCamp). Stanford will also be hosting a Drupal Camp in April.


Basics of Drupal for Researchers

Basics of Drupal for Researchers is a 5 hour class that introduces users to Drupal through building their own site. No technical experience is required. Users will create their first site on Pantheon and install and configure several useful modules. Videos and slides are available on the Research IT YouTube channel.

Digital Humanities Summer Institute

Researchers looking to workshop their project site and get an intensive introduction to Drupal may be interested in “Drupal for Digital Humanities Projects” at this year’s Digital Humanities Summer Institute. DHSI offers week-long intensives in a variety of DH topics and methods in June. UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff are eligible for discounted tuition via UC Berkeley’s sponsor code. Learn more here.

Resource Type
Last updated: Apr 4, 2016