The Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications is a division of the US National Library of Medicine concerned with improving access to high quality biomedical information. LHNCBC is composed of five branches with separate organizational structures that conduct collaborative research projects. Despite being focused upon technical communication, LHNCBC had an outdated web site that did not support its organizational goals. Multiple branches had created their own web presences in an attempt to support their goals, but this served to further fracture the organization as a whole. LHNCBC came to Trellon to create an integrated, central platform which could serve to deliver information from all of its branches. They chose Drupal due to its flexibility and reputation for security, ease of content management, and sophisticated user access controls. Our team engaged with them closely as strategic partners to create a new web presence from the ground up, including design and information architecture, that would serve their complex organizational needs.
System Integration: Up-To-Date Research Data
Lister Hill is tightly integrated with the greater NIH and National Library of Medicine ecosystem at multiple levels of both policy and technology. Leveraging the power of Drupal enabled us to provide a comprehensive response to the organization’s complex integration needs. Trellon leveraged contributed and custom modules to integrate with XML feeds from various government systems. Among other things, this enabled the automatic updating of Lister Hill staff from a centralized human resources system. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the center and its decentralized structure, this was necessary in order to provide up to date information on the current assignments of researchers. Our comprehensive solution to tracking researchers associated with the Lister Hill Center allowed Trellon to further integrate the system with PubMed itself, automatically pulling down information about publications authored by Lister Hill affiliated scientists and making it available via a robust search interface. As part of the National Library of Medicine, the Lister Hill Center has strict information security needs. Drupal’s strong access control mechanisms, along with a custom deployment mechanism built by Trellon, enabled the Center’s security to exceed its requirements.
Content Management and Publication Workflow
Trellon used Drupal as a content management system for the Lister Hill Center web site. Content, including news, events, staff biographies, and information about research areas, projects, and publications is published through a uniform set of tools that provides users with the ability to control the information that appears on the site while ensuring that uniform standards in presentation are adhered to, including formatting requirements for research citations. Members of specific branches of the Center are able to enter information specific to their branches. Through Drupal’s workflow and group controls, these items can be approved by the appropriate individuals: branch administrators for branch-specific information and Center administrators for information that is more widely applicable.
Building Branches for the Future
When Trellon began working with the Lister Hill Center, most of the Center’s branches had their own web presences and expressed the wish to maintain them. Within a year of the new site’s launch, each branch had moved its primary web presence to the new portal. Trellon was engaged to build a platform that would permit this. By providing strong tools that enabled each branch to pull relevant information about research and staff from a regularly-updated central source into their own section of the web portal, Trellon succeeded in not only permitting the branches to migrate to the new system, but succeeded in building a platform that the branches found irresistible.