Using Drupal as a Digital Library System

idioma's picture

I have just gotten involved in a Digital Library project for which we are considering to use Drupal. I have started looking through the existing digital library projects using Drupal and wondered which distro is best suited for our current requirements. We have started off with a small set of bibliographic data (around 1500) correlated with images (for manuscripts and books) of which some are provided with full text search capabilities via an implementation of the IA BookReader (

For what I was able to find out so far, we would need to make use of the Facet API that works with the core Search, Search API, and Apache Solr Search Integration modules and the File Viewer ( for BookReader integration. Is there a particular distro I should be looking at? Can I employ the Core Drupal together with the above modules or is there a specific distro for what we would like to achieve?

Thank you very much for your help,




Drupal DL


cdmo's picture

I, personally, am not sure whether there's a perfect profile out there for your project. I kind of doubt it given how specific your context/use case is. I would also say your plan to use Drupal 7 plus the modules you've mentioned sounds like a potential solution. I could mention two other things:

1) Try emailing your question to (you might want to join the list too)
2) Maybe check out Islandora ( which is a mature Fedora + Solr + Drupal repository solution


aavgoustinos's picture

Hi, i would like to use Islandora, there is any installation manual?
Also i would like to ask if you recoment drupal for large DL or collections.

You can find the Islandora

alxbridge's picture

You can find the Islandora installation instructions at . The manual setup process is fairly involved, so if you just want to explore it then I'd recommend you have a look at the virtual machine. Similarly, for production systems, you might find it best to use the chef scripts linked from the documentation.

In my opinion, using Drupal as the canonical store for a large library/collection isn't something I'd recommend, as those use cases are much better served by a system built for long-term record storage & preservation. However, having Drupal as part of the overall solution is something that can work well, and this is where Islandora sits: the assets & metadata are held in a system that specialises in their preservation (Fedora Commons); these are then managed and presented in a user-friendly interface layer provided through Drupal.


aavgoustinos's picture

Dear Alex
Thank you very much for your help and time.
In my case the collection it is not that big, 9000 items.
Mostly i use only Drupal but as you say the combination of Islandora and Drupal is much better.
Another person recommended Alfresco community, is Islandora and Alfresco similar?

Many thanks for everything

Avgoustinos, I'm afraid I

alxbridge's picture


I'm afraid I don't know Alfresco well enough to comment. I've found this page useful when looking into libre DAM solutions previously, which covers Alfresco amongst others:


aavgoustinos's picture

Dear Alex,
Thanks for everything i will take a look, also good job on Qatar National Library its a very nice project...good job


Drupal + Box= Digital Library

hhernandez's picture

We've been using Drupal integrated with Box to handle this.

Drupal handles the taxonomy. stores the underlying files. Solr with Tika extraction indexes the content stored in Box and the Drupal content and delivers it to the site users. Since can now handle it we also sync taxonomy between both systems.

Box also handles all the version control and version comments made in Box are displayed on the Drupal site.

Box also has a great viewer which we use to preview the document inline. Users can download the file if they want.

We can see usage stats of the resources both from and Google analytics.

Our library is pretty small- ~200 but there is no reason it can't scale.

reach out if you have questions.

Here's a list of the modules you need:
Box Shared Link Field
Box List Field
Box Upload Field
Apache Solr Filefield
Apache Solr Search Integration
Apache Solr Attachments

why not only Drupal

aavgoustinos's picture

Hi, i would like to ask why not use only Drupal. Box is not Open source project?


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