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FERN’s European Union advocacy work is focused on protecting forests and defending the rights of forest peoples. They approached us in 2008 with a familiar tale of a website that was not keeping pace with the growth and change in their activities. More of their content was being written in French as well as English and the volume and diversity of their publications was lost in a system that didn’t index it usefully.
We set up a new Drupal site for FERN with a French language sub-section, and a much more powerful publications search. As a predominantly English language organisation that translates only selected content, we opted for a simple second language content listing, rather than the more costly full language switching bi-lingual system, to give a clear list of all content available in French.
The publications section of the site is now supported by a powerful guided search which helps users find what they’re looking for by narrowing their searches using relevant indexing terms.
As FERN staff are largely based in Brussels, training took place using our remote desktop sharing system.
FERN’s sister project, Sinkswatch was developed in tandem with FERN, and although the two sites are independent of one another, they share a database backend. So content workers only have one system to log into to work on either site.

Web projects with Drupal

GreenNet’s current CMS of choice is Drupal. It is an open source system for developing websites and publishing content to them. A Drupal website has at its heart a database of the site’s content (articles, reports, profiles, events etc..). The system serves content from the database to the right pages of the site in the appropriate style, as they are called for by site users. Site authors can add, modify and manage their content in that database using simple private online forms.

The advantage of this system for GreenNet members is that their sites can be updated by anyone who has authorised access from any internet connected computer. All they need is an ordinary web browser such as Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Once they have mastered the simple art of filling in the Drupal forms, resources and...