Portfolio: UNSW Research Gateway


Complete Drupal site development and deployment.

UNSW Research Gateway

The UNSW Office of the DVCR (Deputy-Vice-Chancellor for Research) is a part of the University executive, and it's responsible for the management and promotion of all research activities within the University. Digital Eskimo was contracted by the DVCR, to help realise an extremely ambitious undertaking: for the first time, to build a web site that would serve as a central source of all information relating to research at UNSW. The result is the UNSW Research Gateway. The site is built with Drupal, and as an employee of DE, I was the lead developer for the project. As such, I built most of the front- and back-end features of the site.

Prior to the launch of Research Gateway, information about various research projects and research personnel was spread over more than 500 small web sites, most of them independently built and maintained by the University's many labs, units, and schools. As such, before even initial design or prototyping could begin, Digital Eskimo was charged with exploring and mapping out the existing information architecture, and with developing a plan for how such a large and disjointed pool of resources could be consolidated into a single web site.

The key feature of the Research Gateway site, is a directory of all projects and of all people currently active within the umbrella of UNSW Research. There are also directories for events, key dates, and facilities. All of these directories are implemented as search pages, powered by Apache Solr. The site also features a complex workflow system, which sends notifications and controls access to enable a three-level review and approval workflow. On the back-end, project and personnel data is synchronised with the University's central databases, using a series of import and migration scripts that are run at regular intervals.