What are the Community Media modules?
The modules often used by Community Media organizations have been included in 3 "STARTER KITS". These are not designed to be the only modules used, but simply make it easier to get started with Drupal based on the what has worked and what hasn't for other organizations.
- Easy Starter Kit - Designed to be a WordPress alternative with some basic community features that would require a producer to have a username, password, and log in. Crew Connect and Printable Show Contract can save staff time and connect membership without investing too much staff time in learning the more technical parts of Drupal.
- Moderate Starter Kit - This adds CiviCRM and Media to the what's included in the Easy kit. This is for organization ready to manage memberships, event registration, and video on demand. While complicated, both Media and CiviCRM are very well documented. At the moderate level, users start to do more customizations to their site and being to manage changes using Features.
- Difficult Starter Kit - This is the collection of modules the largest community media groups share. There is very little documentation for these modules. Much of the difficult kit requires someone with Drupal and CiviCRM experience to configure. There are many elements of the difficult kit that stations use at the moderate level like the Reservations API, Single Sign On with Bakery, VOD Feeds, and more advanced playback server integration. The reason for defining these at the difficult level is these are MUCH easier to configure AFTER mastering the moderate. The moderate kit is also less overwhelming if you are selective about what you add and roll new features out to your producers after testing them. Reservations is MUCH easier to configure AFTER you've already rolled accounts out to your producers, have certification groups configured in CiviCRM, and understand permissions, content types, and Views.
Each Kit includes all of the modules required by any module included so the entire install can be done after a single download, but NONE OF THE CONFIGURATION is done for you. The modules are broken up into an Easy, Moderate, and Difficult downloads. We intentionally used those terms over beginner, moderate, and advanced. While many people wouldn't identify themselves a beginner, only people who really know what they are getting into are likely to go the difficult route.
All of the starter kits include the Community Media Checklist which is great starting point.
The Difficult Kit includes the Community Media Examples module. The Examples module is an export of configurations made at a number of stations including channelAustin, PhillyCAM, BNN, MNN and AccessVision.
These organizations are all different sizes serving producer communities with varying degrees of comfort with technology. While they all use many of the same modules, the configurations are very different. While the Community Media Examples module is a great way to learn what other stations have done, trying to start a site with every module another site added over a number years of years can be VERY difficult. Even if you are already familiar with Drupal, using Difficult Start Kits with the Community Media Examples module is designed to be teaching tool... NOT a site building tool.
Before You Begin
Before downloading the Starter Kits and getting your hands dirty in Drupal, it is helpful to define some basic system requirements for your site. Here are some questions that only you can answer about your site needs.
Who will be using this site and what will they be doing here?
This question helps to define the user roles and permissions on your site. The modules bundled in these kits can be installed with varying degrees of access such that community media organizations can create workflows that match their mission, staff capacity and community needs. For instance a site administrator may create distinct roles for staff, interns, equipment members, organizational members, youth media members, interns all of whom have different levels of access to the features in these CM_Starter_Kits.
What kind of content will people be creating on the site?
Drupal enables custom content types to be created to meet specific site needs. A number of these content types/entities such as Airings (an integration with playback server) come as part of the Kits. Other content types are defined by the site administrator. Do you want people to blog on the site? Can these blog posts include photos or videos? Can people add calendar events? Can they submit to your community bulletin board? Some of these requests are not explicitly part of the Kits. Defining these needs at the outset (as much as possible) can help to make the task of site configuration easier. Note: These kits are evolving! Your experiences with these tools can help further define the project.
What's our Organization's Workflow?
Do you envision the Starter Kits to transform what you do as a community media organization? Or, are you seeking ways to replace paperwork with electronic forms? Clearly, Drupal offers almost limitless customization and configuration. But look in the mirror - ask yourself what your station needs and what are they capable of.
Now, off to the races!