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Objective: The Europe-China Academic Network has the overall objective of fostering closer cooperation between scattered European research institutions within the field of Contemporary China Studies, in order to help define the European Commission's cooperation strategy and future policy with regard to China. This is to be achieved by meetings, seminars and, most inportantly a website that will enable and encourage intellectual exchange and dialogue.

Website Needs: The website needs to have a public face and a private area for confidential discussion and development of papers and policy. The website must be highly interactive and allow managed input from ECAN members.

Implementation: We needed a quick solution to the requirements and we chose Drupal 4.7, CiviCrm 1.4 and CivicNode. We considered Civic Space, but felt it hadn't caught up with the new version of Drupal. We had previously used Drupal successfully and were interested in CiviCrm, as it seemed to meet our needs and have useful features outside the brief we were given, but the clients would appreciate. We did encounter some problems:

  • Drupal 4.7 was a new release and many modules were not avaliable, others needed significant editing.
  • CiviCrm had too many features and our unfamiliarity caused some confusion. In particular, the search results form had too many fields in it and stretched the page - ideally a list of names linked to profiles would have sufficed and secondly that the Profile had many extraneous features and fields.
  • We felt that documentation and troubleshooting information on CiviCrm was difficult to find.

We would like to thank Donald Lobo and the civicrm-dev mailing list for their extremely fast and helpful responses to our queries.

Conclusion: CiviCrm is a very powerful database. If you want it to do what it does out of the box, then it is excellent. We have had trouble in getting dynamic listings generated and would like to see this feature in the next build.

 Europe China Academic Network

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