Bókmenntaborgin - Decoupled CMS solution

Government agency
CMS solution
Drupal, Elasticsearch, React

UNESCO designated Reykjavik a City of Literature in 2011. The City of Reykjavik maintains a website that highlights cultural events and provides users with information about contemporary Icelandic authors and their literary works. The old system operated on Drupal 7 significantly limited the potential of the website to grow. The main goal of the project was to upgrade the system to the latest technology, to create a modern look with an enhanced user and editorial experience for the new website.

What is Bókmenntaborgin?

Bókmenntaborgin is a platform maintained by the City of Reykjavik in collaboration with the Reykjavik City Library. In 2011, UNESCO designated Reykjavik a City of Literature, making it the fifth city in the world to receive this prestigious status. Today, 43 cities around the world have become Cities of Literature.

The Bókmenntaborgin website was created to highlight the cultural value that Reykjavik holds not just for the city itself, but for the whole country. The website includes a section called "The Literature Web," which provides a wealth of information about Icelandic authors and their work.

What problem was the client facing?

The old website, which had been operating on Drupal 7 for more than a decade, required an upgrade to the latest version of Drupal. The outdated system couldn't support the latest technologies and therefore significantly limited the potential of the website to grow. The main goal was to rebuild the platform using the new technologies, giving it a modern look, and simplifying the editorial experience.

How could we help?

The main goal was to create a decoupled CMS solution for Bókmenntaborgin, using Drupal 9 for the backend and React for the frontend. This project has been developed in collaboration with Hugsmiðjan, an Icelandic digital agency that designed and implemented the first version of the frontend. 

The backend was built in Drupal 9 using the 1xCMS system, incorporating both GraphQL and ElasticSearch. GraphQL is an API query language that enables users to access specific data, such as menus, content, and structure. The frontend retrieves data from both ElasticSearch and GraphQL.

A substantial volume of data was migrated to the new website, including data related to authors, books, news, and reviews. Additionally, some content was created directly on the new site. The priority was to maintain the existing content structure while simplifying the editorial process as much as possible.

Using the 1xCMS system as the backend for the new website enabled editors to work with a more straightforward system for content creation and editing. We developed a dynamic platform with a strong focus on user experience.

Main features of the project

Drupal Migration

Different types of content, such as authors, books, news, and reviews, were migrated from the previous Drupal 7 site to the new Drupal 9 platform.

Decoupled CMS

The solution is fully decoupled, featuring a headless Drupal 9 backend and a React frontend. The backend integrates GraphQL and ElasticSearch.


The platform is available in two languages, Icelandic and English.


The SolR search on the old website was replaced with ElasticSearch, resulting in a faster and smoother search experience.

Intuitive UX design

User experience became seamless and intuitive. The new platform has a fresh look and supports all modern technologies.

Enhanced editorial experience

1xCMS solution streamlined content creation and simplified editorial workflow for increased efficiency.

Why was Drupal a good fit for this project? 

The client was already using Drupal and was happy with this technology. Drupal is a reliable and widely used open-source platform in the public sector. As there is no vendor lock-in, clients can easily choose which agencies to work with. Drupal is highly scalable which could benefit Bókmenntaborgin for ongoing development. All of the main websites maintained by the City of Reykjavik (Reykjavíkurborg) are running on Drupal.

Drupal logo

Our cooperation with the client

1xINTERNET has worked on numerous projects for the the City of Reykjavik in the past and together we have built many successful projects. Read two of our case studies below about the social intranet we built for the City of Reykjavik and the visitreykjavik.is website, where visitors can access information about the city’s attractions, local events, and much more.

Social intranet

City of Reykjavík - Social Intranet

1x Case Study Teaser City Reykjavik

The City of Reykjavík has over 9000 employees in different public sectors like schools, kindergartens and public government institutions. The old...