The Icelandic Institute of Natural History

Government agency
CMS solution
Drupal, Elasticsearch

The Icelandic Institute of Natural History (NÍ), an agency of the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate is responsible for research and monitoring of the natural environment in Iceland. The website underwent a seamless upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, with a fresh design and enhanced search functionality to make the information more accessible.

Meet the client

Who is NÍ?

The Icelandic Institute of Natural History (NÍ) is an agency of the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate, it is responsible for a broad range of research and monitoring activities related to the study and preservation of Iceland's natural environment. Its primary focus lies in conducting research in the fields of zoology, botany, and geology. This involves documenting and categorising the country's biota and maintaining the information in comprehensive scientific databases. 

A significant part of the work of NÍ revolves around monitoring and assessing the conservation value of natural sites, species, habitat types, and geological formations and offering guidance on responsible resource use. They also play a role in publishing red lists, documenting natural phenomena, and maintaining Iceland's Nature Conservation Register.

Screenshot of the Ní website homepage
The challenge

What problem was the client facing?

The existing NÍ system, built on Drupal 7, had become outdated and was in need of upgrading to integrate modern features and functionalities. The design required updating to make the site mobile-friendly and accessible.

One of the major features of the NÍ site is the extensive Biota data; the comprehensive databases of scientific research that categorise and monitor all organisms in Iceland. The handling and search capabilities of this valuable data needed improvement to make the information more accessible to users. An overhaul of the search functionality was required in order to make these valuable information resources more readily available and to improve the overall user experience.

The solution

How could we help?

The 1xINTERNET design team created a fresh modern design based on the former website with an improved navigation for better user experience. We upgraded the system to a new Drupal 9 environment, migrating content from the old Drupal 7 site and restructuring to improve accessibility. The new website is faster, more responsive and accessible on mobile devices.

The most important feature of the website is the enhanced search functionality implemented with ElasticSearch. The BIOTA search allows users to filter search criteria by animal kingdom, plant, fungi and all geographical information about protected sites in Iceland. A vast amount of important scientific data from multiple databases has been made more accessible to users. 

We also greatly improved the editorial experience in the new Drupal environment, streamlining manual editorial work and providing the NÍ team with a seamless content updating and maintenance process. We also made notable advancements to the translation feature of the core module, simplifying the overall translation process.

On-site search functionality on the Ní website

Main features of the project

Accessible Design Update

The enhanced design is accessible across devices, ensuring optimal user experience for desktop and mobile users alike. Improved menu and navigation for an intuitive user experience.

Drupal 9 Upgrade

Outdated Drupal 7 environment upgraded to the latest Drupal 9 version. This upgrade provided NÍ with a robust and secure CMS, offering improved performance, flexibility, and scalability.

Enhanced Search Functionality with ElasticSearch

We implemented Elastic search as a powerful and efficient search solution from the BIOTA database. This integration allowed users to access relevant information more effectively, while also integrating external data sources to enrich search results.

Improved Editorial Experience

Significant enhancements to the editor experience to streamline content management. The new Drupal environment provided an intuitive interface and simplified workflows.

Streamlined Translation Process

A simplified translation process by leveraging core modules, making it easier for the NÍ to manage multilingual content. This enhancement enabled seamless translations and improved the overall efficiency of maintaining the website's multilingual aspects.

From the client

“It’s important to us that our website is user-friendly and accessible. NÍ's experts share their knowledge about Iceland's nature and it is important that the website is reliable and the environment up-to-date and secure”. 

Anna Sveinsdóttir, Department Director Scientific collections and outreach, NÍ

Portrait of Anna Sveinsdóttir

Why was Drupal a good fit for this project?

NÍ selected Drupal due to its foundation on open-source software and its ability to integrate with other systems. Given the client’s positive experience with Drupal and satisfaction with the service provider, it was a natural decision to continue with Drupal and upgrade to the latest version for enhanced functionality.

Drupal's flexible architecture enables seamless integration with ElasticSearch. This integration facilitated efficient handling and retrieval of the extensive Biota data, providing users with an enhanced search experience. Drupal's ability to handle structured data and integrate with external data sources made it an ideal choice for managing the Ní's scientific research and categorization needs.

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