UCL Information Services Division



We are now in the final year of a four-year project to replace the end-of-life Silva Content Management System with a more robust, flexible and scalable product built in Drupal which is tailored to UCL needs.


  • Faster, more intuitive interface for web editors, greatly reducing the time spent on website editing and support
  • Improved technical performance, faster page load times and a more robust failover solution to ensure website continuity
  • Immediate benefits in terms of increased website traffic as the information is properly structured for search engines
  • The CMS project presents an opportunity to introduce standards around website building and content management ensuring a coherent and compelling web presence for UCL


"Drupal is a great CMS to use – a huge improvement on Silva. Updating our sites is quick, intuitive and easy, and edits take only seconds to make.Drupal’s range of content types, functionalities and features really allows us to show off our high-quality web content. It has also, importantly, made our website more accessible.

For the Institute of Ophthalmology site, the migration process worked very smoothly; it was easy to make changes to the site once it had been migrated.As we’ve been Drupal users for over a year now, we’ve also been really pleased with how Digital Presence have supported us and made ongoing enhancements to the CMS; for example, the draft and moderation functions."

Kate Faxen and Therese Johns, Faculty of Brain Sciences

"Our migration to Drupal was so straight forward and easier than I had anticipated. When my checklist arrived from the Drupal migration team I completed it all that afternoon, with some hand holding from the support team. Drupal and its simplicity has allowed me to be doing minor updates as and when needed, without disrupting the work day. The training the migration team provided was really helpful and we fixed a few things there and then together! Launch day was definitely a highlight here in our office!"

Sarah Major, Transforming our Professional Services Programme

Moving all Silva sites to Drupal

Since October 2017, Digital Presence has started to migrate the rest of UCL's Silva sites to Drupal. The Digital Presence team will use the policy on prioritising web projects to plan development and migration. The readiness of editors to move is also an important factor:

Our Migration Team will be in touch to schedule the migration window so please wait to hear from them. 

We have designed a migration process which is aimed to standardise and streamline the migration approach where possible.

  • The automated scripts that migrate content from Silva to Drupal ensure that most content is brought over to the new CMS with no issues. Editors are asked to set aside some time for checking the content, creating new landing pages and carrying out any fixes before the site goes live in Drupal.
  • There is no downtime for the website; editors work on a copy of the site in Drupal until it’s ready to go live and the switchover from the Silva site to Drupal is instant
  • All URLs will be maintained via Drupal’s link management functionality
  • Training as well as online self-help documentation are provided at the point at which the site is migrated so editors can be supported with managing their own content in the new system
  • A dedicated Migration Team will support editors with fixes and with getting the most from the new system

Full details of the migration process and what web editors need to do are on the Drupal migrations page:

Service transition

We plan to decommission Silva in summer 2018, with migration funding ending in July 2018. Digital Presence will be scaling back the technical support and training for Silva from January 2018 as we increasingly shift our focus towards the Drupal service which has been developed in collaboration with departmental users. This means we are no longer going to be developing new websites or functionality in Silva.

If you wish to move to Indigo so your site works on all devices, please visit our Indigo page to find out more about the benefits of Indigo and book your move:

Indigo Silva

Drupal features and FAQs

Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions. Full details of Drupal functionality and our feature roadmap are on the features page:

Drupal features

Will there be training for Drupal?
I have a non-standard site, will my site look different when we move to Drupal?
Can we have our own installation of Drupal and then merge it with ISD's version?
If we have a Drupal expert in our department, can they work with you to improve our website?
In terms of search, will Drupal be an improvement?
Can we have search on an individual site?
What features will be available in Drupal?
Will there be a cost in moving to Drupal?
When will Silva be decommisioned?