Technology Services

Common Drupal Terminology


Content management software used widely in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, as well as the larger Duke University community.


Information (text, images, media, etc.) provided to site visitors.


A data element that stores a particular bit of information. Field types include text, image, file, date, and email, among others.

Content type

A collection of fields that describes a specific type of content. For example, an 'Event' content type might have the following fields:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Speaker
  • Start/End date
  • Contact
  • Contact email
  • Contact phone

A 'News' content type might include fields for:

  • Headline
  • Byline
  • Published date
  • Body
  • Image

A 'Basic page' might only have a Title field and a Body field.

Content editors use the available content types to create content. Editors do not create or manipulate content types, but a good understanding of the concept will facilitate discussions around functional enhancements.


A distinct piece of content that is created using (and thus modeled after) an existing content type. Nodes can be manually created by a content editor or via an import from an external source such as the Duke Events Calendar.


A view is a collection of nodes that match specified criteria. These criteria may be as simple as "all published nodes of a certain content type", but can take other filters into account such as dates, tags, and so on, depending on the fields available. These filters can be exposed to site visitors, allowing them to dynamically change which items are included in the view.

The way a view is displayed is configurable, both in terms of the format (e.g. slideshow or unordered list) and which fields are included. Content editors do not create or manipulate views, but should be familiar with the concept and the capabilities in order to facilitate discussions around functional enhancements.


A snippet of content which can be displayed on one or more pages throughout a site. A typical use case is contact information shown in the footer on every page. When modifying a block, the change affects every instance of that block.


A list of links that provides site visitors the means of navigating throughout the site. The 'Main menu' typically includes a link to every page throughout a site, organized in a hierarchical fashion. Depending on the content type, the content editor can provide a menu link to nodes created using that content type. Not all content types allow their nodes to be assigned to a menu, as these nodes will be accessed via a view. An example of this is the 'Event' content type: nodes of this type are not typically assigned to a menu, but are displayed in an 'Upcoming Events' view.


An assembly of one or more elements (a node, view, block, or menu) that are rendered together when a site visitor accesses one of your site's URLs (e.g., whether by direct input, from an external link or search result, or via one of the site's menus.


An area defined by the site's theme in which content (nodes, views, blocks, and menus) may be placed.


An individual's presence on a Drupal site, represented by an account, or 'user account'.

Anonymous user

A site visitor who is not logged in.


A set of permissions that defines what an individual is capable of doing when logged in to a Drupal site. Roles are assigned to users, thereby giving a user permission to edit content, for example. Roles can be assigned to multiple users, and users can have multiple roles.