Museum website gets a “makeover”

Major revisions bring order and searchability to www.ucmp.berkeley.edu

A visitor walking through UCMP’s offices or collections on July 20, 2000 would have thought it was business as usual. But the Museum was in fact undergoing a major “facelift"—not physically but virtually.
UCMP is primarily a research museum, with restricted access and only a limited number of public exhibits. Still, millions of people around the world regularly explore the Museum’s collections and learn about science and paleontology via UCMP’s award-winning website.
Since its beginnings in 1993, the site has grown to include more than 3,000 pages. As one might imagine, it is difficult to keep organized and up-to-date. Late in 1999, a team of UCMP staff and graduate students began discussions on how to reorganize the upper level pages of the site in an effort to (1) improve navigation and (2) group topics for easy access. The team consisted of Judy Scotchmoor, Director of Education and Public Programs; Colleen Whitney, Webmaster; David Smith, Graphics Assistant; and postdoctoral researchers (and early UCMP web pioneers) Rob Guralnick and Allen Collins. It took about nine months of meetings, page modification and/or construction, and evaluations before the new “look” was finally unveiled July 20.
Besides finding a completely redesigned home page, visitors to http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/ will note that the site has been organized into five major sections. Many will also be pleased to see the much-needed addition of a search engine.
About UCMP” is a description of the museum’s people and activities. It includes contact information and a directory of museum personnel, as well as information about research and publications, graduate and undergraduate programs, activities for the public, teacher resources and more.
What’s New” includes upcoming museum events, an on-line version of the museum’s

  New UCMP home page
UCMP’s new home page groups information into five main sections and, with the addition of a search engine, visitors can now locate pages on specific topics more easily.

newsletter, top stories and a listing of the latest web pages to be added to the site.
Discover the History of Life” provides access to UCMP’s extensive on-line exhibits and information about educational programs.
A trip to “Collections” rewards visitors with information on the museum’s physical holdings as well as searchable databases.
Other Resources” is a modernized and streamlined version of the former “Subway” section, which provides links to other natural history-related sites on the Internet.
The “new” site was launched with little fanfare but has received positive reviews. The changes should help visitors find the information they’re after faster and more efficiently.

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October, 2000