Embl.org: The great migration – EMBL Communications

EMBL Communications

Informing, inspiring, and engaging society with EMBL’s research, services and training

Embl.org: The great migration

June 2021 was a time of great change for EMBL websites. 

With the help of dozens of members of staff and students across the organisation, the embl.org team migrated hundreds of pages of web content to embl.org, publishing 110 websites for EMBL research groups in the process. The team fixed bugs, checked links, and redirected users from the older versions of our websites to the new, updated content on embl.org. 

EMBL’s web presence has now shifted decisively from our existing domains (embl.de, embl-hamburg.de, embl.es, embl.fr, and embl.it) to embl.org.

Thank you to all who worked with the project team to ensure that content was finalised, signed off, and published on time to meet our Summer Council meeting deadline. 



an instance of redirecting something from one address to another, such as an email or a URL for a web page.

“when you’re in Australia entering google.com into your browser will usually result in a redirect to google.com.au”

“entering embl.de/research into your browser will result in a redirect to embl.org/research”

A closer look

You may have noticed that embl.org has grown substantially since last month. 

All research groups across all sites are now using WordPress. Each group can now assign editors to access, update and publish content directly to embl.org. 

This removes the bottleneck of having to request edits from the Communications team. In addition, publishing on WordPress is instantaneous. Gone is the one-hour wait to see the page updated in Fiona. This is our first major implementation of the embl.org strategy of Distributed Publishing; we are empowering those who know their content best to edit and publish it themselves. 

For several sections of embl.org, the content migration is complete. These include the Research, Training, Events and Jobs sections; content specific to EMBL’s Barcelona, Grenoble, and Rome locations (such as contact and accommodation pages); and Administration

Heidelberg IT continues to mature the Business Enterprise Data system, which will help us to iterate on the people, publications and members pages on embl.org. Expect new features down the line.

In addition, the Visual Framework – a codebase for the look and feel of the entire embl.org website – is maturing, with countless bug fixes, updates to existing components and plans for new features in the pipeline. Take a look. The Visual Framework is versatile tooling to create a more cohesive One EMBL and is shared across EMBL.org projects, including www.EBI.ac.uk/training and COVID19DataPortal.org and soon all of www.EBI.ac.uk.

The end of the beginning?

As with any Great Migration, there are a few stragglers.  

Teams in Rome, Hamburg and Heidelberg are currently reviewing their site-specific “Services” sections. The embl.org project team is working on the Scientific Services section, and consulting with group leaders to make it fit EMBL’s needs. 

You can now search for alumni on embl.org. An Alumni microsite will follow shortly. And the publication of the “Support EMBL” microsite for the Office of Resource Development further enlarges the About section. Work on the Science and Society and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion microsites is under way to finalise the section. 

A shift of focus to the intranet project

With much of the public content from our existing websites now on embl.org, the project team (members of the Digital team, EBI WebDev, and Hamburg and Heidelberg IT units) will now shift their focus to provide an easy-to-use and reliable intranet solution in WordPress.  

We have already trained dozens of people on WordPress editing tools, and continue to host training sessions to provide ongoing guidance. Together these new editors have published 140 pages (and counting!) of information specific to EMBL staff and students on our intranet prototype in WordPress. We have also provided intranet-specific training materials to help editors get started.

Embl.org is live, but incomplete. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders across the organisation to improve EMBL’s web presence, monitoring content, adding visual refinements, and fine-tuning navigation, for instance.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience. Watch this space.