Frankly Anticipated Questions

What's all this, then?

This is the draft of the new MPIA webpages. The pages utilize the content management system developed for the Max Planck Society and its institutes. The English pages are now nearly complete (exceptions: internal pages, event management, some news/press release items), and we would welcome your feedback.

What am I supposed to do, then?

Please browse the site as it is now in order to get an idea of its structure and its look-and-feel, and give us feedback at

We would also welcome feedback on the question of which 3-4 MPIA pages you, as MPIA staff, use most frequently. We'd like to make sure the most widely used pages are most easily accessible.

Why the change?

Some of the reasons:

  • We'd like to organize MPIA pages more along the lines of subsidiarity. Selected staff members will be responsible for selected web pages, including the responsibility to keep those web pages current. These staff members will get direct access to a (fairly straightforward) back-end that will allow them to make changes and updates. This is only possible via a content management system
  • We'll take the opportunity to streamline the MPIA pages somewhat. They've grown organically for a number of years now, and it's a good opportunity to take a step back and see if we can improve the structure. Our goal is to have all pages that are accessed frequently reachable by ≤ 2 clicks.
  • We hope to ease the workload of many of our colleagues by clever automatization, which is included in the new CMS. This includes keeping track of publications, creating automatic publication lists, and keeping track of staff data. In the new system, managing these will be simpler than before.
  • We hope to make use of new features, such as creating multimedia galleries.

How does this affect me, my personal pages, my group pages?

The current plan, based on discussions with all the research group leaders, is to eventually include research group pages (below the department level) within the CMS. This will not be implemented in the first core version, though, but at a later date. Personal web pages will have to remain outside the CMS, just as they are now.

What's new is that for each staff member, we will have a profile page. You can access examples by going to the staff list and clicking on any name. The profile page will include a link to any personal MPIA web page you might have; you can also include your research interests, and we hope to be able to automatically include links to your publications. Eventually, we also hope to have portrait pictures of many of you included (although that remains, of course, a personal choice). Each staff member will get access to their own profile page, including some choices on which data to exclude from public view, via an "employee editor" that is part of the CMS.

What's the time frame?

As we collect your feedback, we will start producing the German pages, and also to give some of you direct editorial access to the content management system.

The go-live for the core system (excluding group pages, and re-using some pages from the old website) is planned for summer 2014.

Once that is done, we will gradually complete all remaining tasks (in particular, adding the group pages to the system).

We will use the opportunity to review and update content. Group and department leaders will be contacted at this stage to coordinate suggested changes in content, and for a dialogue about how their units can be served best by the new pages. Training of future editors for different parts of the website will resume at this stage, as well.

At a later date, there are bound to be more powerful and versatile Internal Pages (possibly like a whole internal web site). But that is in the future, and the technical foundations do not yet exist within the MPG CMS.

What is the basic layout?

The header section, including the "News | The institute | ..." menu, will remain the same on every web page within the CMS.

A subsection-specific menu on the left-hand side will help with navigating specific subsections. For example, take a look at the GC or PSF sections: All the sub-pages such as staff, research groups, instrumentation &c. are accessible via the menu on the left.

Can I/we change...?

That, as they say, depends.

The reason we're collecting feedback is to take as many of your request aboard as possible.

Some things we cannot change, or at least not right away. That is part of working within a system designed by the MPG. For instance, the design of the staff list is currently rather rigidly defined. We cannot just juggle positions for e-mail and phone number, say, or include additional information at our leisure (although more flexibility is promised in the future).

Some known restrictions are covered in the next question. But overall, the system is rather flexible, and allows us to implement most of what we want.

One thing we will not do: We will not customize the layout for specific pages included in the CMS. One purpose of a CMS is to provide a common framework for all the pages included in it. So please, do not try to program your own font colors, implement custom table styles or similar. Please work within the system.

What we cannot (yet) do, but would like to

On the staff pages, the only aditional text that can be added is "research interest" and "biography". We would like to include a more general "Tasks", so technical and service staff will be able to add their special interests and tasks, as well.

We'd like to add department-specific job listings to the department pages. Not currently possible.

Will the URLs change?

Yes, they will. The current URLs of the shape<SOMETHING>

will be replaced by different versions - e.g. 

might become

So yes, whoever has linked to our regular institute pages (those with the blue menu column on the left) will need to change that link. Links that were not part of our institute web design, such as or, and anything in the or hierarchy will remain unchanged.

Most of the URLs on this construction site are preliminary (namely everything with a long number in between, such as

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