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It's no dinosaur--ECM evolves!

Established more than 250 years ago, the Natural History Museum in London is the United Kingdom's national museum of nature. Its long heritage has been devoted to maintaining and developing a range of collections to help promote discovery, responsible use, understanding and enjoyment of the natural world.

As a center of scientific excellence in taxonomy and biodiversity, the museum welcomes new information technology to help reach its goals. It was the first major U.K. museum to go online, launching its first Web site in July 1994. In March 2004, the Web site drew more than 700,000 unique visitors, as a testament to its popularity.

Recently the museum saw the need to replace its existing content management system, because staff wanted more efficient and flexible content reuse and life cycle management, including workflow processes for content approval and publication scheduling. As a content-rich organization, the museum sought a better way of interpreting and conveying content to a wider audience.

"There were already over 60 museum staff accessing and developing content for the Web site, and we wanted to expand this to over 100 staff," says Mike Lowndes, interactive media manager at the Natural History Museum. "We wanted to devolve ownership of content from the central team to more museum staff, while continuing to maintain the consistency of the site's design and brand. We recognized that we needed to move on from a first-generation content management system to a standards-based solution that offered more robust templating capabilities and greater out-of-the-box functionality."

After reviewing various options, the Natural History Museum selected Percussion Software's Rhythmyx 5 enterprise solution. According to Percussion, the system was chosen because of its ease of use, efficient content reuse, support for multilingual Web sites and predictable licensing model for multichannel delivery.

The solution will be used to redevelop and expand the museum's Web site, and to roll out a cross-channel delivery program, with the initial channels being an intranet for museum staff and several kiosks positioned throughout the building, for use by museum visitors. By reusing content, the museum will deliver information via multiple channels more efficiently to a wider audience and maximize the value of its rich content, Percussion says.

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