Plato is a preservation-planning tool for organisations charged with safeguarding digital materials. The software guides users through a process of defining requirements, evaluating potential processes, and using the results to facilitate decision-making in the creation of a final preservation plan.
Open Planets Foundation
Licensing and cost
Apache version 2.0 – free
Platform and interoperability
Plato is a web-based application, and as such should be platform agnostic. The software was tested on Windows and Linux, and guarantees compatibility with Firefox 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5. Other successfully tested browsers include Opera, Konqueror version 3.5.8, Internet Explorer 7.0, Google Chrome, and Safari; a few of these browsers induced minor layout problems. Plato does not recommend using Konqueror versions newer than 3.5.8 or version 6.0 of Internet Explorer. The software integrates JHOVE, FITS, and DROID, and will interface with ePrints. Policy trees are created using the Freemind application.
The planning process involves four stages: Define requirements; Evaluate Alternatives; Consider Results; and Build Preservation Plan. For evaluating alternatives, Plato integrates services for content characterisation, preservation action and automatic object comparison; this allows users to test various technological strategies and consider whether the results are consistent with the overall preservation goal. Users can upload sample object sets of up to 200MB on which to perform the tests. The project has also developed an extensible measurement framework to connect decision criteria to measurable properties and metrics. Alternately, the user can follow a three-step, fast track evaluation workflow that begins with a few basic assumptions and quickly evaluates potential solutions. Version 4 added MyExperiment integration and the ability to share preservation plans with a group of users.
Documentation and user support
The system has a straightforward graphical user interface. The workflow is quite involved, however, and so users wishing to fully utilise the software should allocate significant time to the process.
Users should be knowledgeable about the organisation, its mission and designated community, and the kinds of digital materials they are likely to collect.
Plato is intended to help organisations become OAIS-compliant, helping them aim for certifications such as TRAC-compliance. The software uses a P2 Semantic Web Registry. The preservation plan itself is executable in XML.
Influence and take-up
No statistics are available for specific use; however, the tool has been used by prominent institutions such as the British Library, the State and University Library of Denmark, and the Austrian National Library, as shown in the case studies. Plato was shortlisted for the 2010 DPC (Digital Preservation Coalition) Digital Preservation Award; the PLANETS project, which originally developed PLATO, won the 2012 DPC Award for Research and Innovation.
Plato 4.2 was released in June 2013. The source code is available from GitHub. Plato was orinigally developed within the Planets EC-funded project, and forms part of the Planets Suite of tools. It is currently being developed as a part of the SCAPE project, which runs between February 2011 and July 2014. SCAPE is building on Plato for its automated planning component.
Below the last 3 release feeds: Failed to load RSS feed from https://github.com/openplanets/plato/releases.atom: Error parsing XML for RSS
Below the last 5 commits: Failed to load RSS feed from https://github.com/openplanets/plato/commits/master.atom: Error parsing XML for RSS