Planets Testbed FAQ - General information

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General information FAQ

What is the purpose of the Planets Testbed?

The goal of the Planets Testbed is to gather as much experimental information as possible on the (functional and non-functional) performance of tools that could be used in digital preservation. Structured information acquired by experimenting with these tools, contained in Testbed results, will be added to the PA and PC tool registries. In order for this information to be of use to all Testbed partners and to the digital preservation community, Testbed evaluations will be institution independent and as objective as possible. Please notice that the question of which specific tool is the most useful for a specific institution/collection/policy will not be answered via the Testbed but through the planning tool Plato (see below).

Who is this release addressed to? Why should I use it?

This first Planets Release of the Testbed (following the Testbed Prototype, released at the end of September 2007 and only made available internally to the Testbed subproject) is addressed to the whole Planets consortium, and mostly focussed at the following types of users:

• researchers, who will have the possibility of executing simple migration and characterisation experiments on specific objects, and store their results on the Testbed database for further comparison;

• tool developers, who will have the possibility, once their tool is deployed as a Planets service, to test it on benchmark content.

This first release does not contain all the foreseen functionalities (see below), which will will be developed in the course of the project. This first version has already some services available to experiment on; this will give users a good opportunity to familiarise themselves with the look and feel of the Testbed, and give input for its development as well as for the planning of future experiments, tasks for which user comments will be essential.

How are experiments executed?

Experiment execution will follow the Testbed six-step experiment process, which consists of the following steps, as illustrated in the diagram below (taken from []):

• Define basic properties of the experiment (name, type, …)

• Design Experiment (choose benchmark content and tools)

• Specify Evaluation criteria (in terms of the object properties to consider)

• Experiment Approval (automatic in this release)

• Run Experiment

• Evaluate Experiment

All steps are described in more detail in the accompanying documentation .

How does the Testbed depend on the Interoperability Framework?

A document on the dependencies of the Testbed on the Interoperability Framework is being written by Testbed developers, and it will be available soon. A first outline of the dependencies is however present in the documentation of this release.

What are the differences between the PLATO tool and the Testbed?

Both the Planets Testbed and the Preservation Planning tool Plato (developed by the Planets workpackage PP/4) have a common origin in the DELOS and Dutch Testbeds [planetssuite:add reference], which accounts for the resemblances that can be found in parts of their functionalities.

The two applications have however evolved in a different and complementary way (diverged in a complementary way):

  • the Plato tool performs evaluation guided by a given institution’s policies and strategies, and answers questions of the following kind:

• Is this tool the most convenient one given the personnel constraints of my institution?

• Does the usage of this tool for conversion of my content match my institution’s policies?

  • the Testbed only allows “objective” experiments, aimed at answering questions that are independent of institutional considerations and exclusively related to the intellectual properties of the digital objects, like

• Is line spacing better preserved by this tool or this other one?

• How does the performance of this tool scale with the object size or with the number of objects?

Please see also a more detailed [example\|planetssuite:PlanetsTestbed/Documentation/faq/GenInfo/Example|] .

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