What is Plato?

What is Plato?

The planning tool Plato is a decision support tool that implements a solid preservation planning process and integrates services for content characterisation, preservation action and automatic object comparison in a service-oriented architecture to provide maximum support for preservation planning endeavours.
The software is licensed under Apache version 2.0 or later.

Plato 1 was released in November 2007. Since then we have been working on extending the functionality and concepts of Plato. Since February 2011, Plato is a part of the new FP7 project SCAPE.

History of Plato

May 2015: Highly Commended Paper of 2014

We are happy to announce that our paper Scalable Decision Support for Digital Preservation was selected as a Highly Commended Paper of 214

September 2014: Best Demonstration at Digital Libraries 2014

The SCAPE PW Lifecycle

We are happy to announce that The SCAPE preservation lifecycle was awarded Best Demonstration at Digital Libraries 2014.

September 2014: SCAPE Workshop at Digital Libraries 2014

SCAPE logo

In addition to the Demo at Digital Libraries 2014, Plato is part of the workshop Digital Preservation Sustainability On The EU Policy Level jointly organised by APARSEN and SCAPE. The workshop takes place in connection with Digital Libraries 2014 on 8th September 2014 in London.

The main objective of the workshop is to provide an overview of solutions to challenges within Digital Preservation Sustainability developed by current and past Digital Preservation research projects. The event brings together various EU projects/initiatives to present their solutions and approaches, and to find synergies between them. A special focus will lie on SCAPE (Scalable Preservation Environments), which will have its final project presentation at this event.

To register and for further information visit the registration page. It is not necessary to register for the DL2014 conference in order to attend. The workshop is free of charge.

September 2014: Plato at Digital Libraries 2014

DL 2014 logo

Plato will be presented as part of the SCAPE Digital Preservation Lifecycle at Digital Libraries 2014, the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries and the Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries Conference series. The event will be held on September 8th-12th 2014 in London.

The conference marks the 18th event in the TPDL conference series, and the 14th of JCDL. The health and vigour of both communities will be combined in this year's joint programme.

Whatever your interests in the broadly interpreted domain of digital libraries: user research, system architectures, collection policies, or specialist domains such as digital humanities, preservation or scholarship, we look forward to your submission of new research and your attendance in September 2014.

For further information check out Digital Libraries 2014, to register visit the City's registration page.

June 2014: Digital Preservation Lifecycle Tutorial

ELPUB 2014 logo

Plato will be part of the tutorial Digital Preservation Lifecycle: from challenges to solutions at the 18th International Conference on Electronic Publishing on June 18, 2014 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

This tutorial will consist of two parts, providing first an introduction to digital preservation, followed by an in-depth discussion of the preservation life cycle and tool support to manage it.

For further information check out Tutorial: Digital Preservation Lifecycle: from challenges to solutions.

March 2014: Plato 4.4 released

We are pleased to announce the release of Plato 4.4, including:

  • Read-only mode for public plans
  • Integration of Components
  • Execution of characterisation and quality assurance components
  • Generation of preservation action plan templates including migration components
  • Deployment of plans using Plan Management API
  • Creation of monitoring conditions (Quality Level Descriptions and triggers for Scout)

November 2013: Plato at the SCAPE Training event

SCAPE logo

Participants of the SCAPE training event in Aarhus, Denmark had the chance to get some hands-on experience with Plato and other parts of the SCAPE preservation lifecycle under the guidance of Plato and SCAPE developers. The event was held from November 13th to November 14th 2013.

This two-day event will guide delegates through the steps of the SCAPE Preservation Planning and Watch lifecycle. It will begin with an introduction to the SCAPE Planning and Watch ecosystem, its components and how they support the full lifecycle of digital objects.

September 2013: Plato at iPRES 2013

iPres 2013 logo

Plato was demonstrated at iPRES 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal as part of Demonstration D2 The SCAPE Planning and Watch suite showing the preservation lifecycle with integration to C3PO, Scout and RODA.

Further the underlying vocabularies needed for integrating these systems were presented in the paper Open Preservation Data: Controlled vocabularies and ontologies for preservation ecosystems.

June 2013: Plato 4.2

We are pleased to announce the release of Plato 4.2, including:

  • Better policy integration
  • Improved selection of alternatives
  • Improved tree views
  • Initial MyExperiment migration service allows passing parameters

For further details check the Github milestone.

February 2013: Plato 4.1

After final preparations Plato 4.1 is released, including:

  • Improved performance and usability
  • First integration of MyExperiment: Lookup properly tagged migration services
  • Specify your organisation's objectives once and use them for all your plans
  • New user management: Share your plans with your group
  • Use the Knowledge Browser to analyse the impact of decision criteria in other plans

January 2013: Plato 4

After final preparations Plato 4 will be available soon, including:

  • Improved performance and usability
  • First integration of MyExperiment: Lookup properly tagged migration services
  • Specify your organisation's objectives once and use them for all your plans
  • New user management: Share your plans with your group
  • Use the Knowledge Browser to analyse the impact of decision criteria in other plans

September 2012: Plato 4 alpha

After more than one year of development on Plato 4 as part of the SCAPE project, we released the sourcecode for Plato 4 alpha.

April 2012: Plato on github

To make the Plato source code easily accessible to the public and improve our development process we published Plato 4 on github.

February 2011: Plato and SCAPE

SCAPE project

We are now working on the SCAPE project which will run until 2014. Among the key expected results of SCAPE is a planning component that brings together repository operations and policies with content, action components, measures, and automated watch to provide a traceable lifecycle of operational planning. This planning component will build on the planning tool Plato and will substantially enhance its capabilities in terms of automation and scalability.

October 2010: Plato 3.0.1

A minor service release fixing a few small issues and updating the documentation.

July 2010: Plato 3.0

The main new features of Plato 3.0:

  • Fast track evaluation Plato supports quick evaluation of preservation actions without having to create a fully fledged preservation plan.
  • Executable preservation plan for EPrints Version 3.2 of EPrints is able to enact preservation plans created by Plato
  • Fits. We have integrated FITS, the file information toolset for further characterisation.
  • Quality-aware migration services We have extended and further enhanced the tool registry containing quality-aware migration services.

June 2010: 600 users

We were happy to see that our user community had grown to over 600 users.

November 2009: Plato 2.1

The main new features of Plato 2.1:

  • Sensitivity analysis We have implemented sensitivity analysis to visualise criteria that are sensitive to variations in the weightings.
  • Objective tree editors and knowledge base. We have redesigned the user interface for the objective trees and come up with a much easier to use and much faster editor for the knowledge base.
  • Jhove. We have integrated JHove, including a neat visual side-by-side comparison feature for migrated sample objects to support visual evaluation.
  • Quality-aware migration services We have made a prototype registry containing quality-aware migration services available through Plato, featuring automated evaluation of some of the requirements. These migration service measure quality and performance (time and memory) and provide this information together with the result. Corresponding publications about this technology can be found on the documentation page.
  • Navigation structure. We have introduced a home screen providing a central point of entry.
  • Executable preservation plan. Plato 2.1 creates an executable preservation plan in XML, which can be run in the Planets workflow execution engine.
  • Service Integration. Updated access to Planets migration services.
  • Scalability. Previously, it was not feasible to upload large sample objects to create a preservation plan, due to memory limitations. We have worked on this issue and are now supporting sample objects sets up to (roughly) 200MB per plan.
  • Policy definition. You can now define your policies once and each preservation plan you create will be using these policies.

April 2009: Plato 2.0.1

This was a minor upgrade fixing a few bugs.

October 2008: Plato 2.0


At the European Conference on Digital Libraries 2008, ECDL 2008, Plato shared the first prize for the best demonstration of the conference with the search engine Summa. Our congratulations to the Summa team, and we would like to thank everyone who voted for us!

The main new features of Plato 2.0:

  • Extended workflow for plan definition. The fourth phase of the Planets PP workflow, where a preservation plan is defined, has been implemented. A description of the extended workflow can be found here.
  • File format identification. Plato now facilitates automatic file format identification with DROID (Digital Record Object Identification).
  • XCL characterisation and automated object comparison. We have integrated the XCL engine and provide its functionality through the Plato application. It is furthermore possible to compare specific properties automatically between original and transformed objects using the Planets XCDL comparison service.
  • Template and fragments library. A library of reusable fragments and templates assists the objective tree definition and reuse of recurring requirements such as significant properties of objects.
  • XML import and export. You can export completed projects to XML files, and import them again.
  • Detailed preservation plan. The preservation plan has been extended. Parts of the enhancements made to the preservation plan were motivated by TRAC (Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification Checklist).
  • Online help. For the more complex steps, we have written explanatory help pages describing how to use the tool.

April 2008: Plato 1.2

Version 1.2 of the planning tool was released publicly in Spring 2008.

  • Migration services. First migration services have been integrated, specifically CRiB
  • Characterisation services. First characterisation services have been integrated.
  • Improved documentation. We added a manual, sample planning content, and help pages.

November 2007: Plato 1.0

The first version of the planning tool was released in November 2007.