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Platform evaluation: One down!

Howdy TARO Members!

The WebTex Subcommittee and its team of volunteers have completed our first platform evaluation, as described in our posting from October 29. The platform under consideration for this first round of testing was Access to Memory, or AtoM.

The evaluation proceeded according to four user personas crafted to present the needs of a range of hypothetical *archival staff* end users with diverse job descriptions and levels of experience. That approach helped our volunteers step off of the “beaten path” of their own typical use of such a platform and into areas they might not otherwise consider. The varying levels of experience of the volunteers themselves also provided insights into how intuitive the front-end and back-end interfaces were, the initial learning curve for getting acquainted with the platform, and the strength of the documentation provided.

Testing with the user personas occurred in early November; after the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Subcommittee held a conference call with the evaluation volunteers to discuss their experiences with the evaluation procedure, and the platform itself. That information will be helpful in planning our next platform evaluations, and the Subcommittee is grateful for the commitment of the volunteer pool to continue testing the other platforms.

Analysis of this round of platform evaluation will be complete before the holiday break. After the start of the new year, we will call on our volunteers again to put the next platform through its paces. The diversity of the institutions which participate in TARO — in size, history, mission, and personnel — makes a broad scope of input imperative as we update and enhance the services which TARO offers.