Quality assurance for the query and distribution systems of the RCSB Protein Data Bank

Database (Oxford). 2011 Mar 7:2011:bar003. doi: 10.1093/database/bar003. Print 2011.


The RCSB Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB, www.pdb.org) is a key online resource for structural biology and related scientific disciplines. The website is used on average by 165,000 unique visitors per month, and more than 2000 other websites link to it. The amount and complexity of PDB data as well as the expectations on its usage are growing rapidly. Therefore, ensuring the reliability and robustness of the RCSB PDB query and distribution systems are crucially important and increasingly challenging. This article describes quality assurance for the RCSB PDB website at several distinct levels, including: (i) hardware redundancy and failover, (ii) testing protocols for weekly database updates, (iii) testing and release procedures for major software updates and (iv) miscellaneous monitoring and troubleshooting tools and practices. As such it provides suggestions for how other websites might be operated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computers
  • Databases, Protein / standards*
  • Internet / standards*
  • Quality Control
  • Software
  • User-Computer Interface