31 Jan 2014
Originally posted on LITA Blog
LibHack 2014 getting underway
What happened at LibHack? Wait, what was LibHack? LibHack was a library hackathon held during ALA Midwinter on Friday, January 24 at the University of Pennsylvania's Kislak Center for Special Collections. Organized by the LITA/ALCTS Code Year Interest Group and sponsored by OCLC and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), the event featured two separate tracks - one specifically catered to beginners that worked on the OCLC WorldCat Search API, and another track open to beginners and advanced hackers that worked on the DPLA API.
Of the 55 attendees, there was a 50-50 split between the two tracks. The OCLC track was led by Steve Meyer, Technical Platform Project Manager at OCLC, and several other OCLC staff members were on hand to lend support. Since the track was designed to meet the needs of beginner programmers, Steve led a workshop that used the WorldCat Search API to introduce participants to some of the basics of programming. For example, Steve provided a walkthough of PHP and XML using lesson files, making sure people understood the connection of the code back with the API output.
The OCLC track filled a need within the ALA community for introductory level programming at ALA conferences. Based on the success of the Intro to Python preconference at the 2013 ALA Annual conference in Chicago and data gathered from an initial planning survey gathered by the LibHack organizers (Zach Coble, Emily Flynn, and Chris Strauber) in August 2013, it was clear than many librarians were interested in a more structured learning opportunity. LibHack's old-fashion, synchronus, face-to-face environment contributed to the OCLC track's success in teaching participants the basics and helping them to become more comfortable with the challenges of programming.
The DPLA track, on the other hand, was more loosely organized and was open to all levels of hackers. As with the OCLC track, we were fortunate to have four DPLA staff members on hand to provide guidance and technical assistance. At the beginning of the day, people pitched ideas for projects, and groups quickly formed around those ideas. Some of the projects that were worked on include:
Since LibHack was a one day event, many projects were not completed, although some groups made plans to continue working. Chad Fennell and Chad Nelson's project Exhibit Master 2000 was continued as last weekend's GLAM Hack Philly. And the project investigating copyright and reuse rights is a long-term DPLA project that will take many more hackathons to complete!
Given the overall success of the event, the Code Year Interest Group is exploring the idea of hosting another LibHack, possibly at the 2014 ALA Annual conference in Las Vegas. If you are interested in organizing or sponsoring, contact firstname.lastname@example.org comments powered by Disqus