Hackfest and Ideas Hack

Hackfest

The Bodleian Libraries hosted a one-day hackfest on 9 March 2015 to celebrate the release of over 25,000 texts from the Early English Books Online project into the public domain. The event encouraged students and researchers from all disciplines, and members of the public with an interest in the intersection between technology, history and literature to work together to develop projects using the texts and the data they may generate.

The EEBO-TCP corpus covers the period from 1473 to 1700 and is now estimated to comprise more than two million pages and nearly a billion words. It represents a history of the printed word in England from the birth of the printing press to the reign of William and Mary, and it contains texts of incomparable significance for research across all academic disciplines, including literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, theology, music, fine arts, education, mathematics, and science.

The event took place in the Lecture Theatre and Blackwell Hall of the Weston Library (Map) from 10am to 5pm on Monday 9th March 2015, and was followed by a drinks reception at which prizes were awarded to the best of the day’s projects.

You can read a blog post about the Hackfest here.

Ideas Hack

The Bodleian Libraries also hosted an Ideas Hack competition for those unable to attend the Hackfest event. The two-month long competition encouraged students, researchers from all disciplines, and members of the public with an interest in the intersection between technology, history and literature to explore innovative and creative approaches to the data and identify potential paths for future activity.

Submissions were judged on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of innovative and creative technical approaches to the data (e.g. through use of text mining, corpus linguistics, visualizations, audio engineering, geospatial analysis, n-grams, subject diversity, etc.)
  • Identification of potential paths for future activity
  • Imaginative approaches to text or subject matter, especially those which include an element of ‘surprise’
  • Effective methods by which to expand the potential audience for this data beyond its traditional academic audience

The competition opened on Monday 16 February 2015 and closed at midnight on Thursday 2 April 2015. The standard of entries was extremely high, and prizes were awarded as follows:

1st place (£250): ‘The Posthumous HAK – Purchas his Pilgrimes (1625) and the East India Company‘, submitted by Robert Bachelor, with Murray Ruffner, Brandon Sharpe, Colin Hancock, Keimora Ellison and Raven Williams.

2nd place (£150): ‘If Music be the food of Loue – Sonifying Drama‘, submitted by Iain Emsley.

3rd place (£50): ‘EEBO-TCP Phase I – From Open Access to Accessible and Open‘, submitted by Sjoerd Levelt.