Two days of hacking in Hilversum


The room where we hacked away for two days. Foto: Johan Carlström
Last weekend, Jonas Bolin and I attended the first Europeana hackathon, in Hilversum, the Netherlands. A hackathon is an event where computer programmers meet and code together during a limited amount of time (usually one day or two). Often, a price is awarded the programmers who come up with the best application. The aim for this hackathon was to develop applications on Europeanas newley launched API. Participation was by invitation only. The Europena hackathon took place at the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision, a fantastic building. We where about 30 developers and some other participants from Europeana and other institutions (myself included).
Our aim was to develop an Android-application which uses the geographic data in Europeana. The idea was to let the user suggest a more accurate position for the Europeana data which today is using coordinates from Geonames that only roughly point out the location. Unfortunately, we encountered a bug in the API which led to loss of valuable time for troubleshooting.

The Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision.  Photo: Johan Carlström

However, at the beginning of day two, we found a workaround which led us back on track. Unfortunately the Android emulator lost its internet connection (it is apparently emulating reality in every way) which we did not notice in time. Despite all this, the API is easy to work with and has a lot of potential when the bugs are fixed and more functionality will be added.
Even though we did not finish with our application, the productive and inspirational atmosphere brought new thoughts about both SOCH (K-samsök) and Kringla but also how we could organize a hackathon with the SOCH API of our own in the future. We where also fortunate to meet many creative and skilled people which gave us some new perspectives.
Even though the API is still pretty rough, the developing teams presented several innovating applications where some took on a gamification perspective. My own favorites were the Wikimedia ingestion tool and the Joomla plugin (which also won first prize).
The event where well organized and the Institute for Sound and Vision where an amazing building, made for creativity. :) A big thanks to David Haskiya, Vanessa Proudman and all the other representatives from Eureopana. Hopefully, we will be able to participate another time as well. :)
>> Johan Carlström works with SOCH and Europeana at the Swedish National Heritage Board

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