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Saved by Matt Patterson
on September 24, 2010 at 9:21:17 am

History Hack Day


What is a Hack Day? 

Hacks are usually quick and often dirty solutions to a problem, relying on ingenuity, skill, and daring. They may not always be elegant, and they may not always work, but they're always clever, and they often start something.


A Hack Day is an event which brings together groups of designers, developers, and assorted interested folk over a weekend of high-octane hacking - a little over 24 hours to build new, working, *stuff*.  At the end of the event everyone demonstrates whatever they've built in front of everyone else. There are often prizes. Mmmm, prizes.


There've been web hack days, music hack days, government hack days and science hack days. Traditionally, the stuff which gets built has been software, often some kind of web application, but hardware hacks are getting more common and the sky's the limit. This, however, is going to be a History Hack Day. 


A History Hack Day?

Hack Days get people engaged with and excited about a subject, and our subject is history. There's a lot of it about, but lots of it is stuck, on paper, in old HTML pages, in archives, on hard-to-reach databases. We want people to figure out how to set some of that free, and start bringing that history to life as... whatever crazy things people can come up with.


We want people to come up with hacks that make history accessible and understandable in new ways. 


Think Scrapheap Challenge meets In Our Time versus Time Team in bed with A history of the world in 100 objects. 


We also want to get as many smart people interested in history into a room as we can: there are a whole load of hard problems we might be able to come up with some good ideas about solving (How should digital maps deal with changing landscapes? How might we join up some of those unfortunately separated data sets? How should government store this stuff going forward?)


How can I get involved?

If you're interested in coming, then watch the History Hackday blog (or this space) for announcements about time and place.


If you've got ideas about hacks you'd like to see, data you'd love to get access to (or know about / could provide access to) then please add them to the HackIdeas page


If you're an organisation interested in helping make this happen, then please get in touch - we need a venue, and our attendees will need food and water... which means that we'll need sponsorship to make it a free-to-attend event. 


Email <matt@reprocessed.org> or phone me on +44 (0)20 7193 4195. 


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