iPREShack - SPRUCE, OPF and CURATEcamp hackathon at iPRES2013

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"Great to have people working on real life practical solutions to digital preservation problems at the event, rather than just talking about it and then not doing anything!" SPRUCE event participant, 2012

The event

iPREShack is a digital preservation hackathon that will take place during iPRES2013. Attendees will work together to address preservation challenges, and enhance our preservation tools. As well as advancing our ability to perform digital preservation it will be an opportunity for attendees to work with the best technical experts in the field, to advance their understanding of digital preservation, to develop their coding skills and to exchange knowledge and experience in a friendly and collaborative environment.

SPRUCE, OPF and CURATEcamp have been running a variety of digital preservation themed events over the last few years, and bring a wealth of experience to the facilitation of iPREShack. We'll be working hard to put that experience into practice and deliver a productive, and most importantly fun, iPRES hackathon.

But don't take our word for it. We solicit feedback from our attendees using an anonymous online form at the end of each of our events. Here's what attendees said about our last hackathon, held in Leeds, UK in March 2013:

  • "(Liked) Developing practical solutions for concete problems; ability to meet up with other developers/practitioners with similar issues;opportunity to exchange knowledge, views and opinions."
  • "(Liked) Collaboration between different institutions, all working together to solve issues that were viewed as important to address."
  • "(Liked) The communication among people who had worked on different tools. I met lots of people I'd known only over the Internet."
  • "As someone who is relatively new to digital preservation in general it gave me a good overview of the different tools available, their strengths and weaknesses and how best to use them."

And these were the responses when we asked if we should run a similar hackathon event on an annual basis:
"Definitely", "Yes", "Absolutely", "Yes, maybe even on quarterly or half-year basis. I believe such events (if focused) are really good to start doing new features, fix existing bugs and more. Also they act as a motivator and keep projects/tools alive.", "Yes", "Yes! Yes! and Yes again!", "YES! At least on an annual basis", "Yes, perhaps even more frequently", "Yes", "Yes!", "PRETTY PLEASE!", "Yes, if not more often", "Yes", "Yes (or more frequently)", "Yes, if not more often".

Event format

iPREShack will run across four days of the conference, with dedicated event time before and after the main conference sessions. The format will be as follows:

Monday 2nd September 1000-1800

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Lightning talks from participants to set the scene and motivate the participants
  • Hackathon challenges, voting and teams: challenges for the hackathon are discussed, prioritised and attendees are organised into teams to address them
  • Hacking begins: teams start tackling their challenges
  • Two reporting back sessions throughout the day: teams report back on progress and exchange ideas

Tuesday 3rd September 1730-1830

  • Teams catch up on any progress made since the previous day
  • Reporting back: lightning talks from the teams on progress made
  • Hacking and planning

Wednesday 4th September 1730-1830

  • Teams catch up on any progress made since the previous day
  • Reporting back: lightning talks from the teams on progress made
  • Hacking and planning

Thursday 5th September 1400-1800

  • Teams catch up on any progress made since the previous day
  • Final hacking and problem solving
  • Write ups and code check ins
  • Final reporting back: teams demo their results, discuss next steps and consider sustainability
  • Workshop evaluation and discussion of hackathon plans for iPRES2014

A hack lounge will also be available during the main conference sessions for anyone who would like to keep coding.

Who is the event for?

iPREShack is exclusively for software developers. Anyone without hacking skills who would like to get involved, should see the section below "I'd like to contribute an idea or challenge for iPREShack attendees to take on". All attendees must bring along their laptop and have it set up ready with their preferred development environment.

How do I sign up?

Registration is now open on the iPRES site. The charge to join the hackathon is 100euro (early bird) or 120euro (full price). Look out for the iPREShack option right down at the bottom of the first registration page!

I'd like to contribute an idea or challenge for iPREShack attendees to take on

Whether you're an attendee or not, we would love to have your suggestions on what we should be working on during iPREShack. Please contribute your ideas here.

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