On September 6, the University of Pennsylvania will host PennApps, the largest student-run hackathon in the world. As part of the event, the Penn Libraries will hold a competition for 200 hackathon participants. The team that develops the best app using library data will win a $500 cash prize
The Libraries’ contribution to the data pool will draw from the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, a vast cache of information which tracks the historical movement of medieval manuscripts among collectors and libraries. The Libraries will also offer data from the Penn Provenance Project, which uses Flickr to record the origin of items now in Penn’s rare book collections. The possibilities for revealing useful patterns in collection building—and finding the next big thing–are virtually endless.
In addition to data, the Libraries will provide the competing teams with work space in the newly renovated Special Collections Center.
Will Noel, Director of the Special Collections Center and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn Libraries, believes that “including library data in the hack pool, and encouraging use of that data through a cash prize, will help introduce computer science students from Penn and around the world to the significance of library data.”
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