UC Berkeley: Student “Hackers” Challenged to Develop New User Interface For “Free Speech Movement Digital Archive” During Hackathon
For HackFSM, organized by the Bancroft Library and Digital Humanities @ Berkeley, students were invited to develop a compelling user interface to the Bancroft’s Free Speech Movement Digital Archive, a large trove of texts, images and audio recordings that the Bancroft digitized and published to the Web in the mid-1990s. The original online collection was one of the Bancroft’s first forays into digital archiving, and a big step toward making primary-source FSM materials accessible to students and the public, notes Mary Elings, head of digital collections at the Bancroft.
By today’s standards, though, the FSM Digital Archive is static and not very engaging. Researchers can download and read files one at a time, but there’s no way to access the archive as a single data set as scholars in the “digital humanities” and “digital social sciences” are now doing — harnessing computer power to look for patterns across bodies of text, carry out computational analysis or visualize information in new and compelling ways.
Students were tasked with developing features that would be “helpful to a researcher who’s just exploring the FSM; those might include topic modeling, visualizations, mapping or timelines,” Elings said. “Think of different ways you might want to come into the data if you were a humanist doing a paper.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.