May 21, 2022

UC Berkeley: Student “Hackers” Challenged to Develop New User Interface For “Free Speech Movement Digital Archive” During Hackathon

The HackFSM hackathon took place over 12 days earlier this month.

From the UC Berkeley News Center:

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.”

Read the Complete Article

Direct to HackFSM Info Page

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.