History Hackday

History Hackday will be taking placeat the Guardian’s offices in Kings Cross, London on January 22-23 2011!

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.

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?)

There’ll be updates and thoughts here on the blog, and you’ll also be able to access datasets and join in over at the History Hack Day Wiki

Check out the schedule here and find out how to get to the venue over here.

If you are using social media tools to report on the day remember the hashtag is:


Some great projects from History Hackday 2011

by , 24/01/11 1:59am
Here are a couple of fantastic projects from the History Hackday 2011. History of the World in 100 Objects – Mobile Mashup of History of the World in 100 objects and Various Datafeeds Most Ancientest Thing Ever – an experiment to test everyone’s historical knowledge Plaqathon – A mobile app built on FB places. And […]

You know about Bletchley Park right? The place where the codebreakers, ten thousand people in all, including Alan Turing, worked round the clock during WW2 to crack German codes. Bletchley Park and the codebreakers, the place and people whose work shortened WW2 by two years potentially saving 22 million lives, 11 million people a year […] read more

Portable Antiquities

by , 21/01/11 7:22pm
(a post from Dan Pett of the Portable Antiquities Scheme) About 3 months ago, Matt contacted the Portable Antiquities Scheme via Twitter, to ask if we wanted to be involved in his History Hack Day event that is now imminent. Our project, which is funded via the DCMS, is based at the British Museum and […]

Photos from the History Hackday, January 2011 held at the Guardian Offices . read more

All kinds of history

by , 21/01/11 7:07pm
There are a whole set of problems when it comes to working with historical data, and the first hurdle is actually getting something which was written down, or printed, on paper into a machine-readable form in the first place. It’s a pretty big hurdle. Getting the archive of Harper’s Magazine online took Paul Ford eighteen […]

Some examples of previous History Hacks

by , 21/01/11 7:01pm
Things that have been previously made that could be considered History Hacks (although not necessarily made at hackdays) Southampton Blitz Map – mapping where every bomb fell on the worst nights of the Southampton Blitz. The Revolutionaries – Explore the history of science and find who influenced who. Made at Science Hackday. BBC Dimensions – […]