HacktheHearst is expected to produce new tools, including apps, that will enable easier, open-source exploration of the museum's digitized collections data and images.
"It would take centuries to physically exhibit everything in our collections, given the size of our sole exhibition space," said
As a result of the hackathon, said Black, elementary school kids might not have to spend hours on a bus trekking to the UC Berkeley museum for a tour, or rummaging through an old-fashioned education kit that has been offered for years, but instead access much of the collection at their computer keyboards.
Not just for computer geeks
The competition is open to anyone interested in giving it a go -
Museum officials are asking hackers to develop apps or user interfaces that facilitate interaction with digitized collection data by the public, especially students from kindergarten through college, researchers, Indian tribes and other heritage communities.
HacktheHearst participants will work with a dataset of object-centric metadata for more than 700,000 catalog records dealing with everything from Mexican Saltillo serapes and ancient Egyptian artwork to Native American basketry. Some 196,920 objects in the museum's collections have been digitally imaged so far.
The competition will begin with an introduction to the
Hackers also can attend an optional
HackTheHearst winners will be recognized for their contribution to the public service mission of the
"One big thing we're offering are unique, private, museum-themed experiences," said Black. "For instance, participants are helping give the world virtual access to our collections, so we thought it would be nice to give the winning team personalized access to the physical artifacts that are of most interest to them, in collections storage areas that are normally inaccessible to the public."
And in addition to customized, expert-led collections tours, other prizes include private lessons with experts on cuneiform writing, hieroglyphics, flint knapping and other collections-related topics. The cuneiform lesson, "The First Day in
To sign up for the hackathon, click here (http://hackthehearst.berkeley.edu/registration.html).
Among the event sponsors are
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