Hacking on the Record

Posted on 03/20/2012 by

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This weekend, the National Archives are doing something particularly amazing by hosting their first ever hackday: Hack on the Record. They are bringing together developers and experts (from the British Museum, British Library and Wikimedia UK) with the well-said intention of:

We want to work with developers who share our interests in history, government and culture to devise and build systems using our records as well as datasets from across the web. Or to use a more technical term, build cool stuff.

We hold millions of documents covering almost a millennium of world history: everything from the Domesday Book and Cabinet Papers to the UK Government Web Archive and our Legislation API.

Ha, perfect! It seems to have gone down well, because there are no spaces left on the Eventbrite site, though I’d suggest adding your name to the waitlist in case a space opens up. Tim Hodson will be at Hack on the Record to hack and to appear on a judging panel, so make sure to say hello.

For swotting up on relavent data before hacking, the National Archives are using Kasabi to publish the ARCHON dataset—possibly the coolest name for a set yet. The ARCHON is a directory of archive-holding institutions in the UK, providing simple yet useful locations that hold some sort of records. More importantly—to developers and information architects—the ARCHON provides identifiers useful for linking, or, as their description has it:

It provides archives with a unique repository code which separates them from other services and can be used when undertaking ISAD (G) compliant cataloguing and when contributing to networks.

We are also working on an extract of a subset of the National Register of Archives, with a particular focus on women in the archives. This dataset will link back to ARCHON and will be released by Saturday.

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