Open Data Day Hackathon 2014 at Edmonton Public Library

Alex Carruthers

Abstract


Edmonton Public Library (EPL) hosted its first hackathon for International Open Data Day 2014. International Open Data Day promotes open data policies in local, regional, and national governments worldwide, in the spirit of transparency and civic innovation. The open data movement, like public libraries, values access to information and civic engagement, and it offers opportunities for public libraries to improve their efficiency, transparency, and programming. Celebrating the event provided the Library with the additional benefit of strengthening our relationship to local government. This case study provides a practical introduction to hosting an open data hackathon as a first step to engaging the open data movement. Two follow-up surveys, one immediately after the hackathon and another five months later, were used to assess the event and determine how the Library could better support the open data community in the future. The majority of hackathon participants labelled themselves beginner programmers, were not regular library users, and appreciated the opportunity to meet city employees and other hackers who shared their interests. The Library was encouraged to increase our output of open data and to host more hackathons. Results also suggested room for improvement in the areas of developing a more formal structure to the event, connecting participants with similar interests, and providing long term support for app development. By hosting a hackathon for International Open Data Day, EPL gained both the information and the relationships necessary to release meaningful datasets and put itself in an excellent position to understand and respond to the interests and needs of the open data community.

Keywords


open data; hackathon; public libraries

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v9i2.3121

Copyright (c) 2016 Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

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Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research (ISSN: 1911-9593)