Vilnius University Faculty of Communication (VUFC) and Vilnius University Library (VUL) hosted the first Cultural Heritage and Digital Humanities oriented hackathon in Lithuania Hack4LT. The event was inspired by Lithuania's co-operation with a biggest European digital library EUROPEANA, providing a significant multilingual online collection of digitized cultural heritage, and a major European Digital Humanities network DARIAH: Digital Research Infrastructure for Arts and Humanities.
Hack4LT aimed to foster the collaboration between a scholars of Digital Humanities and a software developers and was targeted towards the technology driven experimentation with an existing EUROPEANA datasets, connecting various kinds of digitized cultural heritage resources from European museums, libraries, archives, etc. An open access to these resources stimulates a broad public interest in the European culture and challenges cultural institutions to seek new ways of engaging people, as well as to develop innovative tools. Because of the richness of EUROPEANA's collections and the nature of a preserved digital content it is considered a valuable data source for the researchers of Digital Humanities that enhances digitally-enabled research in this area.
The hackathon brought together young software developers, who were encouraged to try out their ideas for creative re-use of EUROPEANA content in order to build applications showcasing the social and scholastic value of an open cultural data. Two 500 EUR prizes were established for the best prototypes meeting the needs of Digital Humanities and the General Public.
The event attracted 20 hackers, who formed small teams, focused on their ideas which were discussed beforehand. Hacking ran till late in the evening with a few enthusiasts staying awake all night. The two days of hacking resulted in 3 developed prototypes. After presentations of the results on the second day, the prototypes were judged by the Jury, consisting of 7 competent members:
dr. E. Champion, the representative of DARIAH and a Project Leader of DIGHUMLAB
Nijolė Klingaitė-Dasevičienė, the representative of Vilnius University Library
dr. R. Laužikas, the Assistant Dean for Strategic Development of Vilnius University Faculty of Communication
J. Markauskas, the Owner of private digitization services “DIZI” and Head of BAAC: Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council
dr. D. Saulevičius, Head of Information Technology Department at Lithuanian Museums Centre for Information and Digitization at Lithuanian Art Museum
A. Stašionis, the Assistant Director at Vilnius University Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Information Technology Centre
dr. A. Šermokas, Head of “Asseco Lietuva” and one of the sponsors of the event
The best acknowledged prototype in the category of Digital Humanities was developed by “Manuscript” team A. Gimbutas, J. Sadzevičius & M. Zimnickas. They created a crowdsourcing based manuscripts' transcription system by testing examples found in EUROPEANA. The prototype allows to mark words in a digitized manuscript and prepare it for analysis. The winners were happy about the results and are planning to continue developing this prototype. Their goal is to create a tool allowing to convert image to text in order to perform automatic search of manuscripts' content.
The best acknowledged prototype in the category of General Public was developed by “CodeUnited” team S. Mikalonis, K. Rutkauskas, M. Sorokin & M. Ūba. The team created a fun, educational quiz game, which uses EUROPEANA data to generate questions, concerning various aspects of Lithuanian history, art and culture. The quiz encourages players to compete with each other by giving answers in a limited amount of time.
A consolation prize was also given to non-winning prototype developed by I. Bačius, M. Baranauskas, J. Jaronis & I. Pliavgo. They created an EUROPEANA plugin, which could be set up in django framework based users' databases and webportals. While using an existing search of digital objects, the plugin links the search with EUROPEANA's data and shows similar results on EUROPEANA's portal.
The rector of Vilnius University prof. habil. dr. J. Banys congratulated the participants of Hack4LT and emphasized during the event closing: “You are a revolutionary part of our society, having so many great and fresh ideas. I am glad that these ideas matter. Moreover I hope there will be more of them in the future”.
Albertas Gimbutas, Justas Sadzevičius and Mantas Zimnickas, independent developers (“Manuscript” team), Lithuania
Saulius Mikalonis, Kostas Rutkauskas, Maksim Sorokin and Mindaugas Ūba, independent developers (“CodeUnited” team), Lithuania, Denmark
Gamepad 2.0 is an interactive multiplayer HTML5 game. It uses a digitized data from Europeana to generate questions and encourages players to compete with each other by giving answers in a limited amount of time. The main screen of the game can be projected virtually on any surface independently of its size, e.g. large screen, iPad, etc. Players can join the game with their smartphones by scanning a QR code, which takes the player to a gamepad-website. Gamepad transforms the phone into a controller that can be used to participate in the game. No need for installing anything, nor any of platforms or devices are restricted, as long as it’s able to browse the web, the devices qualifies as a gamepad.
Ignas Bačius, Mykolas Baranauskas, Justinas Jaronis and Inga Pliavgo, independent developers, Lithuania
They created EUROPEANA plugin, which could be set up in django framework based users' databases and webportals. While using an existing search of digital objects, the plugin links the search with EUROPEANA's data and shows similar results on EUROPEANA's portal.