In September 2012, the DRI team at the Hack4Europe! hackathon won the award for "Application with Greatest Social Impact".
The hackathon was organised by Europeana to encourage teams to use their newly released API to exploit the Europeana content. After two days of hacking away at the vast collections on Europeana, the Digital Repository of Ireland hackathon team won the award for "Application with the Greatest Social Impact" for their WWI project Ireland on the Western Front. The teams were judged by an international panel of experts, and the award was presented by Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minster for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, at a reception in the Science Gallery at TCD.
L-R: Paula McGloin (DIT), Damien Gallagher (NUIM), Cormac Farrell (DIT), Sandra Collins (DRI), Jan Molendijk (Europeana), Natalie Harrower (RIA), Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Jimmy Tang (TCD), James Wogan (DIT), Mark Maguire (IMMA)
Ireland on the Western Front is an application that allows users to combine digitised versions of personal/familial objects (e.g. war medals, old photographs, birth certificates) with digital objects from Europeana's collections (e.g. maps, war proclamations, artistic representations) in order to create an individualised narrative about the Great War. The created 'storyscope' paints a picture of a fragment in time - a linked virtual scrapbook of sorts - drawing on anything from a soldier's movements through the trenches of the Somme, to the larger social and political events of the time period. In short, it enables users to become private digital curators.
Focusing on the last month of the war, the DRI team was able to trace the lives of several individuals from varied backgrounds who were all in the Somme region on October 4, 1918. Over the two day hackathon, the team demonstrated the brief intersection in time and space of a young lieutenant from the Royal Munster Fusiliers, a private from the Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers, a war nurse from Co. Down, and a German soldier who took extensive photographs of the battlefields. The technological innovation was to combine a visual online story space based on previous work from the DECIPHER team at the Digital Media Centre, DIT, with Europeana's search API. As a result, users can search Europeana directly through Storyscope, based on a wide variety of search terms. As presented to the judges, the team sees this project as a way to connect usesr from different cultural backgrounds through the lens of WWI experiences -- a 'common ground' that once proved so divisive for these users' ancestors.
Our partners at DECIPHER have posted a screencast walkthrough of the concept:
Hack4Europe! 2012 Dublin was organised by The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Irish Manuscripts Commission, the Digital Humanities Observatory and Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with the Europeana Foundation. The DRI would like to thank these partners for their work in producing such an exciting and well-organised event.
The DRI team included Eoin Kilfeather and Evin McCarthy from DIT, with the following hackers on the ground: Cormac Farrell (DIT), Dermot Frost (TCD) Damien Gallagher (NUIM), Natalie Harrower (RIA), Mark Maguire (IMMA), Paula McGloin (DIT), Jimmy Tang (TCD), and James Wogan (DIT).