Announcing the First AMIA/DLF Hack Day!

In association with the annual conference, the Association of Moving Image Archivists will host its first ever hack day on November 6, 2013 in Richmond, VA. The event will be a unique opportunity for practitioners and managers of digital audiovisual collections to join with developers and engineers for an intense day of collaboration to develop solutions for digital audiovisual preservation and access. It will be fun and practical…and there will be prizes!

This year’s hack day is a partnership between AMIA and the Digital Library Federation. A robust and diverse community of practitioners who advance research, teaching and learning through the application of digital library research, technology and services, DLF brings years of experience creating and hosting events designed to foster collaboration and develop shared solutions for common challenges.

What is a hack day?

A hack day or hackathon is an event that brings together computer technologists and practitioners for an intense period of problem solving through computer programming. Within digital preservation and curation communities, hack days provide an opportunity for archivists, collection managers, and others to work together with technologists to develop software solutions for digital collections management needs. Hack days have been held independently by groups such as the Open Planets Foundation, as well as in association with preservation and access oriented conferences including Open Repositories and Museums and the Web.

The manifesto of a recent event at the Open Repositories conference framed the benefits this way: “Transparent, fun, open collaboration in diversely constituted teams…The creation of new professional networks over the ossification of old ones. Effective engagement of non-developers (researchers, repository managers) in development…Work done at the conference over presentation of something prepared earlier.”

What if I’m not a developer/technologist/engineer?

Content managers and preservation practitioners will be as central to the success of the event as keen developers. YOU will be responsible for setting the agenda and the outcomes. The goal is to foster collaboration between audiovisual preservation specialists and technologists, to solve problems together and share expertise.

Why an AMIA hack day?

An audiovisual preservation-themed CURATEcamp was held in April 2013, drawing over 120 registrants from at least 3 continents for a day of great conversations and lightning talks. CURATEcamp is a series of unconference-style events focused on connecting practitioners and technologists interested in digital curation. The event generated a lot of documentation and articulated many shared concerns. Topics covered included digitization of video, film scanning, digital storage strategies, proprietary digital video files in collections, and technical metadata for preservation. The participants of the event agreed that more work needed to be done and action taken, so the idea for an AMIA hack day was born.

Discussions between managers of audiovisual collections and solutions developers provided a fruitful starting point for a hack day project ideas, including:

  • Simple fixity tools to use when transferring files from one storage medium to another
  • Technical metadata extraction and making use of these reports (MediaInfo, ffprobe)
  • Simple cataloging tools for AV, with eye towards contemporary frameworks/schema
  • Discovery tools/UX for audiovisual collections, access at scale

What will be the format of the event?

In advance of the hack day, project ideas will be collected through the registration form and the event wiki. On the morning of the event, participants will review and discuss submitted project ideas. We’ll then break into groups consisting of technologists and practitioners, selecting an idea to work on together for the day and (if desired) throughout the duration
of the AMIA conference in the developers lounge.

Projects will be presented during the conference closing plenary, Saturday November 9 at 8:30am. Projects will be judged by a panel as well as by conference attendees.

How can I participate?

Sign up! As this will be a highly participatory event, registration is limited to those willing to get their hands dirty, so no onlookers please.

If you are unsure whether you can or want to participate in the hack day itself, you can still see the results by attending the AMIA closing plenary, where hack day projects will be presented, and the audience will have an opportunity to vote on their favorites.

Ready to sign up and join the fun?



Want more information? Interested in sponsoring by supporting the space or providing prizes? Interested in being a judge? Contact the organizers:

  • Lauren Sorensen: laurens [at] bavc [dot] org
  • Steven Villereal: villereal [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Kara Van Malssen: kara [at] avpreserve [dot] com

About AMIA

The Association of Moving Image Archivists is a non-profit professional association established to advance the field of moving image archiving by fostering cooperation among individuals and organizations concerned with the acquisition, description, preservation, exhibition and use of moving image materials.

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