Hackfest 2007 Results

I posted a little while back about Hackfest, a one-day event during the Access Conference where people get together and brainstorm solutions to some of the tech-oriented problems facing libraries. 2007’s results were not easy to find, but I found its hiding spot, thanks to the K-State Libraries blog. Out of the 24 listed items, 8 were chosen for the event. A couple worth checking out:

Fantastic Folksonomy Validator:
(slide #2 text)-

Scenario: Users tag their documents with uncontrolled vocabulary terms: e.g. bunnies, sugar beets, combine harvester. These terms are compared manually to existing thesauri, and if necessary corrected. The result is a hybrid: not a folksonomy, but not a rigidly controlled vocabulary.

Problem: All of the manual checking that is required! Right now, the user goes to several web sites, searches for a term, views the results, pulls them all together, and decides what to do with the submitted term given how it is (or isn’t) handled in the authoritative thesauri.

Object: Make machines do the manual work!

Specification for user-contributed enhancements:
(Slide #1 text)

Develop a specification for user-contributed enhancements to digital collections, entries in a library catalogue, entries in a bibliography management system, or any other type of objects that users comment on in libraries. ‘User-contributed enhancements’ include comments, tags, ratings, etc. The goal of this specification is to define ways of describing user-contributed enhancements so they can be migrated to new host systems, counted for statistical reporting, clustered for analysis, etc., or to guide libraries in selecting systems for implementation.

 Face the Facebook Facts:
(Slide #3 text)

  • Make an application package for “non-coders” — other libraries (i.e. Ryerson) have documented their Facebook app process, but we wanted to build on that, making something as close to “ready-to-run” as possible
  • Make a “pull” NOT “push” application — don’t try to push a library app out over a Facebook network
  • Keep users in Facebook environment for as long as possible (i.e. viewing catalogue results in Facebook “wrapper”)

One Response to Hackfest 2007 Results

  1. Catherine Arnott Smith says:

    Comment on the “Fantastic Folksonomy Validator” from a faculty member at SLIS: This is in fact exactly how the Consumer Health Vocabulary Initiative team, of which I am a member–


    works; in fact, just about every piece of research using the Unified Medical Language System as a validator works. Some aspects of this can be automated to accomplish speed in the generation of matching concepts, but the manual part of jurying each user-contributed term is, indeed, the labor-intensive piece.

    For a fact sheet from NLM about the UMLS, go here:

    I am doing research now comparing user-contributed terms in healthcare to established codes, classifications and vocabularies. Anybody interested in details, feel free to contact me …

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