During March 2023, the first ever BiblioTech Hackathon took place! This initiative was jointly organized by KU Leuven Libraries and the Faculty of Arts. Over the course of 10 days, students, researchers, and KU Leuven staff came together to brainstorm and carry out a digital project that would valorize selected datasets (see the description on the BiblioTech website) from the library’s digitized collections. The end results far exceeded expectations. The groups proved to be self-sufficient, cooperative, and efficient, which resulted in seven extremely successful projects. Consequently, the judges at the closing ceremony thought it would be only right to recognize each team for their respective merits. The teams, their projects, and their received awards are as follows:
Best Reuse Potential
The Digital Peripatetics: Tom Bellens, Yanne Broux, Lydia Janssen, Sunkyu Lee, Heike Pauli, Laura Soffiantini & Manou Vermeire
The project “Walk Like a Lovainiensis”: Profiling the Early Modern Homo Academicus through the Lovaniensia Dataset used social network analysis, OCR, and language analysis to illustrate the academic environment during the early modern period. Looking at theme, language and overall network at this time period, they synthesized data and determined the functionality of the dataset. They concluded that while they were able to pinpoint commonalities, a broad picture was unattainable as there was significant variability, and perhaps bias, within the data.
The Poststars: Tim Van de Cruys, Ivania Nadine Donoso Guzmán, Benoît Crucifix Lucia Allende Garrido, Peiyang Huo, Ina Lamllari, Iva Stojevic, Yining Zhu, Dawn Zhuang
Dataset: Vintage Postcards
The project Echoes of Yesterday: An Exploration of Vintage Postcards used geocoding, exploratory data analysis & visualization, and topical exploration of data to create a navigable and searchable website for the postcards. Of the 60,000 Belgian postcards in the dataset, 30,000 were used for the database. These postcards were then organized and clustered via the CLIP model so that the dataset could be easily searched by the user.
The Illuminators: Austine J. Crasta, Sandra Elpers, Suzanna Cuypers, Courtney Van de Mosselaer, Agni Vourtsi, Joachim, Bovin, Ni Li, Yun Liu
Dataset: Bible of Anjou
This project sought to highlight the miniature illustrations in the pages’ margins. After analyzing the textual and graphic elements of the Bible, the team compiled the most visually interesting and usable images and made them publicly available on the team’s website. GIFs were similarly produced to disseminate these images and the implementation of these gifs into the presentation helped to earn the team the “Best Presentation” award. A font alphabet was also created to further increase the usability of the graphics.
Best Gimmick and People’s Favorite:
StudentsBlock: Daria Kondakova, Jarrik Van Der Biest, Linde Van den Eede, Lode Moens, Rossana Scebba, Haija Chen, Daniel Oltean, Thomas Cole, Jiaqi Zhu
Dataset: Magister Dixit
This project extracted data from the Magister Dixit to create a searchable database. Parsing the MARC21 XML of the Magister Dixit, the team pulled lecture subjects, professors, students, and dates. The database, which employs the Latin terms in cooperation with the original documents, is searchable by each of these elements. With an overarching goal of contextualizing the dataset to provide further insight into the academic structure of the old University of Leuven, the website elaborates on the limited previous understandings of academic life. It was the project’s creative whimsy, however, that helped the team win the “Best Gimmick” prize. The website reuses the style of Toledo, the digital platform for KU Leuven students, to create a playful digital learning environment representing a “day in the life” of a student from the old university.
ChaoTech Warriors: Annelore Knoors, Tom Gheldof, Ujjayanta Bhaumik, Catarina Arnaud Boleto, Fatemeh Mirkazemiyan
Dataset: WWI Posters
The ChaoTech Warriors were assigned the Wartime Posters, a corpus of 171 (multilingual) proclamations issued by the German General Government in Belgium during World War I. All posters are available in a digitized image format with metadata descriptions to categorize them by year of publication, location, topic, etc. Each image is accompanied by an OCR text, produced on a line-by-line basis, rather than following the column division that distinguishes the layout of each poster. As the posters had French and German translations for the Dutch texts, the team generated also English translations. A timeline and AI poster generator were also created as interactive elements on the website.
Best Public Appeal:
God Save the Tweets: Fien Messens, Elisa Nelissen, Shirin Izadpanah, Azmi Boonmalert, Sara Zanetti, Anna Sofia Churchill, Area Maria Guede Ramos, Yuqi Zhu, Leen Sevens
Dataset: Tweets from the death of Queen Elizabeth II
Spill the Tweeat
This project dealt with the contemporary dataset of tweets written following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Analyzing thousands of tweets using sentiment analysis technique, Spill the Tweeat visualized their findings by creating an interactive platform that generated pro-monarchist and anti-monarchist tweets. Additionally, they were able to create a timeline that highlighted the predominant sentiments exhibited through the tweets, such as tracking the level of sympathy expressed and their corresponding events.
Demographic Dynamo: Stijn Carpentier, Ate Poorthuis, Gertjan Muyters, André Davids, Céline van Migerode, Olena Holubowska, Anirudh Govind
Dataset: Census Records
Census Data Sandbox: From Numbers to Narratives
The event was not only a fun ten days, but it also produced seven successful DH projects. On top of this, the participants had the opportunity to learn new DH skills and to meet new people in the KU Leuven network, sparking friendships and potential for future collaboration. Head over to the KU Leuven BiblioTech Hackathon Zenodo community to see all of the project posters!