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Newcastle City Library

33 New Bridge Street West

Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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A day-long event to learn new skills and collaborate on ideas for using data and content released by Newcastle Libraries.

Come along and play with data - either build your own project, or we'll show you how to do stuff...

This is the premise for our second hackathon, following on from Wuthering Hacks on 9 April (do check out what was created then in NEdata's summary of projects). For Wuthering Hacks we invited mainly developers and people with programming skills or data visualisation experience. This time we want to *also* open it up to people who want to learn some of those skills too.

Why we are running this data "play-day" in the first place

Libraries and librarians stand for the sharing of information, knowledge and culture. We are exploring another way of doing this by releasing library data into the public domain or under an open license - meaning anyone can re-use our information with the only condition being they mention they got it from us. But that's just the start: we want you - citizen, resident, visitor to the City - to engage with it. This data belongs to you: it is up to you to show us what these datasets could be used for. For example, could this data help residents, visitors and the library service look at what we do in a way that is more efficient / meaningful / fun?

How it is going to work

Come with your laptop, meet people, look at data and choose an idea (or two, or three?) you would like to explore during the day. 

James Rutherford will be our facilitator for the day, assisted by David Chatting and Dan Foster-Smith.

We welcome both people with data hacking experience and beginners wanting to learn data skills. We'll be helping you get started by showing how to create a map, a graph, ... from our data.

What data and content we are making available:

  • the data already published on Newcastle City Council's open data pages;
  • our digitised historical maps of the Newcastle area (pre-1918) on Flickr;
  • all our digitised public domain images (accessible via our Flickr albums);
  • more raw libraries data (details to follow);
  • we are hoping to work with other local organisations / library authorities for them to make their data available too.

The sort of questions we have that we'd be interested to have your input on:

  • Who are our active library members? How has this changed over the years?
  • Where in the City are libraries most used? (and to do what?)
  • Is there a way we can map the journey of a book through our libraries?
  • How could we link our historical collections (maps, images) to today's landscape and environment?
  • Do we have too many things about [insert topic or person name here] in our collections? Are there topics that are in demand that we do not have enough of?

In case we need to make it clear: do bring your own ideas of what you would like to work on as well!  


The practical side of things

  • This event is not suitable for anyone under the age of 16.
  • A curious and/or creative mind will be required.
  • You will need to bring your own laptop and any other technology that you would like to use for the event. Do let us know what extra bits you are bringing so we can make sure we can accommodate your needs!
  • There is wifi in the library. 
  • Drinks and snacks will be provided.



Mimi and Eunice sketch by Nina Paley

Commons are Forever #CmnsR4ever
This event is funded via the Commons are Forever project developed by Newcastle Libraries with support from the Carnegie UK Trust's Library Lab programme. Commons are Forever aims to empower participants about our rights to use creative works that are free of copyright, e.g. in the public domain or under an open license, and to in turn share what we create with others.

Feature image: "Science Hack Day" [cropped] by Jeremy Keith, published under a Creative Commons Attribution license [Source: Flickr]; Mimi and Eunice sketch Copyleft Nina Paley

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Newcastle City Library

33 New Bridge Street West

Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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