Go to the main content of this page

DHO-Sponsored Hackathon A Great Success

Europeana25 September 2012 - Hack4Europe! 2012 Dublin was held at the Science Gallery over an exciting two days and involved participants from throughout Ireland's cultural sector. The event provided an exciting environment to explore the potential of open cultural data from the Europeana portal to create products for social and economic growth in Europe.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. awarded prizes to developers and designers who participated in the Dublin Hack4Europe2012! event at a reception in the Science Gallery, Dublin on Tuesday, 25 September 2012.  The event 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 developers spent two days re-using descriptive data for some of the 20 million digital items contained in the massively successful Europeana cultural heritage portal. Europeana is Europe's digital library, archive and museum and contains digital images and descriptions relating to the collections of galleries, libraries, museums and other cultural bodies from all member states in Europe. Material from Irish cultural institutions such as the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland and the Irish Traditional Music Archive accounts for some 4.7% of the Europeana content.

For two days app developers, designers and other digital innovators from across Ireland competed against each other using Europeana's huge data resources to develop new applications.

Europeana have recently opened up their data to the public, meaning the material can be used for any purpose – creative, educational, commercial – with no restrictions in prototypes which they hope can be brought to market.  The free availability of this data offers a new boost to the digital economy, providing electronic entrepreneurs with opportunities to create innovative apps and games for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals and opportunities to combine Europeana data with data from other sectors such as tourism and broadcasting.

Welcoming the hack4Europe! Competition to Dublin Minister Deenihan said:

"I am looking forward to seeing the creative uses for the data contained in Europeana which will be developed during this hackathon and the innovative uses the participants find for reusing the Europeana data. Europeana provides a valuable contribution to the European Commission’s agenda to drive growth through digital innovation. Online open data is a core resource which can fuel enterprise and create opportunities for millions of Europeans working in Europe's cultural and creative industries.

"The sector represents 3.3% of EU GDP and is worth over €150 billion in exports. New and exciting opportunities for app developers, designers and other digital innovators have been created since the digital portal Europeana opened up its dataset of over 20 million cultural objects for free re-use.

"I'm also delighted that Ireland is so strongly represented in the Europeana portal. With less than 1% of the European Union population we account for almost 5% of the cultural data in this important digital library, punching well above our weight - once again - on the international cultural stage."

Jan Molendijk, Technical and Operations Director, Europeana Foundation and a judge at the competition said:

"It is always fascinating to see the creativity that is sparked by giving access to the riches of Europe's cultural heritage. And now that the metadata is released under a CC0 license, which means that anybody can use it for whatever purpose, including commercially, developers will have even more of an incentive to create innovative apps and websites."

Following the 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.  A team comprised of Richard Cyganiak, Brendan Flynn, Simon Kenny, and Mark Reilly won the award for "Most Innovative Application" for a 3D gallery application.
Award for Greatest Social Impact
From left to right:
Paula McGloin, Damien Gallagher, Cormac Farrell, Sandra Collins, Natalie Harrower, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Jimmy Tang, James Wogan, Mark Maguire

Award for Most Innovative Application

From left to right: Richard Cyganiak, Brendan Flynn, Simon Kenny, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., and Mark Reilly


The team organising the event was comprised of:

  • Sharon Barry (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)
  • Cathy Hayes (Irish Manuscripts Commission)
  • Niall O'Leary (Digital Humanities Observatory)
  • Ursina O'Riordan (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)