Archives involved in Hackfest for who's who of data industry

Media release: Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The National Archives of Australia is excited to be part of GovHack 2013 and this year will allow access to its Passenger Arrivals' Index by the country's top data specialists to encourage them to create projects to improve, or add, to the collection's operation.

GovHack is a national, non-profit event supported by government and big name private-sector sponsors such as Microsoft, and brings together passionate data specialists to brainstorm ways of improving government services and discover "untapped hacking talent" from around the country.

"Last year, GovHack gave us the opportunity to let participants experiment with our data. We saw many new and exciting approaches, which resulted in the Archives releasing a new way to search our photographic collection," said the Director of Digital and Online Access, Zoe D'Arcy.

"This year we're exposing one of the most used data sets in the Archives' collection; our Passenger Arrivals' Index. The index is constantly growing and is used to help people authenticate who they are and when they arrived in Australia," said Ms D'Arcy. "We're really keen to see the creative approaches GovHackers might take to make this data more easily accessible to the public."

GovHack will award prizes for the most the innovative approaches to use of government data. This year, competitors will compete for a total prize pool of more than $100,000.

The Archives will again be supporting the Digital Humanities prize category.

Last year, the Archives data was used in a variety of ways with competitors creating analysis tools for digital humanitarians through to History in Action; a website which allowed Archive visitors the opportunity to create their own virtual bus tour of the city's historical sites.

GovHack organisers are steadfast that the "hack fest" is not a conference about cracking security or illegally accessing Government data or services. The event is about encouraging people to create applications, mashups, visualisations and other concepts that result in the better use of government data.

Anyone from the community with an eye to the future is able to participate. Organisers invite the brightest developers from around the country to help agencies solve perceived deficiencies within their data systems.

This year's competition will run from Friday, 31 May to Sunday, 2 June. The event launch will be run from Canberra and be streamed live to eight partner locations around Australia.

This is the third GovHack, following events in 2009 and 2012. Last year's event attracted 150 "hackers" who produced 40 individual project entries. For more information about GovHack, visit www.govhack.org . Registrations are now open for competitors.

For further information on the Archives' participation in GovHack contact Ms D'Arcy: 02 6212 3606.

Contact information

  • Katrina Iffland (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3903 e katrina.iffland@naa.gov.au
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