‘Hackers have power…”

It seems an odd conjunction of terms, doesn’t it? A hack used to be someone who would write anything on any topic, provided they were paid. The content and the writing were often sub-optimal. More recently, hackers broke into secure databases, placed viruses and other nasties in code, and generally made themselves unpopular – and were definitely sub-optimal.  But as with other terms, the word hacker has had a bit of a facelift recently.

According to Kira Baker-Doyle:

a hacker is a person that

takes ideas, things, and practices and re-makes them or re-names them in order to produce something new or different. People who hack are the people who can re-shape oppressive structures in our society.

(http://kbakerdoyle.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/21st-century-knowing-cultivating-and-curating-networks-of-knowledge/).

This definition can be seen at work in the great data.gov.uk, based at the  National Archives, UK, and in their 2012 ‘Hack on the records’ project (one example is the UK War Cabinet site). It is also the concept behind #GovHack (http://www.govhack.org/), which takes place across Australia on the weekend of 11-13 July.

GovHack is inviting hackers to make socially useful applications and programs using government data. The National Library and National Archives are involved, and I’m hoping to be able to promote some of the great collections held by State and local government archives when I attend as a data mentor at GovHackPerth.  If you are involved with open government data, or have an idea for a great application, then I urge you to contact the organisers to see how you can contribute.

 

Advertisements

Published by

inthemailbox

Archivist, historian, avid reader

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s