Disability History Hackathon
or…How to crowdsource over 200 websites!
To mark Disability History month, 24 volunteers assembled in the History Faculty on a cold and grey last day of term with an additional 12 joining the event via Teams. The mission? To find quality websites for a Bodleian Libraries’ guide on disability history resources. Professor Rob Iliffe opened the event by thanking all for contributing to the Faculty’s commitment to foster teaching and research in disability history.
After lunch and a handy crash course on advanced Google searching by Bethan Jenkins, students, researchers, librarians, and staff from the Disability Advisory Service (DAS) settled down with their laptops to surf the web. Individuals were given broad topics to focus on. In just under two hours, an astonishing 226 resources were recorded, covering all periods and forms of disability. This is a fantastic achievement by the volunteer hackers and more than we could have hoped for.
The History Faculty Library trainee, Alice Shepherd, will next design a user-friendly version of the guide and add helpful contextual information. When completed at some point in 2023, the guide will be open to anybody in the world who is interested in disability history and looking for research resources. Watch this space!
As an event format, this jointly organised hybrid hackathon was a great success and will be a template for similar initiatives in the future. It used an inclusive, accessible, and collaborative approach to crowdsource quality resources for research and the public good. And it was fun! There may have been cake in between and drinks at the end for the survivors….
The effort to collate quality resources has not stopped. Individuals wishing to nominate a resource for the disability history guide are warmly invited to do so, using the input form at https://oxford.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/disability-history-hackathon-input-form.
Our thanks and gratitude also go to the History Faculty and their staff for supporting the event in many ways, and to all the library and DAS staff who helped with the organisation and delivery of the event.
Dr Sloan Mahone, History Faculty & Isabel Holowaty, Bodleian Libraries
6 December 2022