March 31 - April 2

Successful projects depend on interdisciplinary expertise and cross-functional teams. Designing for digital is a shared conversation with diverse stakeholders. Front-end or back-end—bring your own unique talents to shape the vision and the work of your team.

We hear a lot from students about their struggle with information overload. So, we made it this year’s theme. Throughout the weekend, teams will envision and actually create solutions for the 24/7 problem of Information Overload as it relates to campus and academic life.

Whether you have new answers to old problems or entirely new concepts, use your combined insights to reimagine what’s possible. Bring your fresh ideas and your digital skills to build real, sharable, open-source solutions.  

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Welcome to the Hesburgh Libraries , where teams of developers, graphic designers, subject specialists, and other creatives come together to reimagine solutions to everyday problems. We provide food, resources, and technical assistance. You collaborate, create, and innovate to bring new solutions that help with this year’s theme: Information Overload. Register today!

Our hackathon is dedicated to providing a fun and harassment-free experience for everyone. Learn more from our Code of Conduct.

When & Where

March 31st – April 2nd
Hesburgh Library
Center for Digital Scholarship
1st Floor NE

Fri 5p – 7p Orientation
Fri 7p – Sun 3p Competition 

Sun 3p – Winners Announced

Meals & Snacks

We’ll provide some meals, a coffee & soda bar, and plenty of snacks in between. See the schedule for more details.

Be sure to note food allergies and preferences when you register online!

Teams & Tees

Coders, designers, subject area experts – all are welcome. Pull your team together in advance, or meet up through an online tool to find a team. Either way, bring your own unique skills to a team of 2-4.

Register today.

Tools & Tech

Bring your own laptops loaded with standard design and development software.

See additional resources available to your team

Lightning Talks

Polished presentation skills are a core part of your professional development. In that spirit, sharing your ideas will be as much a part of the  experience as creating them. You’ll present your amazing work to our panel of judges in 5-minute lightning talks.

Team Prizes

  • 1st Prize – $1,000
  • Runner Up – $500
  • Event Raffles

Winning projects will be featured on the Hesburgh Libraries website.

Read the judging criteria.

2017 Judges

Shreya Kumar

Assistant Teaching Professor
Computer Science and Engineering

Shreya is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of Notre Dame. She is a Software Engineer with interests in human-computer interaction and focuses on team communication in software development and understanding barriers to technology adoption faced by digital novice communities like senior citizens. Her research interests areas are Software Engineering, Human Computer Interaction, Gerontechnology, Digital Literacy Initiatives, and recruitment of women in STEM fields.

David Seidl

Senior Director for Campus Technology Services
Office of Information Technologies

David is the Senior Director for Campus Technology Services at the University of Notre Dame. As the Senior Director for CTS, David is responsible for central platform and operating system support, database administration and services, identity and access management, application services, electronic content management, email and digital signage. During his 20+ year IT career, he has served in a variety of technical and information security roles including leading Notre Dame's information security team as Notre Dame's Director of Information Security. He currently teaches a popular course on networking and security for Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and has written books on security certification and cyberwarfare.

Aaron Striegel

Associate Chair, Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Aaron is currently the Associate Chair and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame. In addition, he also serves on the Executive Committee of the Wireless Institute and is a member of the steering committee for the NDXG app tied to Campus Crossroads. Aaron’s research focuses on instrumentation and performance improvements for wireless in crowded venues, specifically with an eye towards the interplay of cellular, WiFi, and social networks. His further research interests include computer security, network visualization, and network scaling.

Ruth Tillman

Digital Collections Librarian
Hesburgh Libraries

Ruth works with digitization and technical teams to bring Notre Dame collections online and make them more accessible to the community. She translates user needs into technical specifications and recommendations for the library’s digital collections development teams. Ruth also liaises outside the University, exploring avenues to get Notre Dame content into state and national digital collections such as HathiTrust, Indiana Memory, and DPLA. In the spirit of hackathons, Ruth often writes Python or PHP scripts to turn rote tasks into batch processes.

Judging Criteria

This guide lists the categories for judging the projects that will be presented at the conclusion of the hackathon. Each category has a weighted percentage that will be used to calculate the final score for each team. This explanatory material should be used as a guide for scoring each area.

Innovation 30%

The project takes a unique, interesting, and creative approach to solving the Information Overload problem as identified by the team. This criterion looks at novel or cutting edge methods for user interaction, data manipulation and presentation, and use of new technology.

Impact 30%

The proposed solution should have a significant impact on the challenges that stem from Information Overload. For example, solutions could change the way users organize, communicate, schedule, or manage our personal, academic, or work lives.

Usability 20%

Usability represents ease-of-use in engaging with content and services. The project should exemplify the highest standards of intuitive and elegant User Experience Design (UX). The project should easily, pleasantly, safely, and elegantly help users to cut through information clutter.

Teamwork 10%

The team’s process reflects strong synergy and organization skills. Teamwork emphasizes the way in which the team members cooperate in order to create their product. The team should involve every member in the creative process and try to take advantage of individual strengths. This should be evident in the final presentation.

Presentation 10%

Team clearly communicates developmental challenges and the final value of the project. The final presentation of the product to the judges should be professional, well-structured, and meaningful. Keep in mind creativity, style, and engagement with the audience.


Hesburgh Libraries Hackathon Code of Conduct

In keeping with the codes of conduct set forth in du lac, our Library Hackathon seeks to is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, previous hackathon attendance or computing experience (or lack of any of the aforementioned). We do not tolerate harassment of hackathon participants in any form.

Photography is encouraged, but other participants must be given a reasonable chance to opt out from being photographed. If they object to the taking of their photograph, comply with their request. It is inappropriate to take photographs in contexts where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

If you have witnessed or experienced any transgressions of this Code of Conduct at the Hackathon please tell a member of the staff immediately.

2017 Winners

First Place

Class Understanding Rater

An application where students in class anonymously indicate in real time how well they are understanding a lecture

Elicia Dennis, Sociology, College of Arts & Letters
Chisom Igwe (not pictured), Computer Science, College of Engineering

Runner Up

Irish Grub

A personalized application for tracking menus, nutritional information, and preferred meals and dining halls

John Casey, Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Aaron Crafis, Computer Engineering, College of Engineering


This is about collaborating to create something innovative. The most innovative teams, it turns out, have diverse members—with unique interests and expertise—that come together in surprising ways. Are you a developer, a usability expert, a designer, a big-ideas person, or a skilled team leader? Regardless of your unique talents, you’ll each play a strong role in the success of your team.

Teams may have as few as 2 but no more than 4 members. We recommend 4 diversely skilled people to help navigate through the many phases of project work:

  • Identify a problem or need
  • Imagine and plan an innovative project
  • Design and build that project
  • Document and present the project in a 5-minute lightning talk


Great! Each team member should register individually and indicate that they already have a team. Be sure to note your individual needs in the online registration form as well.


Click here to post to our Hackathon Google Group and connect with others who are also looking for a team. Once you find a team, complete your individual registration. If you need assistance, email


Participants must register online before 5pm on Friday, March 31.


What to Bring

Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops to the event. For those of you who are coders and designers – we can only supply limited assistance with software installation, so please make sure that you have installed any tools that you may need – to plan, develop, and demonstrate your project during the lightning talk. This may include web servers such as Apache or application containers such as Unicorn or WebKit. Some software frameworks such as Rails supply almost everything you need. For other languages or frameworks, you'll need to be familiar with how they are configured. We have listed several resources on our resources page that you may be interested in using for your project.

Also, some personal items to consider having on hand throughout the day:

  • charger cords for all devices
  • refillable coffee mug
  • refillable water bottle
  • earbuds or earphones
  • layered clothing for variable temps throughout the building

Hackathon Resources

Here are some resources that are publically available for participants to use. A link to the resource as well as a short description is included.

Hackathon Resources

Print Resources

Here are some resources that are publically available for Hackathon participants to use. A link to the resource as well as a short description is included.

API Resources

Apiary A free tool that can be used to design, prototype, document and test APIs. Prototype APIs are web accessible and very customizable. Simple APIs can be created in minutes.

Google Maps This API allows a developer to embed Google indoor and base maps into an application. This tool can be used to place an interactive map, or Street View panorama in your application with a simple HTTP request.

Facebook Connect your application into the Facebook ecosystem in order to share information and socialize your application.

Twitter Bring Twitter content into your application or connect your application into the Twitter social network.

LibraryThing LibraryThing connects readers to other readers and what they are reading. This includes a robust recommendation service, and allows users to organize their collections and find related material through other users. The APIs tie directly into the service, and there are several flavors that can be used including pure Javascript interfaces as well as traditional web services.

Goodreads The Goodreads API contains a rich set of functionality for drawing out information about sources as well as extensive reviews for all types of reading material. The API is divided into multiple categories based on author identities, books, comments, groups of materials, and much more.

Amazon The Amazon API service is free up to a limited volume of requests, but allows developers to tie into the rich set of digital services and the huge volume of commercial data that Amazon collects in order to categorize and analyze reading materials.

Box Developers can use Box for a variety of purposes for sharing information or storing digital content. Teams planning on using a service of this type should be aware that they will need experience with web based authentication and authorization services.

WorldCat This search API has access to nearly all North American and European library resources

Open Archives The Open Archives API provides access to online journal content that has been harvested using the OAI-PMH protocol (open archives initiative protocol for metadata harvesting).

Programming Languages

Any programming language is welcome! If you don't have a favorite, or are looking to learn a new one, here is a short list of widely used open source programming languages to look at. You may want to choose a language based on which web framework (see below) you like the best.

PHP Server-side HTML embedded scripting language

Perl Scripting language that is highly useful for processing text, automating background processing, pattern matching, and small scale CGI applications.

Ruby This scripting language has grown in popularity over the last five years, and is the core programming language used in the Ruby on Rails web application framework.

Python A popular object oriented scripting language that is useful for a wide range of programming applications both for back end automation as well as front end web services.

Shell Scripting Widely used for task automation and tying together a group of diverse scripts or tools for background processes. Shell scripts are not recommended for implementing web accessible services.

Web Application Frameworks

Frameworks can be used to quickly prototype a web application and provide a large number of built in tools and services for developers. This is a list of some of the more popular web application frameworks. Keep in mind that if your team chooses to adopt one of these frameworks for your project, the Hackathon team does not provide this software, and you will need to be responsible for knowing how to use it effectively with little to no support.

Django A Python MVC web framework. Django is arguably the most popular Python based framework currently in use.

Drupal PHP web application framework with a variety of pluggable modules. This framework has a bit more overhead than some of the others and it isn’t as easy to quickly prototype a site with it.

Turbogears Another Python based web framework that has taken some of the best features of other frameworks like DJango and Rails and combined them into an easy to use set of tools.

Ruby on Rails This popular framework has Ruby as the core language, and is another MVC framework. Rails provides a great deal of functionality and it is relatively easy to quickly produce a prototype web application with it.

Zend The most popular open source PHP / MVC web framework, it boasts high performance, security and extensibility.

CakePHP Another rapidly deployable PHP framework, CakePHP boasts some of the easyist setups for any of the frame works mentioned so far.

Catalyst This is the only Perl based web framework mentioned here. It is a little more difficult to work with than many of the others, and requires an extensive knowledge of the Perl scripting language.

Javascript Tools

jQuery One of the most popular javascript libraries, jQuery offers a wide range of tools and APIs for programming sophisticated, highly interactive web user interfaces.

Underscore.js This javascript API compliments other javascript libraries very well, and provides a great deal of enhanced features that are well documented and easy to use.

Node.js Node is a javascript client side application framework. It is the basis for many other javascript frameworks.

Angular.js Angular is a competitor to the other javascript application frameworks but is very mature and has an active open source development community. There is a little more overhead to using Angular, but it provides a large set of functionality.

React.js React is an example of a new trend in developing front end web applications. These are commonly referred to as "single page apps". The React model is a little counter intuitive but once mastered it provides the developer with a great deal of power and follows object oriented design principles.

CSS Frameworks

Foundation One of the most mature CSS frameworks on the open source market.

Material UI This set of CSS guidelines from Google is becoming a standard for writing clean and consistent user interfaces. It translates well to any environment and screen configuration.

Bootstrap This is another tried and true CSS framework that has been in use for some time, and is one of the easier to use and reliable CSS frameworks.

Blueprint Blueprint was one of the first CSS frameworks to introduce a flexible grid system, and allows the designer to easily position elements on a web page using only CSS.

Mobile Development

While we encourage teams to explore mobile interfaces for their projects, we can offer very little support for prototyping a fully native mobile application. Our recommendation is that teams focus on the web UI tools listed above which can then be translated into the mobile application environments using various tools.

Android Information about the Android SDK

IPhone SDK (IOS) Information about the IOS SDK



Friday, March 31

Time Event
5-7pm Registration, orientation and team sign-up*
Introduction of space, advisors, schedule
Pizza served
*All participants must attend and officially sign in
7pm-11pm Competition begins
11pm Hesburgh Library closes – you may resume competition offsite

Saturday, April 1

Time Event
9:30am-6pm Onsite competition resumes
Snacks and drinks available all day
Lunch on your own
6pm-7pm Dinner provided
7pm-Overnight Competition continues
Hesburgh Library open overnight for participants – you may resume competition offsite

Sunday, April 2

Time Event
Overnight-Noon Competition continues
Prepare for Lightning Talks

Snacks and drinks available all day
Noon-1pm Lunch Provided
Finalize Lightning Talks
1pm-2pm Teams present their projects in 5-minute Lightning Talks 

2pm-3pm Judging
Winners announced

Print the Schedule


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