A hackathon is an event in which a group of people, traditionally computer programmers, assemble for a short time-frame and collaborate to produce creative or innovative pieces of software under a specific set of constraints, and typically with prizes awarded for the most outstanding projects. More broadly, a hackathon may refer to “focused innovation efforts.” For example, HackDuke has, since 2013, helped produce hundreds of amazing projects from Duke’s talented undergraduate programmers and engineers.

The HistoryHackathon adds a historical twist to the hackathon concept. It is a contest for undergraduate student teams researching historical documents and creating imaginative projects over a 72-hour window from October 23-25, 2015. Projects can include performances, essays, websites, infographics, lectures, podcasts, or anything we didn’t think of. A panel of experts will judge the projects and rank the top three teams. Winners will receive cash prizes!

2015 History Hackers in Rubenstein.

The event is designed for teams of undergraduate students to undertake concentrated research in the Rubenstein Library, applying a variety of analytical methods to produce a self-contained product of their findings.

Where: The EDGE + Rubenstein Library
When: Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25, 2015

Open to undergraduates of all majors, all interests, and all ages.


  • Collaborative research, analysis, and project management
  • Creative production and presentation of historical materials
  • Highlight underutilized historical sources and themes
  • Deadline-oriented, competitive research, analysis, writing, and presentation
  • Vertical integration between undergraduates, graduates, and faculty
  • Promotion of the History Department, Perkins, and Rubenstein Library resources
  • New methods of digital analysis and presentation


Planning Committee

Trudi Abel, PhD, Research Services Archivist, Rubenstein Library, Duke University

Carson Holloway, Librarian for History of Science and Technology, Military History, British and Irish Studies, Canadian Studies and General History, Duke University

Kelley Lawton, Head, East Campus Libraries and Subject Librarian for United States History, Duke University

Ryan Poe, PhD Candidate, U.S. History, Duke University

Bill Sharman, PhD Student, European History, Duke University

Ashley Young, PhD Candidate and Food Historian, Duke University