One Week | One Tool: Ultra-Rapid Open Source Development Among Strangers

  • Scott Hanrath, University of Kansas Libraries,

Slides on SlideShare

Code4Lib 2011, Tuesday 8 February, 13:50 - 14:10

In summer 2010, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, supported by an NEH Summer Institute grant, gathered 12 ‘digital humanists’ for an intense week of collaboration they dubbed ‘One Week One Tool: a digital humanities barn raising.’ The group – several of whom hang their professional hats in libraries and most of whom were previously unacquainted – was asked to spend one week together brainstorming, specifying, building, publicizing, and releasing an open source software tool of use to the digital humanities community. The result was Anthologize, a free, open source plugin that transforms WordPress into a platform for publishing electronic texts in formats including PDF, ePub, and TEI; in other words, a “blog-to-book” tool. This presentation will focus on how One Week One Tool addressed the challenges of collaborative open source development. From the perspectives of two library coders on the team, we will describe and provide lessons learned from the One Week development process including: how the group structured itself without predefined roles; how the one week time frame and makeup of the group – which included scholars, grad students, librarians, museum professionals, instructional technologists, and more – influenced planning and development decisions; the roles of user experience and outreach efforts; the life of Anthologize since the end of the week; and thoughts on what a one week, one ‘library’ tool could look like.