Apps For Ghent – Hack the Library Summary

16/04/2015 - 11:21
Door in categorie(ën) AppsForGhent5, Nieuws

 Gent, March 31 2015



The Ghent Public Library showed a different side on march 21st 2015 when it hosted the fifth edition of the annual Apps For Ghent hackathon. This years theme was ‘hack the library’. Over 70 coders worked with the library’s open data to present the most innovative, original digital solution. 17 teams presented their work.

All participants had about five hours time to work on their project after which they had to pitch their idea in two minutes before a jury of library-professionals, IT experts and the general public of the library.

Some common threads emerged during the presentations. The social function of the library was affirmed, even more so in these digital times: crowdsource ‘mood statistics’ for books chapter by chapter, find a book-buddy for the elderly or disabled, Tinder the cover of books (always judge a book by its cover), expanding the library with all bookshelves in town,… These are just samples of the many great ideas presented during ‘Hack The Library’. Each concept gave its unique view on the idea that today’s libraries are evolving from mere Lending to full blown Sharing.

The Projects

Four teams were rewarded for their project:

  • the VOKA award (VOKA is the Flemish Chamber of Commerce) was issued to the project with the highest market potential. The team ‘Mean Lien Machine’ proposed ‘Book.Y’, a Tinder for Books. Using your reading history en likes ‘Book.Y’ suggests other titles from the catalogue that might catch your fancy.

  • The NERDLAB award went to the ‘Ugent Mediateam’ for ‘Books4Summer’. This concept allows one to assess how much underwear you need to remove from your luggage in order to take your holiday reading with you, and still respect the weight limits.  Which book fits you and your luggage?

  • The audience award went to one of the three Student team from the Artevelde College. With Moodlib you’ll get reading suggestions based on the mood you find yourself in.

  • Team POPS took away the first price with BIBR. This application expands the Library’s collection with the personal collection of the Ghent citizens, so more works are available for lending. This way the focus is redefined from a visit to the library to finding the book you are looking for and reading more. An Uber for libraries if you want, and a very innovative way to look at the function of today’s libraries. The Ghent citizens would take an active part in shaping their library of the future.

All presentations from all the teams can be found here:


Apps For Ghent is the annual open data co-creation event where citizens and developers are challenged to explore the possibilities of open data. The 2015 edition had ‘Hack the library’ for  a theme.

In collaboration with the Ghent University, Bibnet (the Flemish Library network) and DIGIPOLIS (IT partner of the City of Ghent) the Ghent Library released their catalogue and loan-history as open datasets, to be used by the participants.


The Ghent library is facing one of their biggest challenges to date. Mid 2016 the Library will move to a new hallmark location in the city centre. This transition has to be more than a physical relocation: the library’s  mission, methods and services are being evaluated and rephrased.

Digital innovation and experimentation with new ways to guide the public in todays abundance of information are key goals. The library wants to be more than your guide through bookshelfs. It wants  to participate in the public debate by using it’s collection and users.

Opening up the data is a first step in shaping this exciting prospect.


Hack the Library is an organisation by the City of Ghent, The Ghent Public Library,  Digipolis en Open Knowledge Belgium

Contact and info: (Open Data Ghent) (Library of Ghent) (Open Knowledge Belgium)



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