One Week | One Tool has built … Serendip-o-matic!

On Friday August 2, 2013, the One Week | One Tool digital team unveiled its web application, Serendip-o-matic. Unlike conventional search tools, this “serendipity engine” takes in your chosen text—such as an article, song lyrics, or a bibliography—then extracts key terms to deliver similar results from the vast online collections of the Digital Public Library of America, Europeana, and Flickr Commons. Because Serendip-o-matic asks sources to speak for themselves, users can step back and discover connections they never knew existed.

Serendip-o-matic: Let your sources surprise you.

Read the press release. Watch the live launch:

What is One Week | One Tool?

During the week of Sunday July 28 – Saturday August 3, 2013, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, brought together a group of twelve digital humanists of diverse disciplinary backgrounds and practical experience to build a working piece of scholarly software. A short course of training in principles of open source software development was followed by an intense six days of doing and a year of continued remote engagement, development, testing, dissemination, and evaluation. Comprising designers and developers as well as scholars, teachers, project managers, outreach specialists, and other non-technical participants, the group conceived a tool, outlined a roadmap, developed and disseminated an initial prototype, laid the ground work for building an open source community, and made first steps toward securing the project’s long-term sustainability. During 16 hour days of practical design, development, project management, and outreach, the group learned a range of new technical skills and the practical principles of collaboration, leadership, constraint setting, agile development, marketing, and community-building that are so important to the success of digital humanities projects. They learned these lessons not by listening to lectures, but in the high-stakes, hands-on environment of real-life software development.

One Week | One Tool is inspired by both longstanding and cutting-edge models of rapid community development. For centuries rural communities throughout the United States have come together for “barn raisings” when one of their number required the diverse set of skills and enormous effort required to build a barn—skills and effort no one member of the community alone could possess. In recent years, Internet entrepreneurs have likewise joined forces for crash “startup” or “blitz weekends” that bring diverse groups of developers, designers, marketers, and financiers together to launch a new technology company in the span of just two days. One Week | One Tool builds on these old and new traditions of community development and the natural collaborative strengths of the digital humanities community to produce something useful for humanities work and to help balance learning and doing in digital humanities training.

One Week | One Tool 2013 is:

Brian Croxall @briancroxall
Jack Dougherty @DoughertyJack
Meghan Frazer @MeghanFrazer
Scott Kleinman @sekleinman
Rebecca Sutton Koeser @suttonkoeser
Ray Palin @raypalin
Amy Papaelias @fontnerd
Mia Ridge @mia_out
Eli Rose @_EliRose
Amanda Visconti @LiteratureGeek
Scott Williams @moltude
Amrys Williams @shazamrys

#owot #buildsomething