March 29 - 31

Successful projects depend on interdisciplinary expertise and cross-functional teams. Designing for digital is a shared conversation with diverse stakeholders. Bring your unique talents to help shape the vision and work of your team.

Synergy: Holistic Solutions for the Whole Student is this year’s theme. Teams will develop ideas that help students to achieve more balance and better integrate the complexities of daily 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, shareable, 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: Synergy: Holistic Solutions for the Whole Student. 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 29 – 31
Hesburgh Library
Collaboration Hub Room 231A/B/C

Fri 5:30pm – 7:00pm • Orientation/Sign-In
Fri 7:00pm – Sun 1:00pm • Competition 

Sun 1:00pm – 3:00pm • Lightning Talks, Judging, Raffles, Awards

Meals & Snacks

We’ll provide some meals, caffeine, 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 our Google Group to find a team. Either way, bring your own unique skills to a team of 2-4.

Space is limited: Register today.

Tools & Tech

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

We offer Lightning Tutorials to quickly educate your team on different tools and frameworks.

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 Place – $5,000

  • 2nd Place – $3000

  • 3rd Place – $1000

Winning projects will be featured on the Hesburgh Libraries website.

Read the 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

Social Practices

In keeping with the codes of conduct set forth in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life, our Hackathon 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.


All participants understand that the Hesburgh Hackathon may be photographed, videotaped, and or recorded by the Hesburgh Libraries, and grant the Hesburgh Libraries the right to use or refrain from using their name and/or likeness without their approval or compensation. Photography by participants 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.

Inappropriate Behavior

If you witness or experience any transgressions of this Code of Conduct at the Hackathon, please tell a member of the staff immediately, or email


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 7pm on Friday, March 29.


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.


We offer several 15-20 minute tutorials designed to bring your team up to speed in a particular framework or tool. All tutorials are optional and on a drop-in basis, covering the following topics:

  • Up and running with jQuery the javascript library for DOM traversal and manipulation, event handling, animation, etc.
  • Up and running with Bootstrap 3, the HTML + CSS + JS front-end framework
  • Up and running with JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)
  • Up and running with REST API development

See the schedule for more information.

Intellectual Property

The Hesburgh Libraries does not claim any license or intellectual property rights in participants' submissions, except for the limited license to review those submissions as part of Hackathon judging and awarding of prizes. However, in the general spirit of hackathons, participants are encouraged, but not required, to share their submissions under an open source license. Participants should also be aware that their use of any open source software, packages or other APIs may bind them to an open source license. Whatever license participants choose, they should ensure they clearly understand their rights and responsibilities under that license. For instance, if participants do choose to share their submission under an open source license, this may impact their future rights to restrict the use and redistribution of their work.

To learn more about open source, share-alike, and other software licensing agreements, including rights and responsibilities associated with the tools that are offered for your use at the Hackathon, please visit our Guide to the Hesburgh

Hackathon Resources

Print Resources

Here are some resources that are publicly 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 functionalities 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 easiest 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 functionalities.

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. The Bootstrap.r tool makes it especially easy to rapidly prototype front-ends using Bootstrap.

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



All Hesburgh Library Hackathon participants must abide by the following rules:

  • Teams must be made up exclusively of 2-4 Notre Dame students. Student competitors may not be organizers, volunteers, judges, sponsors, or occupy any other position of special privilege at the event.
  • Teams may not add members, nor drop below the minimum of 2 members, once the competition starts.
  • All team projects must be coded in a programming or scripting language.
  • Teams may use open source libraries and frameworks in their projects, but all original work on a project should be done during the competition time. Teams may use an idea they had before the event and may work on an idea that they have worked on before, as long as they do not reuse code they have written outside the competition.
  • Teams may not continue working on their projects (code) or presentations after formal presentations have begun.
  • Teams may be disqualified from the competition at the organizers' discretion. Reasons might include but are not limited to breaking the Rules, breaking the Code of Conduct (see below), or other unsporting behavior.


Friday, March 29

Time Event
5:30pm – 6:00pm Orientation – 107 Carey Auditorium
6:00pm – 7:00pm Team Sign-up/sign-in (pizza served)
7:00pm – 11:00pm Competition begins
11:00pm Hesburgh Library closes – you may resume competition offsite

Saturday, March 30

Time Event
9:30am – 6:00pm Onsite competition resumes
Lightning Tutorials, Room 246
10:00 am Up and running with jQuery the javascript library for DOM traversal and manipulation, event handling, animation, etc.
Presenter: Randy Harrison
10:30 am Up and running with Bootstrap 3, the HTML + CSS + JS front-end framework.
Presenter: Randy Harrison
11:00 am Up and running with JSON (Javascript Object Notation)
Presenter: Don Brower
11:30 am Up and running with REST API development
Presenter: Mark Dehmlow
12:00 noon Lunch in Room 231
6:00pm – 7:00pm Dinner in Room 231
7:00pm – Midnight Competition continues
Midnight Hesburgh Library closes – you may resume competition offsite

Sunday, March 31

Time Event
9:30am Onsite competition resumes
Prepare for Lightning Talks

Snacks available all day
Noon – 1:00pm Lunch Provided
Finalize Lightning Talks
1:00pm – 3:00pm 107 Carey Auditorium
Teams present their projects in 5-minute Lightning Talks

Print the Schedule


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