April 16 - May 1

Save the Date

April 16 – May 1

Check back soon for more information.

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.

This year's theme is: Building Connections. Teams will develop ideas that leverage technology to discover, visualize, or create connections among people, ideas, data, or more.

Whether you have new answers to old problems or see entirely new challenges to tackle, bring your fresh ideas and your digital skills to reimagine what's possible.  

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2021 Winners

Read the announcement about the 2021 winners.

First Place - $3,000


Tether is a personal relationship management system that aims to increase the quality (over quantity) of connections by helping users organize their contacts into categories, log important information and interactions, and set reminders to reach out to them. Tether has the power to impact anyone and can be used as both a social tool or a professional tool.

Parker Chun, Junior, College of Engineering, Computer Science
Jacob Mozdzen, Junior, College of Engineering, Computer Science
Joshua Tabar, Junior, College of Engineering, Computer Science

Second Place - $2,000


Bia is a match-making service that quickly connects Notre Dame students who want to grab a meal at the dining halls. The goal is to help alleviate loneliness (especially during the pandemic) and build connections among students. Bia offers a structured and comfortable environment for those who might be shy or have social anxiety.

Vaibhav Arora, Sophomore, College of Engineering, Computer Science
Carter Goldman, Sophomore, College of Engineering, Computer Science
Bryan Ingwersen, Sophomore, College of Engineering, Computer Science
Colton Kammes, Sophomore, College of Engineering, Computer Science

Third Place - $1,000


Campfire builds community and eliminates food waste through a system of food cameras that allow people to share leftovers. Through the app, users can view food cameras installed in their community (i.e. dorm kitchens or lounges) to see what type of food is available. Users can also connect with others while picking up and dropping off their food.

Gus Hauge, First Year, College of Arts and Letters, Computer Science
Rachel Johnson, First Year, College of Science, Physics
Jonathan Pal, First Year, College of Science, Physics and Mathematics


Welcome to the Hesburgh Libraries Virtual , where teams of developers, graphic designers, subject specialists, and other creatives come together to reimagine solutions to everyday problems. We provide resources and technical assistance. You collaborate, create, and innovate to bring new solutions that help with this year’s theme: Building Connections. This competition is open to all Notre Dame undergraduate students. Register today!

We are dedicated to providing a fun and harassment-free experience for everyone. Learn more from our Code of Conduct.

When & Where

April 16 – May 1
Online via Zoom

April 16, 7pm – 8pm
Orientation/Team Sign-In

April 16, 8pm – May 1, noon

May 1, noon – TBD
Lightning Talks, Judging, Awards


Coders, designers, subject area experts — all are welcome.

Pull your team together in advance, or meet up through our #find-a-team Slack channel (invitation link sent after registration). Either way, bring your own unique skills to a team of 2-4. Open to all Notre Dame undergrads.

Tools & Tech

Use your own laptops with standard design and development software.

See additional resources available to your team.

Lightning Talk Video Presentations

Presentation skills are a core part of your professional development. In that spirit, sharing your ideas will be as much a part of the Hackathon experience as creating them. You’ll pre-record a video lightning talk to share your amazing work with our panel of judges during the virtual presentation and awards event.

Team Prizes

1st Place – $3000

2nd Place – $2000

3rd Place – $1000

Honorable Mention – $500Up to 2 awarded

Read the judging criteria.


Space is limited. Register today!

2021 Judges

Brandon Rich

Lead Architecture Specialist,
IT Strategy, Planning & Architecture


LaRita Robinson

Senior Programmer,
Hesburgh Libraries


Ian Alford

Manager, Enterprise Systems Unit,
Hesburgh Libraries


Tim Weninger

Associate Professor,
Computer Science and Engineering


Judging Criteria

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, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, previous hackathon attendance or computing experience. We do not tolerate harassment of hackathon participants in any form.

In order to foster a positive and professional learning environment we encourage the following kinds of behaviors:

  • Use welcoming and inclusive language
  • Be respectful of different viewpoints and experiences
  • Gracefully accept constructive criticism
  • Focus on what is best for all of us in the community
  • Show courtesy and respect towards other community members


All participants understand that the Hesburgh Libraries 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 Hackathon 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.

The competition is open to Notre Dame undergraduate students. 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
  • Present the project in a pre-recorded video lightning talk


Great! Each team member should register individually and indicate that they already have a team on the registration form. Be sure to note any individual accommodation needs in the online registration form, as well. Teams will submit their final rosters by noon on Saturday, April 17.


When you register, you will receive a confirmation email containing a link to join the event Slack workspace. Use the #find-a-team channel to post a brief bio and connect with potential teammates prior to the event orientation. Teams will submit their final rosters by noon on Saturday, April 17. If you are not able to find a team this year, we invite you to participate in a future event!


Participants must register online before 7pm on Friday, April 16.
Teams will submit their final rosters by noon on Saturday, April 17.


What You'll Need

Participants are encouraged to use their own laptops for the event. For those 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.

Hackathon Resources

Here are some resources that are publicly available for participants to use.

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 Libraries

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 to 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).

Distant Reader Intended for anybody who reads, the Distant Reader takes text as input, does analysis against it, and outputs sets of structured data, affectionately called "study carrels".

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 frameworks 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 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 many 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 counterintuitive 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 tool makes it especially easy to rapidly prototype front-ends using Bootstrap 3.

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 participants must abide by the following rules:

  • Teams must be made up exclusively of 2-4 Notre Dame undergraduate 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, after the team roster deadline.
  • 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) after the lightning talk video submission deadline.
  • 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, or other unsporting behavior.


Monday, March 1

Time Event
Midnight Registration opens

Friday, April 16

Time Event
7:00pm Registration closes
7:00pm — 8:00pm Orientation and Q&A (via Zoom*)

Saturday, April 17

Time Event
Noon Team Roster/Project Registration Form Due (Online Form**)

Friday, April 30

Time Event
11:59pm Lightning Talk Video Recording & Project Summary Due

Saturday, May 1

Time Event
Noon Presentations & Judging Begins (via Zoom*)
2:00 pm Winners announced (via Zoom*)

*Zoom connection information will be emailed to the email address used to register for the Hackathon approximately 1 hour prior to the start time.

**Information about where to find all event submission form links will be provided to registered participants during the Hackathon orientation session on Friday, April 16.

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