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The ANZREG Alma Cloud Apps Virtual Hackathon


April 22, 2021 | 3 min read |

Peta Hopkins, Manager, Digital Library Services, Bond University

The Australia New Zealand Regional Ex Libris Group (ANZREG) sponsored an Alma Cloud Apps Hackathon during March 2021. Our goals were collaboration, learning and solving problems. ANZREG usually holds a Developers’ Day each year, but the pandemic canceled our 2020 plans for that. As a result the ANZREG Committee was keen to host an event early in 2021 for developers, and so we dreamed up a virtual hackathon.

In this post, we’ll share our experiences from planning and running the hackathon and the amazing results the hackathon participants were able to achieve.


Planning began in January with the setting of goals, target dates, and a general outline of the event. We set bi-weekly calls with a core team that included ANZREG Committee members Rachel Salby from La Trobe University and Amelia Rowe from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), former ANZREG Committee member Sue Harmer from the University of New South Wales, several colleagues from Ex Libris, and me. We prepared a detailed project plan and began to work on the communication plan to publicize the event within the ANZREG membership.

We compiled a list of ideas for apps by reviewing the Ex Libris Idea Exchange, brainstorming with the members of the planning committee, and reaching out to the community. After the date for ideas submissions passed, colleagues from Ex Libris provided a feasibility score representing how appropriate it would be to implement as a Cloud App. A short list of 5 ideas that could be assigned to the teams was decided as being achievable and useful.

Two weeks before the hackathon we hosted a webinar on UX Design. Alex Daly from UNSW presented ideas which helped participants think about optimal user experience. We also used the opportunity to review the Cloud App style guide.

As the final date for registration approached, we began actively recruiting participants. It was important for us to have teams that included members with various skills, including developers, designers, subject matter experts, and Alma library management system users. In the end we had enough registrants to create four teams to tackle the app ideas. Before the hackathon started, we shared a list of resources with participants for them to review, including the Cloud Apps Getting Started Guide. These resources are listed on the event’s page on the ANZREG website.