HackyHours at ZB MED are informal social gatherings that give attendees the opportunity to talk about code, tools, and research. The name and concept was brought from Würzburg, where Till, Silvia and Konrad had taught several Software Carpentry workshop with other instructors. Free coffee is provided and everyone can bring a topic (which might not be discussed directly in the session). It is up to the moderators to balance the interests and demands of the attendees.
In addition to negotiating the different backgrounds of the attendees, the HackyHour moderators at ZB MED also have to account for language barriers. While the staff at ZB MED speak German, much of the scientific staff speak English, in addition to other languages. Despite these challenges, ZB MED strives to make the HackyHours inclusive and enable everyone to participate. To do this, English is the applied language and a simultaneous peer-to-peer translation to German is provided, if necessary.
HackHours programmes at ZB MED are very diverse as they are often influenced by schedules and deadlines. Since November 2018, HackyHours have come to include not only the local ZB MED community but also colleagues from other institutions. Topics in the meantime have covered introduction to Python, experiences using different integrated development environments or IDEs, single board computer Arduino projects, and Docker containers.
Prof. Rebholz-Schuhmann, Scientific Director of ZB MED, says: “HackyHours at ZB MED have provided an opportunity for people to come together, share and discuss different topics, and to continue learning. This is an important task for us as an information centre.”
ZB MED and their community are curious to see where their HackyHours will lead them to in the near future. The combination of The Carpentries training and HackyHours provide a helpful framework for expanding digital literacy at ZB MED and preparing the centre for research services moving forward.