Culture Hack Day

This is now a bit overdue, but three weeks ago I attended the Culture Hack Day.

My hack used the data made available by the UK Crafts Council.  Just before the last general election, they created a website asking the public “Why does craft matter to you?” and provided a space for people to submit their answers.  While some of this data is exposed on the website, most of it is not.  As there has been over 1000 submissions, I wanted to create a new way to explore the responses that focused on the content and not external data such as the city of the person making the submission.

The result can be seen in the video.  When you visit a website, a submitted quote about why craft matters is shown.  You can then click on any word in that quote and a new quote will appear which also uses that word.  If there isn’t another quote with that word, the same quote is shown.

The hack is built using the Python library xlrd to read in the Excel spreadsheet containing the Craft Matters data into a Python dictionary. The nltk library is used to tokenize the words in each of the quotes. A Cherrypy server then randomly serves up a quote with each word being a link to a search for another quote containing that word. A little css makes it pretty, and that’s it. All of the code (but not the xls files with the data) is available here.

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