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Welcome to Berkman Center Google Summer of Code 2012

The Berkman Center was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. We represent a network of faculty, students, fellows, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and virtual architects working to identify and engage with the challenges and opportunities of cyberspace.

We investigate the real and possible boundaries in cyberspace between open and closed systems of code, of commerce, of governance, and of education, and the relationship of law to each. We do this through active rather than passive research, believing that the best way to understand cyberspace is to actually build out into it.

Read more about the Berkman Center.

Check out the GSOC overview page.

Contact Us

IRC: irc:// IRC logs here


Idea Page by Project

The opportunities at Berkman break down into several projects.

Loosely Defined

Digital Public Library of America

The DPLA planning initiative grew out of an October 2010 meeting at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, which brought together over 40 representatives from foundations, research institutions, cultural organizations, government, and libraries to discuss best approaches to building a national digital library.

Library Innovation Lab

The Library Innovation Lab is a small group within the Harvard University Library system that implements in software ideas about how libraries can be ever more valuable. We hack the good sense of discovering and delivering more capability and value.


MetaLAB (at) Harvard is a research collaborative exploring the use and impact of technology in the arts and humanities. Our projects include (but are not limited to) database-driven interactive documentary, visualization and analysis of large-scale textual corpora, and the curation of digital and physical media through web-based and mobile applications.

VoJo is a hosted mobile blogging platform that makes it easy for people to send stories to the web from inexpensive mobile phones via voice calls, SMS, and MMS.


TagTeam is a project funded by the Harvard Library Lab to create an RSS and Atom aggregrator with the ability to filter and republish in a flexible way. It's reaching a 1.0 release VERY soon.

Strictly Defined

Check-in Check-out Asset Tracker

Check-in Check-out Asset Tracker is a plugin to Redmine to help organize and manage physical and non-physical assets for an organization. This is similar to a libraries lending system. Asset types will range in attribute and will include things ranging in type from cameras and laptops to software licenses as well as other unforeseen assets.

Data Portraits

Data portraits depict their subjects’ accumulated data rather than their faces. they can be visualizations of discussion contributions, browsing histories, social networks, travel patterns, etc. they are subjective renderings that mediate between the artist’s vision, the subject’s self-presentation, and the audience’s interest. Designed to evocatively depict an individual, a data portrait can be a decorative object or be used as an avatar, one’s information body for an online space.

Fair Use Tool

The Fair Use Tool is an interactive online system that guides users through fair use principles in a playful way, enabling students to determine whether their reuses of copyrighted content are plausibly fair use. or if they would be more likely to be deemed copyright infringements by a judge. The tool provides sample court cases, relevant inputs based on court cases, and feedback. With practice, the goal is that both teachers and students will build an understanding of how fair use principles work in practice, creating a knowledgeable public informed of their rights and thereby supporting the online content creation culture of mash-ups and remixing.


Herdict collects and disseminates real-time, crowdsourced information about Internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and other blockages. Based at the Berkman Center at Harvard University, it is the first and only large-scale project of its kind. When individuals can’t access a site, they can report that experience to Herdict through browser toolbars, e-mail, Twitter or Herdict aggregates this data to create a real-time map of global Internet health. This data can be sorted and visualized by country, URL, and date, creating a picture of changes as they are happening.

Media Cloud

Media Cloud is a project that crawls and analyzes on-line media content. It collects, tags, and analyzes the full stream of news stories from a wide variety of traditional and new media sources. It aims to track news content comprehensively and provide free, open, and flexible tools to allow researchers to perform their own analysis.


PageOneX is an innovative approach to the analysis and visualization of front page newspaper coverage, that enables communities and advocacy groups to track certain news threads in a easy and visual way.

Paper Machines

Paper Machines is the project of a metaLAB-affiliated scholar seeking to develop a scripting, analysis, and visualization toolkit for rapidly transforming the ephemeral, paper-based archives of development and advocacy organizations into digital textual archives durable and flexible enough to be used by scholars, journalists, and political actors.


TagTeam is a project funded by the Harvard Library Lab to create an RSS and Atom aggregrator with the ability to filter and republish in a flexible way. It's reaching a 1.0 release VERY soon.

Application Template

Application Template This is the preferred template for submitting your application to work on a Berkman Center project.


Answers to commonly asked questions. This includes a set of requirements around working hours, who can apply, other commitments you might have for the summer, etc. PLEASE READ!