Monmouthshire’s gone digital

Posted on January 2, 2012

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News of Monmouth being the world’s first Wikipedia town has cemented Monmouthshire as champions when it comes to connected residents, visitors and businesses.

We think we are one of the most digitally inspired counties in the world. Let us know what you think – if you know anyone else doing great work in Monmouthshire or other places that are digital leaders we’d love to hear about them.

So here are three reasons why we think the people of Monmouthshire are digital champs:

Monmouthpedia – the world’s first Wikipedia town

This story is all over Twitter as I type and is capturing the imaginations of tech-savvy people all over the world.

Image credit: QRpedia trial in Monmouth from Flickr

Image credit: QRpedia trial in Monmouth from Flickr

Wikipedia “wants people to contribute articles and photographs on interesting and notable places, people, artefacts and other aspects of Monmouth life.

New smart phone technology will allow users to scan barcodes at points of interest and have information about the landmark sent to their mobile.

Roger Bamkin, of Wikimedia UK, said: “You click on it [the code] with your phone and your phone senses that particular pattern and takes you to a website, in this case Wikipedia.”

Extract taken from this BBC news story.

Our people in Monmouthshire are a key to why we are digital leaders. They are switched on and eager to get involved in community life.

“There are a lot of opportunities for community involvement including teaching and learning of IT skills, local history, natural history, languages and people of different ages working together,” said a Wikipedia spokesman.

It seems that Monmouth’s long history is a key reason to Wikipedia’s focus on this particular town, with excavations carried out by the Monmouth Archaeological Society on key sites across the town unearthing a wealth of information about the early history of the area. Indeed, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) designated Monmouth as one of the top ten towns in the UK for archaeology.”

Extract taken from this story on thenextweb.com

Monmouth’s Shire Hall will this month appoint its own Wikipedian in residence and a number of training sessions to help people to publish their own contributions will be held at the historic building. Visitors to the hall can use the QRpedia codes to provide a guided tour of the Shire hall for visitors, a number of town trails will start from there & council officers are looking at how ‘augmented reality’ will give visitors to ‘see’ the Shire Hall in a new light.

Monmouth will have more than one thousand QR codes by April 2012.

You’ll be able to listen to the BBC Radio Wales interview BBC iPlayer (it’s 54 minutes in and available until Thursday 5th January) and also on BBC Radio Four’s magazine programme ‘You and Yours’ at 12noon on tomorrow – Tuesday, 3rd January.

To get involved read the Monmouthpedia page on Wikipedia

Our social media

We actively encourage our staff to use social media and last January (2011) we opened IT access to all staff to use these channels. This doesn’t mean we have members of staff idling away on Facebook all day. One of our values is openness and we trust our staff to make the most of the networks and conversations possible using social media. Social media is a great way for us to engage more effectively with colleagues, residents and partners so it’s an opportunity that can’t be missed.

It works because people in Monmouthshire (and all over the world) talk to us and tell us they like getting information in this more social way.

In 2011 we won awards for the way we use social media and we’re finalists in the UK Public Sector Digital Awards in January 2012. We did things like connecting with the best candidates for jobs using YouTube, setting up communities for Foster carers to learn from each other and live Twitter Q&As.

We’ve got lots of staff members using social media to engage with residents partners and also with other professionals in their field. Our staff want to work with the best people in the world and social media has made that a lot easier, cheaper and more exciting.

Some of the ways you can connect with us on social media are listed here www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/socialmedia

Our ‘Digital Deal’ strategy

Digital Deal sets out a vision for 2015 in which Monmouthshire becomes famous as:

  • The green and connected gateway to Wales
  • The UK hub for digital activity, innovation and advancement
  • A place that is synonymous with digital inclusion
  • A county of ‘connected homes’ and communities in which broadband is promoted as the ‘fourth utility’
  • A creator of high order jobs and connected social and cultural networks
  • A place that develops thriving and dynamic partnerships and collaboration with the cutting edge private sector
  • ‘Tactically Welsh, but strategically world class’

We’ve made a start across many departments and the best work is to come. Tourism in the county will give visitors an insight into the food, history and culture of this lovely county, business and residents will have access to great digital resources and superfast broadband, plus we’ll update you on more digital innovation as it happens.

You can read more about the digital deal framework policy agreed in March 2011 by our Cabinet on the council website.

Shire Hall

Posted by Helen in the communications team.

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