Rewind story: the world’s first Wikipedia town in Monmouthshire

Life and history in Monmouth is the subject of an extremely ambitious project that will allow people to use a smartphone to scan barcodes to get information about places of interest sent to their mobile. The town of Monmouth will soon have free to access wifi throughout.

The project, dubbed ‘Monmouthpedia’ is the first in the world that Wikipedia (the online encyclopaedia) has based on a town. It showcases Monmouthshire on a world-wide stage.

Special barcodes, known as QR codes, are being used to allow the user access information from Wikipedia. The initiative came about after local man John Cummings attended a Wikipedia event and heard about a project using the QR codes technology in Derby Museum. He said:

“I said ‘that’s a good idea, you could do it for a whole town’ and they said ‘no, YOU could do it for a whole town!”

Mr Cummings has since worked with Roger Bamkin, of Wikimedia UK to bring the innovative idea to the town of Monmouth.

Council officers got involved early on, supporting the Monmouthpedia appeal for people to contribute articles, reference material and photographs on interesting places, people, objects and buildings of Monmouth. The council appointed John as its own Wikipedian in residence and then committed to bringing free wifi for everyone in Monmouth town.

Here, Kellie Beirne, John Cummings and Mike Booth tell the story of how it’s going.

Monmouthpedia gives visitors and locals an unparalleled experience of the place. It belongs to and can be contributed to by everyone and involves people from all over the world contributing their time and knowledge.

Monmouthpedia will use QRpedia codes, a type of bar code a smartphone can read through its camera that takes you to a Wikipedia article. QR codes are extremely useful, as physical signs have no way of displaying the same amount of information and in a potentially huge number of languages.

Monmouthpedia aims to have 1,000 QRpedia codes in Monmouth this year. If you think you can help contact info@wikimedia.org.uk.

MonmouthpediA from Andrew James Sykes on Vimeo.

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