The Monmouthpedia Story

MonmouthpediaIt’s been a year of hard work and fun in getting Monmouthpedia working. We have had some amazing interest, brilliant stories and fabulous involvement from locals and people around the world, but there’s lot more to be done. Here’s a quick summary of the story so far, the benefits and what’s next.

The story so far

From CorpComms:

The story of MonmouthpediA began when local resident John Cummings attended a TEDx conference in October 2011.

There he learned how Derby Museum was using QRpedia as a quick, easy and free form of information sharing. Cummings suggested that it would be interesting if Wikipedia applied the concept to a whole town. Roger Bamkin, co-founder of QRpedia and chair of Wikimedia UK, simply challenged him with the immortal words: ‘No, YOU could do it for a whole town.’

Together Cummings, Bamkin and Wikimedia UK trustee Steve Virgin approached Monmouthshire County Council with the idea, which subsequently hired Cummings as its ‘Wikipedian in residence’.

Monmouthpedia uses QRpedia codes, a type of bar code that a smartphone can read through its camera that takes you to a Wikipedia article in your language. QR codes are useful, as physical signs have no way of displaying the same amount of information and in a potentially huge number of languages. This is a different scale of a wiki-project.

The effect on the town

The team leading on Monmouthpedia were delighted with the reaction from the town. Groups of people interested in history and churches and local spots of interest learned how to share their knowledge by contributing to Wikipedia – they had a good reason to learn web skills. Swancraft Studios in Monmouth got volunteers and a local art group with people of varying abilities making plaques with QRpedia codes for the town.

What’s in it for local businesses?

  • Monmouthpedia will attract a great deal of interest and footfall in the town. More people could mean more business for you.
  • As people tour the town, taking in knowledge about the buildings, history and the great features of the town, they could also learn about your profession.
    For instance, a baker could proudly display a QRpedia code linking to a Wikipedia page that gives the history of baking and bread making. You provide a specialist service such as website design? Put up a QRpedia code on your office entrance linking to a Wikipedia page explaining your craft.
  • This will give your visitors and staff a better understanding of what you do and who knows, while they’re reading they might think about using your services too.

What next?

Monmouthpediashire is coming soon, in 2013 we’re looking for people in the county to help to make it work. WiFi for Monmouth is progressing well – there were significant issues to overcome, but it is now back on track for implementation (if you stand by the Shire Hall you can pick up the free Monmouthpedia wifi listed as being available). We were a bit early in announcing the first Wifi town in Wales and we we want to ensure it’s up and running properly – there’ll be more news shortly.

What others said about Monmouthpedia

Loads of media and bloggers were talking about the project, read more on the press coverage part of the Momnouthpedia blog and have a look at the Wikipedia page.

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