Below you can find a summary of Monmouthpedia’s key messages, as well as information about project awareness, a summary of what benefits the project brings and how to stay in touch via social media.
- Monmouth is the world’s first Wikipedia town
Wikimedia UK is working in collaboration with Monmouthshire County Council, universities, schools, colleagues, businesses, the town council, the local community and the local media to create new Wikipedia pages related to Monmouth or improve existing ones. The objective is to document all notable buildings, monuments, pictures or people with a Monmouth connection (as per Wikipedia’s own category of Notability). These will be marked in the town with QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones and direct users to the relevant Wikipedia article in the language that the device is set to operate in.
- We’re sharing the sum total of Monmouth’s knowledge, making it freely available to all
In the line with the goals of the Wikimedia movement, this project seeks to unlock information from all over the town and to share it with as wide a community as possible. One of the key benefits for the town is that it stimulates local interest in the valuable heritage that a town possesses. It gets people involved in sharing that heritage online via Wikipedia pages (written content) and Wikimedia Commons (pictures, audio records or video). This helps to encourage learning, a better understanding of the community and a strengthened sense of local identity.
- What’s happening in Monmouth can be recreated anywhere in the world
The simple steps being taken in Monmouth could work in any town or city in any country. The more places that follow this lead, the greater levels of learning and understanding. Not only that, but Monmouthpedia has united the local community, bringing people together for a common aim. Many new friendships have been formed, adding to the project’s legacy.
- Everyone, everywhere can contribute to the project
As with all Wikimedia projects, all additions and improvements are welcome. Whether it’s translating an article into a new language, or someone with ties or interest in the cultural heritage of the town tidying up an article or adding in a new piece of information, the content is there for everyone to enjoy and improve.
- How the project is being delivered
The project is being delivered in a variety of ways. We’ve developed the Monmouthpedia project area on Wikipedia, which you can find here. This provides a lot of information about the project, its history and its progress, including lists of new and improved Wikipedia articles, images, press highlights and a list of our partners.
We’re installing over 1,000 QRpedia codes across the whole of Monmouth by the end of April 2012 so this really is a large scale project. The codes will be everywhere, from museum artefacts to shop windows, from statues to the Shire Hall.
In support of the project, and to make it as accessible to as many people as possible, Monmouthshire County Council is rolling out a free WiFi network across the whole town, making Monmouth not only the world’s first Wikipedia town, but the first WiFi town in Wales, too.
Of course, none of this is possible without the dedication and hard work of a large number of tireless volunteers, not only locally in Monmouth, but around the world. The content that’s been created and improved is all taken care of on a voluntary basis and hundreds of articles have been worked on already – in 24 different languages so far, as at the end of March.
Project values and awareness
There are a number of values that underpin the Monmouthpedia project. These are:
- A sense of achievement
When creating something on this scale through collaboration, cooperation and co-content creation it’s important that everyone involved feels a sense of achievement at having done something meaningful and worthwhile. It’s a novel task and one that, on completion, will be a testament to the work and passion of all those who took part.
- Being innovative and doing it first (a global pilot)
The Wikimedia movement seeks to involve volunteers at every juncture and make content freely available to all. This project takes this idea to a hyperlocal or geolocated level. This has the potential to energise towns and cities all around the world, spurring them into offering content while exciting people everywhere to share their passion for their town or city with the rest of the world. Monmouthpedia is leading the way by being first the first town to undertake a project of this kind.
- The identity and image of Monmouth is sharply enhanced
By sharing the cultural heritage of their town, the people of Monmouth are sharing it with up to 480 million people a month that currently view the existing Wikimedia family of websites (including Wikipedia). This is a very powerful statement that the town is proud of its culture, heritage, history and people. This reflects well on the town, especially as this is a community, collaborative initiative.
- The local community showing pride and working together
When residents feel proud of their city, they are more likely to show a commitment to it and to want to share with everyone why they love it. Monmouthpedia gives the people of Monmouth a vehicle to do just that, on a global scale. The same would apply to anywhere this project is recreated. Monmouth is sharing its cultural heritage with up to 480 million people a month that currently view the existing Wikimedia family of websites (including Wikipedia). Try repeating that last sentence, but replacing Monmouth with the name of your home town.
- Freely sharing data means sharing culture and promoting openness
So much data that ought to be freely available in the public domain is not. Sometimes this is purely for practical reasons – for example, many museums only have enough physical space to share a small percentage of their exhibits . In other instances, governments are starting to see the value of releasing data it has traditionally collected (such as Ordnance Survey, Geograph) and releasing it to apps developers who are creating extra value. The Monmouthpedia project explores another way of opening up public data, in a fun way – individuals can create the pages themselves – that also fosters a community identity and a powerful sense of achievement, and ownership, at a project’s completion.
- The project fits in with the key aim of Wikimedia projects:
We’re working to make the sum total of human knowledge available to everyone, everywhere, for free. For this aim to ever be achievable will require mass collaboration and mobilisation of communities local communities, but on a global level. Monmouthpedia is the first step in this process and shows a way for other communities to follow. Or, as our co-founder Jimmy Wales puts it:
“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.”
Key points – by specific audience
- The project promotes an audience to a city’s cultural heritage and encourages new understanding
Audiences: History society, archaeological societies, city archivists, galleries & museums and historical buildings professionals.
- We’re empowering people by giving them tools to create and share knowledge that they care passionately about
Audiences: Civil society, people living in the town, working in the town or involved with the town in some fashion.
- We’ve created something we can be proud of as a town and, as a result, we can all share in its success
Audiences: Everyone – there’s a sense of everyone involved being able to say: ‘I’m Monmouthpedia’. This will help maintain the momentum of the project and allow others around the world to follow.
- Encouraging new ways of collaborating with others, sharing and publishing the results
Audiences: Any community, anywhere, with an interest in replicating. The lessons learned during the project and the new ways of working it has uncovered are of great value – and new ways of achieving the same objective can come from the brilliance of other communities around the world.
There are many benefits that this project is bringing to Monmouth. Again, these benefits can reasonably be expected to be replicated in other towns that recreate the project. Some of the key benefits are listed, although this is not a comprehensive list.
- The quick and easy access to information about landmarks, objects, places and people give context to Monmouth, adding richness to the experience of living, working or visiting the town
- The publicity generated by the project raises the level of interest in the town
- The innovative use of the technology and the development of a free local WiFi network raises the level of digital awareness within the town and enables increased levels of digital inclusion
- There will be a resultant increase in the level of technology and computer skills across the town, possibly leading to gains in local levels of educational attainment, too.
- This enhancement of the Monmouth visitor experience helps to maximise the potential of word of mouth recommendations and repeat visits
- The development of a new kind of digital experience creates a unique and sustainable competitive advantage for the town, not only as a place to visit but as a great place to do business
- The widespread exposure of this project – not just in Wales or the UK but across the world – brings the town to whole new audiences, which in turn should increase visitor numbers for leisure, tourism and business
- The project could lead to growth in the visitor economy of both Monmouth and Monmouthshire
- The increased skills levels of residents and local businesses could generate yet more income.
Sharing the messages with a wider public
Wikimedia UK and Monmouthshire County Council will be issuing a number of press releases promoting the world’s first Wikipedia town. These releases will each be tailored to specific audiences, including international media, UK media, local media, technology press and other sector press relating to areas such as museums, local authorities and tourism. A number of images are also available and can be found here. There will also be plenty of opportunities for photographs on the day.
A number of audio resources will be available on this site, including comment from Wikimedia UK, Monmouthshire County Council, volunteers and local residents. Many people will also be available from the aforementioned groups for comment and interview – before, during and after the event on 21 April. There’s also the potential for good documentary-style features relating to the project too.
As with radio, there are a number of televisual resources available. This includes a number of short vox-pop recordings made beforehand with local residents and businesses, visitors, Monmouthshire County Council and the volunteers and staff of Wikimedia UK. These resources will be publicly available. There will also be people available from all of those groups available on the day for interview. Many people will also be available from the aforementioned groups for comment and interview – before, during and after the event on 21 April. There’s also the potential for good documentary-style features relating to the project too.
When tweeting about the event please use the hashtag #monmouthpedia
We’ve drafted a suggested tweet below based around the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. This village has the longest place name in Europe and one of the longest place names in the world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwllgwyngyll) Don’t be too alarmed about the spelling – you can simply copy and paste! Of course, feel free to tweet about the event in any way you’d like – but please share the hashtag #monmouthpedia!
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch or Monmouth? Which Welsh town is most famous? #Monmouthpedia http://bit.ly/uoZKlu
- Seek to get individuals working on the project to write about their experiences – support where possible with short VoxPops videos
- Seek to get WMUK & Monmouth city groups blogging about how they are working together and what the project means to them
- Seek to get curators in Monmouth that are seeing the benefit of the project to blog about what it means to them (perhaps building on the Did You Knows on Wikipedia so far?)
- Invite Guest Bloggers (someone from ‘outside’ looking in who admires the efforts and ambitions of the project)
Record interviews with local participants that can be posted on YouTube and Wikimedia Commons and used by those involved in promoting the project – Set up an Event Brite site to promote the ‘launch on the day’ of Monmouth the World’s First Wikipedia Town” – Working title ‘SamPedia’ – which will ‘white label’ this information in a simple form that could be used by non-Wikipedians who are seeking to help publicise the Monmouthpedia event