TECH PRESS RELEASE

MonmouthpediA – a case study in innovation

What do you get when you bring together a community of Wikipedians, an engaged local council, a town with a rich cultural heritage, motivated volunteers, and a creative use of new technology? You get MonmouthpediA – a project to create the world’s first Wikipedia town in Monmouth, Wales.

The project aims to cover every single notable place, people, artefacts, flora, fauna and other things in Monmouth in as many languages as possible, but with a special focus on Welsh. This is a different scale of WikiProject. Monmouthshire County Council is working to install free town-wide Wi-Fi for this project.

MonmouthpediA uses QRpedia codes, a clever adaptation of QR code technology which, instead of sending users to single web pages, actually point the user to the appropriate web page in the language of their device, be it French, German, Welsh and so on. These will be installed at key locations throughout the town, directing users to the relevant Wikipedia content.

Articles will also have coordinates (geotags) to allow a virtual tour of the town using Wikipedia’s mobile apps (or the Wikipedia layer on OpenStreetMap or Google Streetview) and will be available in augmented reality software including Layar.

Roger Bamkin is a Director of Wikimedia UK and co-founder of QRPedia. He said: “We’re delighted that Monmouth is becoming the world’s first Wikipedia town. Both the quality and quantity of the new Monmouth-related Wikipedia content is outstanding, reflecting the rich cultural, historical and natural heritage of the town.”

The local community of residents, businesses and volunteers teamed up with the Wikipedia community to create and improve related content. At the time of writing, the project has resulted in over 300 new articles in 26 languages, 145 improved articles, over 1,000 images, 23 Did You Know? mentions and an extra 400,000 views of Monmouth-related content per year. This a truly global project as well as a very local one. It’s all about collaboration and many of those contributors taking part have never been to Monmouth, or even the UK.

John Cummings, who led the project locally, said something like: “Wikipedia is all about working to share the sum of all human knowledge with everyone. Monmouthpedia has shown that whole towns can make a contribution to this effort. Because QRpedia codes can be accessed in different languages they have been used throughout the world. I think that giving free access to information in this way allow us to have a richer experience of the world around us.”

Becoming the world’s first Wikipedia town has attracted numerous benefits for Monmouth, including a boost to both local tourism and business alike. Kellie Beirne, Monmouthshire County Council’s Chief Officer for Regeneration and Culture said: “Monmouth has always been known in the UK as a great place to visit and do business. We very quickly realised that embracing technology and fantastic global community projects like this benefits everyone in Monmouthshire and we are delighted to be involved in something so innovative, creative and forward-looking.”

Why not pay a visit to Monmouth to take a look for yourself? You could even consider making your home town the next Wikipedia town…

CONTACT DETAILS :

For Wikimedia UK press enquiries please call Stevie Benton, Communications Organiser, on +44 (0) 20 7065 0993 or +44 (0) 7771 778 734.  You can also email press@wikimedia.org.uk or stevie.benton@wikimedia.org.uk

Wikimedia UK
Development House
56-64 Leonard Street
London
EC2A 4LT

Telephone: 020 7065 0990
Email: press@wikimedia.org.uk

For Monmouthshire County Council press enquiries please contact Helen
Reynolds at HelenReynolds@monmouthshire.gov.uk or on 01633 644 788.

For the Monmouthpedia project lead please contact John Cummings at john.cummings@monmouthpedia.org or on 07579 965 063.

NOTES TO EDITORS :

1. Wikimedia UK is the Wikimedia chapter for the UK. It works to support, develop  and promote Wikimedia Foundation projects, such as Wikipedia. It does this by bringing together the Wikimedia community and by building links with UK-based cultural institutions, universities, charities and other bodies.

2. Wikipedia is the largest reference work ever created. It’s the sixth most visited website in the world, attracting around 480 million unique visitors every month.

3. The Wikimedia Foundation’s projects include Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikinews, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikibooks, Wikispecies, Wikiversity and Wikimedia Commons.

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