UK PRESS RELEASE

Innovative partnership unveils the world’s first Wikipedia town!

The digital age reaches a new landmark this week as Monmouth, Wales becomes the first Wikipedia town in the UK – and the world – on Saturday 19 May.

Wikimedia UK, the charity that promotes Wikipedia and its sister projects in the UK, has been working in partnership with the town of Monmouth and Monmouthshire County Council on this unique project, known as Monmouthpedia.

The Monmouthpedia project has been working to create multilingual versions of Wikipedia pages about every notable place, person, artefact, flora, fauna in the town of Monmouth and makes them instantly accessible to smartphone users in the town through the installation of over a thousand QRpedia codes in key locations. The public celebration takes place on Saturday 19 May and everyone is invited.

Roger Bamkin, Director of Wikimedia UK, said: ”We’re delighted that Monmouth is becoming the world’s first Wikipedia town. The new Monmouth-related Wikipedia content  has been written by volunteers from many countries. The new articles capture the rich cultural, historical and natural heritage of the town. Visitors can use their Smart phones to scan over 1,000 QRpedia codes. Because QRpedia codes can be accessed in different languages they have been used throughout the world; Russia, Spain, Bulgaria, Argentina, India and the United States of America”.

The local community of residents, businesses and volunteers teamed up with the Wikipedia community to create hundreds of new articles about Monmouth in 26 different languages, as well as improving hundreds of others. This is a truly global project as well as a very local one.

John Cummings, the local project lead, said: “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 Bierne from Monmouthshire Council Council 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.”.”

Since its inception the project has been the subject of intense global interest and has been covered by media from all five continents, partly because of its simplicity. It’s this simplicity that makes the project replicable in every town, city and village around the world, a fact that Wikimedia’s Roger Bamkin was keen to highlight.

Roger said: “We’ve shown in Monmouth that all it takes is a little creativity, energy and cooperation to put a town on the map and take it to an audience of 480 million people a month. Monmouth may be the first Wikipedia town but we’re hoping for many, many more to follow.”

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 :

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.

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.

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

Pictures relating to Monmouthpedia are available here and here

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