May 19, 2012
World’s First ‘Wikipedia Town’ Goes Live Saturday
A small village in southeast Wales -- home to just over 8,800 people and the birthplace of King Henry V -- is set to become the world's first "Wikipedia town," as visitors will be able to scan barcodes to look up information about local people and places on the free, user-edited, Web-based encyclopedia.
The official announcement came from Monmouth officials on Thursday, and as of Saturday, May 19, tourists will be able to scan the so-called QRpedia codes in order to look up artifacts, flowers, statues, or any other point of interest in the community, according to Fox News reports.
Scanning the codes will take users to the Monmouthpedia website, which includes hundreds of articles, was created by a team of Monmouth citizens, businesses, and volunteers, and is available in 25 different languages, including Esperanto or Latin, Fox News and the Associated Press (AP) report.
"Organizers will be deploying four types of QR codes for the event: larger ceramic or metal plaques for outdoor venues; smaller ones for objects non-specific to Monmouth, like the Flora and Fauna guide; glass stickers in the windows of shops; and information posters, signs, and notice boards," PCMag's Chloe Albanesius wrote on Friday, adding that the project "is jointly funded by Monmouthshire County Council and Wikimedia UK."
Jamillah Knowles, a reporter with The Next Web said Wednesday that the process took a total of six months and that there are over 1,000 QR codes spread throughout the town, on schools, shops, and other noteworthy buildings. Furthermore, Monmouth has committed to provide free Wi-Fi throughout the town, making them the first location in the entire nation to do so and making it possible for visitors to edit articles on the fly.
"We´re delighted that Monmouth is becoming the world´s first Wikipedia town,” said Roger Bamkin, a Director of Wikimedia UK and co-creator of QRpedia, told Fox News. “Both the quality and quantity of the new Monmouth Wikipedia content is outstanding, reflecting the rich cultural, historical and natural heritage of the town“¦ At last foreign visitors cannot only read information in their own language, but they can edit it too."
"I´m really excited by the Monmouthpedia project," added Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. "Bringing a whole town to life on Wikipedia is something new and is a testament to the forward thinking people of Monmouth. I´m looking forward to seeing other towns and cities doing the same thing!"