Monmouth, a Welsh country town can claim the moniker of the ‘World’s First Wikipedia Town’. By collaborating with Wikipedia over a period of 6 months, this town thought of a creative way to promote its sights using everybody’s favourite online encyclopedia: Wikipedia and QRpedia.
The Monmouthshire City Council and Wikipedia UK jointly funded this project, called MonmouthpediA, to make people aware of the rich history and culture of Monmouth using a website that most people visit on a daily basis to seek information on a variety of topics. Monmouth wanted to increase its profile and provide a unique experience to people visiting this quiet Welsh town.
Across the town, QR codes went hand-in-hand with various landmarks. To access more information on a particular landmark, a person had to scan the QR code. A QR code is a barcode that has a URL embedded in it. With the help of barcode scanners, these QR codes lead to the embedded URL. In this case, the QR code would lead to a Wikipedia page about the said landmark. The person would get all the information on the landmark that was curated on Wikipedia after scanning these QR codes. This process of using QR codes to give Wikipedia information to users is called QRpedia.
Using the Wikipedia mobile app, people could also take virtual tours of the town. The project gave people the opportunity to access information on their own pace and not be bombarded by it. Visitors could scan codes of places they were interested in and move on to other locales of the town. The city offered free WiFi services to visitors so all smartphone users could enjoy the QR code guides.
In future, we can expect more cities using the power of Wikipedia to deliver information to tourists and travellers in their own language; replacing traditional guides with QR codes. It also helps in building the online community of Wikipedia as travellers can add more details to the Wikipedia pages of these landmarks.