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18th May 2012
Monmouth in south Wales is making history by becoming the world's first town to link all its landmarks to online wikipedia articles via scannable barcodes
The birthplace of Henry V is about to become the world's first 'Wikipedia Town.' Monmouth in south Wales has teamed up with online encyclopedia Wikipedia in order to make all aspects of town life a virtual, searchable reality.
From Saturday 19 May, visitors will be able to scan barcodes using their smartphones and be linked immediately to a relevant article. The project has been helped by the local council's installation of free wifi throughout the town. Residents and local businesses have been creating and updating hundreds of articles on schools, museums, historical sites and even pubs. Articles will be available in more than 26 languages so “foreign visitors will not only be able to read information in their own language, but they can edit it too,” says Roger Bamkin, a director of UK Wikimedia.
The town, dubbed 'Monmouthpedia' was chosen for its rich cultural heritage. As well as being the birthplace of Henry V, it is also home to the only 13th century bridge left of its kind. Kellie Beirne, of Monmouthshire County Council, says the project has already boosted the town's tourism and Bamkin echoes 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.”
The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales said that “bringing a whole town to life on Wikipedia is something new and is a testament to the forward-thinking people of Monmouth ... It's really captured people's imaginations in ways we hadn't expected.”
There are plans to see other towns follow suit, so watch this space as yours could be next.
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