User:Mrjohncummings is John Cummings, the project lead for MonmouthpediA, a project in the Welsh town of Monmouth which aims to provide access to information on notable places, peoples, artefacts and more around the town.
MonmouthpediA is the first Wikipedia project to cover a whole town. The project aims to cover every single notable place, person, artefact, flora, fauna and other things in Monmouth in as many languages as possible. QRpedia codes will be used, a type of bar code a smartphone can read through its camera that takes you to a Wikipedia article in your language. QR codes are extremely useful, as physical signs have no way of displaying the same amount of information and in a potentially huge number of languages. The aim is to have 1,000 QRpedia codes in Monmouth by April including in several museums. A free WiFi network will be set up throughout the town and tablet PCs will be available in the museums to lower the cost of access to the information.
Since the project started we have had fifty new articles in English, about twenty in Welsh and a small number in other languages. This is especially remarkable as we had no active Wikipedians in Monmouth when the project launched. John Cummings had to move from Bristol back to his home town to lead the initiative. The project is achieving a lot because Wikimedia UK has gone into partnership with Monmouthshire County Council and nearly every significant cultural society in Monmouth. Besides the Town Council the project also has significant links to university research in both Newport and Cardiff. New articles about Monmouth have been on "Did you Know?" a dozen times in the last few weeks.
Not surprisingly the project has attracted news coverage from the BBC and The Guardian newspaper as well as being reported in several different languages. One blog asked "Is Monmouthpedia the future of Wikipedia?" - we will find out in April, when the celebrations of what we have achieved begin. Well, we say "we have achieved" but hopefully it is what "you have achieved". Monmouth cannot do this without your help.
Monmouth Market Hall Fire.jpg
Some of the images that have been uploaded since the project began.
Progress so far
The first code of many!
So far contributors have created 72 new articles and improved 90 articles, over 300 new images, there have been 12 entries in the "Did you Know?" on the English Wikipedia main page. New contributors to Wikipedia (as a result of the project) are choosing to learn how to edit Wikipedia and to give their time for the combined knowledge of others, I think this demonstrates how much people value free information and it’s benefits. It’s been amazing to teach people simple tools to give a wider reach to the information they have.
I started Monmouthpedia because I wanted everyone to have free and easily available information about the place in which they live. I grew up in Monmouth, I knew enough about the area to make a start by myself and make a plan that other people could see what I was doing and join in and add to and change. Local groups and the councils (Monmouthshire County Council have recently adopted the Open Government License) have been wonderfully supportive and there is a well connected network of people who are willing to help. Wikimedia UK have been very helpful and have put a lot of time and effort into supporting me. I feel as though for the large part I have been pushing against open doors, I’ve had a steady stream of new people to teach Wikipedia editing to since I started. The one thing we're really missing are articles in languages other than English and Welsh.
The project is still very much a work in progress, we are starting to work with schools and other groups, there is such a wide range of opportunities for so many groups of people to be involved, it feels like we’re trying something new every day.
QRpedia shortlisted for a Smart UK award:Terence Eden and Roger Bamkin (Victuallers) had the opportunity to visit the Westminster conference centre to talk with the press and the judges of the Smart UK awards. QRpedia had been chosen from a high number of entrants to be in the final twenty shortlisted to represent the UK as ther best innovative mobile based idea. Competition was stiff with other entrants including being a coating which when applied to a phone allows it to be used in water and and another which enableded phones to see hand gestures. Only four will be chosen to go forward to the global competition, but it is an honour to be considered. For more information see Smart UK's QRpedia Q&A.