World's First Wikipedia Town to Go Live

(Image credit: Monmouthshirecc/Wikimedia Commons)

The world's first "Wikipedia town" will launch on Saturday in the small town of Monmouth in Wales.

The town now has more than 1,000 ceramic plaques on every important building, school and on hundreds of shops. The plaques each have a unique QR bar code - a square, black-and-white bar code that can be scanned with a smartphone that will be directed to a web page.

When users scan these codes, they will be taken to a Wikipedia article about the place they are visiting in whatever language their phone is programmed to.

The project, called "Monmouthpedia," has been in the works for six months. The whole town has a free wireless Internet network and on Saturday, the "the entire town will be bedecked with banners declaring Monmouth as the first Wikipedia Town in the world," according to its website.

The town's residents contributed by writing and editing stories about Monmouth, and volunteers have been translating them to dozens of languages including Hungarian, Indonesian and Hindi.

"I started Monmouthpedia because I think that knowledge can give us context and allow us to appreciate the things around us more,"  John Cummings, the Monmouthpedia project leader, said in a video on the project's website.

"The project is a collaboration between Wikimedia UK, Monmouth City Council, the museums, the library, the University of Wales and Cardiff Met [Cardiff Metropolitan University], but, most importantly, it's the individual contributors - the local community groups and people not just from Monmouth but all over the world that correct the content and are making this happen," he said.