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QRPedia: Wikipedia makes visiting museums more fun

Wikipedia is looking to tap into the rising popularity of Quick Response (QR) codes. The free encyclopaedia recently introduced QRPedia, a QR code creation service that lets users snap a picture of a QR code and be automatically directed to a linked mobile Wikipedia entry.

The is possibly one of the most innovative ways QR codes have been used. The initiative allows users to create multilingual QR codes that link to Wikipedia articles.

In a recent blog post the Wikimedia foundation said:

“QRpedia takes the concept one step further to allow a single QR code to send you seamlessly to the mobile-friendly version of any Wikipedia article in your own language. This system is unique to Wikipedia because no other website has manually created links between languages across such an incredible breadth of topics.”

The idea for the service was born from a partnership between the Derby Museum and Gallery in England, and local Wikimedia contributors Roger Bamkin, chair of Wikimedia UK, and Terence Eden, a mobile web consultant. Terence built the system and the museum installed object labels incorporating the codes.

The combination of QRpedia and Wikipedia’s API enables museums to produce a multilingual experience for visitors. The idea is simple: Exhibits have QR codes next to them — users then scan the code and they are taken to the relevant Wikipedia page in their own language which makes museum tours simpler. The user’s phone language settings are transmitted during the scan.

“Easy mobile access to Wikipedia articles allows visitors to the museum to access unprecedented detail about the objects and their context — information that didn’t make it onto the exhibit label,” says Liam Wyatt, Cultural Partnerships Fellow at Wikimedia.

The service is quite easy to use, I created a a QR code for famed Greek statue of Aphrodite, better known as the Venus de Milo, with one simple click.

Below is a video demonstrating the how it works

The system is now being used in museums worldwide. QRPedia codes currently feature in exhibitions at the on-site museum of the National Archives of the UK, in the permanent signage of key objects at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and in a major traveling exhibition of Miró’s work in association with the Fundació Joan Miró of Barcelona.

Author | Mich Atagana

Mich Atagana
Mich started out life wanting to be a theoretical physicist but soon realized that mathematics was required. So, she promptly let go of that dream. She then decided that law might be the best place for her talents, but with too many litigation classes missed in favour of feminist... More