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Wikipedia launches project dedicated to Monmouth

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Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has launched a new project that will cover all aspects of life in the Welsh town of Monmouth.

Monmouthpedia will be the website's first venture focused purely on one place, enabling people to contribute articles and photographs on notable people, places, monuments, wildlife and other aspects of the town in the historic county of Monmouthshire.

Wikimedia UK said that the service will allow smartphone users to scan special "QRpedia" codes at certain points of interest to access information from Monmouthpedia.

It confirmed that the information will eventually be made available in up to 270 different languages, including Welsh.

"We are very keen for local people to be involved in whatever way they would like," said Wikipedia.

"Computer skills are not that important, it's the interest and the willingness to be involved, suggesting and writing articles, taking and donating photos and recommending good reference materials.

"If you speak another language it would be great place to practice your writing skills and learn new vocabulary and grammar.

"There are a lot of opportunities for community involvement including teaching and learning of IT skills, local history, natural history, languages and people of different ages working together. The amount, detail and quality of the information we could create is amazing."

Monmouth was chosen to launch the Wikipedia project due to its rich industry, officially appearing in the Domesday Book in 1086. The Council for British Archaeology has also designated Monmouth as the seventh best town in Britain.

Alongside the QR codes, Monmouthpedia will also feature co-ordinates, or 'geotags', to allow users to take a "virtual tour" of the town using the Wikipedia layer of Google Streetview in Google Maps.

Monmouth project leader John Cummings developed the idea for Monmouthpedia after attending a Wikipedia talk about a similar scheme operated at a museum in Derby.

"I talked to them and said, 'That's a good idea, you could do it for a whole town', and they said, 'No, you could do it for a whole town!'" he told BBC News.

"There's a lot of great history here and we've got three museums, which I suppose is unusual for such a small town."

Cummings said that the project is already working with a variety of local groups, but advised that anyone with an interest in Monmouth local history can contribute.

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