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QRpedia launches to acclaim, Jimbo talks social media, Wikipedia attracts fungi, terriers and Greeks bearing gifts

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By SMasters, Skomorokh and Tom Morris

QRpedia helps GLAM augment reality with Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales scanning a QRpedia code at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

This week, the Wikimedia Foundation put a blog post about QRpedia on the Foundation blog (QR Codes + Wikipedia). QRpedia is being used by a number of GLAM institutions including Derby Museum, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and the National Archives at Kew to link exhibited objects to the Wikipedia pages about them. Unlike simply placing a QR code link, QRpedia uses content negotiation to direct the user to the most appropriate language version of Wikipedia if there is a version of the article in the language of the user's phone. So, if you scan the code pointing to an English article but your phone is set on Hebrew, if there is a Hebrew article, you'll be directed to that in preference to the English version.

Media reaction to the formal launch has been positive: Gizmodo's headline reads "How Wikipedia Is Making QR Codes Useful Again". ReadWriteWeb's headline was equally as glowing: "Wikipedia Unveils Probably the Coolest QR Thingy Ever Made". JESS3, who previously created a video to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Wikipedia, mentioned QRpedia in an article on the Forbes website about QR codes, which included some "QR Art" combining QR codes and Lego.

Terence Eden, the British mobile software developer who built QRpedia, presented the project last week at the Over the Air conference at Bletchley Park. User:Ironholds introduced a note of skepticism in a post entitled "Is QRpedia really that great?", a question promptly answered in the comments by Terence and by Lori Phillips (User:LoriLee).

Jimmy Wales on why Wikipedia won't "like" Facebook anytime soon

So it turns out that people are social. They’re basically friendly. They get into fights and arguments, and they make up. And there are ways to help communities manage those things. So that human insight and also seeing how Wikipedia was functioning meant it was easier to really give genuine community control—to say, "Look the communities don’t need to be managed in a top-down fashion. They need support—they need some tech support, they need some social support."

Jimmy Wales, in AdWeek, September 27, 2011.

The Huffington Post interviewed Jimmy Wales at the recent OMMA Global conference in New York City. In an article titled "Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales Describes The Site's Hold-Out On Social Media", Wales is quoted as stating that Wikipedia has no plans to increase any integration with social media firms: "We’ve never been particularly good at partnering with people. Our community strives for neutrality in all respects: this applies to what is contained in the encyclopedia, but our community is also passionate about being vendor neutral.” Wales was skeptical towards the notion that Wikipedia users would want to publicise their activities on the site to their peers, arguing that browsing the wiki is a personal activity that ought not be broadcast on sites like Facebook. Wales spoke on related topics to AdWeek, who published the interview as "Fast Chat: Jimmy Wales: Wikipedia founder on engagement and why the ‘like’ button isn't enough". It focused on engagement with social technology and hyperconnectivity as well as the core importance to wikis of harnessing contributors passionate about the topic – and to advertisers of reaching these same enthusiasts.

In brief

Not Australian Member of Parliament for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten, despite Wikipedians' earnest reports to the contrary.
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  • « the Wikimedia Foundation formally launched QRpedia » : Beg your pardon? Sorry, but I fail to see how the WMF launched anything, formally or not. They hosted a blogpost that highlights a tool launched 5 months ago by two british volunteers (one of them quite involved in chapter Wikimedia UK) and that since has spawned several implementations in various parts of the world, thanks to the work of people unaffiliated with the WMF. A “launch” actually suggests the WMF developed QRpedia. Jean-Fred (talk) 00:19, 5 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • Indeed. I've been bold and changed the page directly. The current plan is that QRpedia will be hosted by Wikimedia UK in the near future - we're working through the details of transferring ownership at the moment. Mike Peel (talk) 15:27, 5 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]


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