Saturday, 14th July 2012

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Gib to be the world’s first Wikipedia city

Work has started in putting together a detailed multi-lingual Wikipedia pack of pages on these subjects, written by a mix of locals, academics, historians, cultural experts and Wikipedians from around the globe. Gibraltar’s rich flora, fauna, history and culture make it an ideal site for such a project.

The pages will also be accessible to visitors in any of some languages through QRpedia codes which give access to Wikipedia articles. These codes will allow visitors to use their smart phones anywhere in Gibraltar and read all about Gibraltar’s rich cultural heritage in their own mother tongue.

A major advantage in Gibraltar will be that it will open itself up to 485 million people a month, right across the world.

The idea for this project came from local Tyson Lee Holmes, who read about Monmouthpedia in Wales, discussing the idea with Stewart Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum who made the first contact with Wikimedia UK to start the ball rolling.

Following this, Minister for Tourism Neil Costa, invited the organisers of the Monmouthpedia Project to Gibraltar for talks. Minister Costa described to them his vision that involved not only building Gibraltarpedia, but also reaching into North Africa to involve other custodians of cultural heritage in sharing in the benefit of opening up their information to the digital world.

Gibraltar is home to a variety of communities who routinely speak English, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi and Hebrew, which means the research and writing of the hundreds of Wikipedia pages for Gibraltarpedia will be rooted in multilingualism.

The Minister believes that this project will reinforce Gibraltar and its status as a bridge between two continents: Europe and Africa. Dr Keith Bensusan, Director of the Botanic Gardens, said: “Gibraltar is a very small community of just 30,000 people but it is a city with two cathedrals and with a history stretching back to the Neanderthals”.

Crowd sourcing Wikimedia UK director, Roger Bamkin explained “Crowd sourcing is a very imprecise science but we know that volunteers will create articles about things they know a lot about and in languages that they speak. It is only logical that Gibraltarpedia will provide a vehicle for volunteers to share knowledge on both sides of the Strait. Gibraltar already has millions of visitors each year. This project will mean people anywhere can visit virtually and contribute to deeper understanding of the rich treasures that the Rock possesses.”

Mohamed Amarochan of the Arabic Wikipedia said “We can integrate Ceuta/Sebta,

Tangier, Tarifa/Algeciras and Gibraltar City, which means more diversity, more Arabic and Spanish contributions, along with English as well.”

Ashley van Haeften, Chair of Wikimedia UK said: “Wikimedia UK is looking forward to supporting the project, hopefully in collaboration with other chapters and social groups in countries that have yet to establish a chapter.”




 

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