- Some comment here in this blog
As a museum that has only just started to dip its metaphorical toe into the swirling water of social media (and only its little toe, at that), it seemed unlikely that we would start experimenting with mobile technology for some considerable time. But when our local and very enthusiastic Wikipedian (user:victuallers) pointed out the newly developed ability to create QR codes direct from Wikipedia's pages, we rose to the challenge. That challenge was, quite simply, who would be the first museum to employ QR codes derived directly from Wikipedia. We thought it would be simple to give it a try. User:Fæ was experimenting with a way of automating QR code production direct from Wikipedia pages. To be continued . . .
The trial is in the Geology and Natural Science section of the museum. Items were chosen initially because they were easy to add an extra box to. The first codes were at various sizes ranging 25mm to 35 mm square and they linked to urls of the form http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/article.
- The codes were tested by a third party and found to work well (despite the haste of the code creation).
- The demonstation appears to be novel (news has been retweeted in French).
- There was a debate about whether a phone-friendly url was required, this was thought unnecessary as they should be redirected automatically
- A short url will improve the readability of the QR code as it keeps the picture simple. bit.ly and other shortening servies were suggested, however a url like enwp.org will give a quite short url and may still allows users to summise what the eventual destination url will be.
- The museum are pleased with the trial and they have not any reported negative feedback (except one user who felt that wikipedia was a "failed social experiment" and should not be used because it is prone to vandalism.)
- Feedback suggests that users need to know where the QR Code is likely to take them. In some cases it will be obvious, in others it may be useful to label the code in English with the title of the article and the url.
- It is intended to try an improved version of the trial.
- Software has been constructed to allow QR codes to be created more easily.
- Fae has send picture which shows the British Library are using them at the same size as a pound coin.
- Wikimedia UK has agreed to fund the purchase of a smart phone to demo the technology for 3 months
- Unlike labels, QR codes can be updated to reflect the news and events
- Currently the codes are attached with bluetack. There is a problem of them being removed or defaced. A more subtle problem might be if the QR code is replaced with a similar link but to a offensive site. Note, the level of error-correction within a QR code is variable, if they need to be more robust to marks or even graffiti, then the default capability could be doubled without significant impact on the size of the image.
- The codes presume that the reader prefers their description in English. This is no worse than current labelling but there is an opportunity. This problem is now solved and Terence Eden is coming on the 9th to explain how we did it.
Terence Eden and Roger Bamkin have been working on the problem of only being able to see wikipedia in English from one QR code and we have got it working with dozens of languages. The very simple web site that can make these codes is called QRpedia.org. The videos that shows this working
- use http then youtu.be/w_cK_3wK2HQ One code works in English
- Same code, different language:
- Korean: use http then youtu.be/Ht8N_QaNzCQ
- French: use http then youtu.be/Qo-Ue_-SVcE