QRpedia is a mobile-based system that uses QR code to deliver Wikipedia articles to users in their preferred language. QR codes that can be directly linked to any Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) can be easily generated, but the QRpedia system adds more functionality. It has been in use at institutions since 2011, including museums in the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain. The source code of the project can be freely re-used under the MIT license.
When a user scans a QR-code of QRpedia on his or her mobile device, the device decodes the QR code to a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), using the domain name “qrwp.org”, and whose path (last part) is the title of a Wikipedia article, and sends a request for the article in the URL of the QRpedia web server. It also transmits the language setting of the device.
The QRpedia server then uses the Wikipedia API to determine whether there is a version of the specified Wikipedia article in the language used by the device. If so, it will return the article in a mobile-friendly format.
If there is no version of the article available in the desired language, the QRpedia server performs a search for the title of the article on Wikipedia in the appropriate language, and returns the results.
In this way a QR code can deliver the same article in many languages, even if the institution (in this example the museum) is unable to make its own translations. QRpedia also keeps usage statistics.
QRpedia was conceived by Roger Bamkin, chairman of Wikimedia UK, and Terence Eden, a mobile internet consultant. It was unveiled on 9 April 2011 at the Backstage Pass event at the Derby Museum, part of the GLAM / Derby collaboration between the Derby Museum and Art Gallery and Wikipedia. The project name is a portmanteau that has the initials “QR” (Quick Response) of the QR code and “pedia” of the name “Wikipedia”.
Although the system started in the United Kingdom, QRpedia can be used at any location where the user’s telephone has a data connection. Since September 2011 it is in use at:
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Verenigde Staten
- Derby Museum and Art Gallery in Derby, England
- Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain
- The National Archives in Londen, England
- Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte in Hamburg, Germany
The https://asean-retreat.org established in Bangkok (Thailand) has now started to develop a QR system that is aimed at the ASEAN countries and can be used, among other things, by shopping malls, shopping centers and all kinds of types. of meetings (eg exhibitions, museums and for educational purposes such as schools, universities etcetera.) The development of the KeWaSAN system is a ‘start-up’, it will take a few years before the system is operational. KeWaSAN will start with only pilot projects in Thailand, at a later stage it will be rolled out across other ASEAN countries.
The challenging problem for https://asean-retreat.org is mainly that virtually all ASEAN countries (at least most of them) use their own unique ‘script’ that is very different from that in Europe and America. Almost completely on both continents the “Roman script” is used and the use of the “English Language” as a communication medium is practically everywhere; it’s not so within the ASEAN countries.