WikiTown shares local history
Since 2013 the Shire of Toodyay and the local community have been working with the Wikimedia Australia Foundation to become a WikiTown.
More than 60 articles about the history of Toodyay have been contributed to Toodyaypedia – a part of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
A series of plaques containing Quick Response (QR) codes that link to the articles have been placed throughout the Shire’s central heritage precinct and visitors are able to use their Smartphones to scan the codes (just as bar-codes are scanned in the supermarket) and read the Wikipedia article on their phone.
Stage One of the project was launched at the 2013 Toodyay Agricultural Show. A series of public workshops about the project were then held to invite community help and participation.
Approximately 30 new Wikipedia stubs (small articles) about buildings in Toodyay’s central historic precinct were then composed based on two existing Shire publications – the municipal inventory and walk trail booklet. The Toodyay Historical Society provided additional historical information.
Around the same time, local Wikimedians mentoring this project also pursued their own interests and included Toodyay content in their articles. Augmenting the Toodyaypedia project was the creation of QR codes for the Shire’s two museums linking to completely separate, already existing Wikipedia articles. The first series of Toodyaypedia plaques were installed in time for the 2014 Moondyne Festival, a major folk festival held in Toodyay on the first Sunday in May.
Later that year at the Wikimedia Foundation’s annual conference held in August in London, the Toodyaypedia project was named as one of the ten “coolest projects” happening at that time in the world.
The second stage of the project was developed throughout 2015 with the creation of articles about people associated with Toodyay.
Funding was received from Lotterywest to pay for the services of a professional historian. Twenty-three more new articles about Toodyay people have recently been published, and extra information has been added to two existing articles. The second group of QR plaques is currently being installed.
Toodyay remains one of only two WikiTowns in Australia (the other being Fremantle, WA). The benefits of being involved in this project has included increasing local and visitor knowledge, supporting the building of educational resources for the Shire’s children, providing more information for researchers both inside and beyond the Toodyay community and promoting tourism through creating a presence on the net.