Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wikipedia's QR Code Creation Service QRPedia

Yesterday Wikipedia introduced QRPedia, a QR code creation service. QRPedia can be viewed as a way to link real world objects to Wikipedia articles using a physical graphic on or near the real world object and a mobile device with a QR code scanner. It makes it possible for people to locate and display the Wikipedia entry for something without knowing what to search for and it allows people to find the article without knowing the local language.

So, what's a QR code ? A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data. Here is an example QR code that is an encoding of my Wikipedia user page URL
The above QR code was generated using the QRPedia service introduced by Wikipedia. So, here's how the whole thing works:
  1. Somebody goes to and enters a Wikipedia URL which produces a QR code similar to the one above
  2. They print that QR code out and place it by or on an object, say a museum piece, that they want to link to the URL from step 1
  3. A visitor to the object takes out their smart phone or other mobile device which has a QR scanner app (I use an iPhone with the Scan app by QR Code City)
  4. They scan the QR code with their app and the mobile device is automatically directed to the corresponding Wikipedia article
To try this out, take out your smart phone and scan the above QR code. It should take you to my Wikipedia user page. Pretty neat!

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