April 26, 2012

QRpedia use at Fundació Miró. Case Study

Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona

Following the exhibition of "Joan Miró. The Ladder of Escape" which opened in Bacelona on October 15, 2011, a collaboration between the Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miró Foundation) in Barcelona and the Catalan Wikipedia was proposed. The exhibition was open to the public in Barcelona from October 16, 2011 and March 18, 2012. Before it was shown at the Tate in London and later traveled to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

The project intended to stick QR codes alongside some of the most prominent artworks of the exhibition. These codes linked to Wikipedia articles. These QRpedia codes identify the language of the phone and can therefore present the article -in the user's preferred language- on Wikipedia, improving visitor's experience.
On 14 September there was an edit-a-thon at the Fundació Joan Miró as a special contribution to the project, to launch this project.

This project was an example of a new way to visit museums and access to culture. As the mobile Internet is here, the desire to immediately satisfy our curiosity is also here. Visitors to museums do not wait to get home to read what the main features of an artistic movement or expand what he meant an artist to paint a particular job. QRpedia allows access to knowledge in their language, anytime, anywhere and for free.


CASE STUDY: QRpedia real use at Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona.

PHASE 1. Content Generation 

Foundation's library is a treasure!!
A few months before the start of the exhibition, the curators from the Joan Miró Foundation created a list of 17 outstanding works that would be shown at the forthcoming exhibit and sent it to the group of local Wikipedians.

They also put at their disposal all the necessary documentation and bibliography. To coordinate the project, a Wikiproject page was created in Catalan Wikipedia. A Wikiproject is a page or collection of pages on Wikipedia that serve to organize and coordinate users in improving articles about a particular topic. It is not a place to write articles for the encyclopedia, but an appeal for aid and coordination and for organizing group article writing.

So...during the following weeks, several Wikipedians spend their free time creating and expanding articles over the selected 17 works at the Catalan Wikipedia, maintaining contact with the Joan Miró Foundation through the figure of a project coordinator, who acted as a bridge and facilitator between the institution and Wikipedians.

To expand the Wikipedia community and socialize the project, Wikipedians asked for help to a group of art school professors and art historians and also to some local lovers of the work of Joan Miró, including teachers of the Edra Art School of Rubí. All of this people received a Wikipedia Workshop during the Summer, before joining the Wikiproject.

PHASE 2. Edit-a-thon, or how to socialize online onsite projects

Wikipedians during the edit-a-thon
One of the goals of the project was to build bridges of cooperation that generate synergies between the cultural sector and local communities to promote free knowledge. They are two existing groups working with the same goal - the maximum spread of knowledge with higher quality possible- but often do not know closely enough.

So project coordinators gave lots of importance to socialize and humanize the project. To overcome the mistrust, it was thought necessary that Wikipedians, curators and other museum professionals know each other and spend time together.

To this end, on September 14, 2011 an edit-a-thon was held at the Miró Foundation's Library. It was a day where Wikipedians end up polishing the articles which they had been working with the best existing resources and references available at the library of the Foundation.

Days before this edit-a-thon meeting, the Wikipedians had already sent their questions and their requests for documentation to the librarians. So, that morning they where able to advance and improve the Wikipedia articles, referencing them with best quality information.

The event was held one month before the opening of the exhibition, so both curators and community had take time to review, refine and translate the contents. At the end of the morning, the museum professionals invited the Wikipedians to a lunch at the Foundation's restaurant, where participants could interact and ask questions to each other in a more relaxed space.

We got loads of press coverage!!
Then museum professionals reviewed the Wikipedia content and recommended some improvements and refined some details. It should be understood however that a Wikipedia article is never given for never completed, is a continual work-in-progress.

The edit-a-thon -and the project in general - had a strong coverage in the national press, interviews and mentions in national media like El Periódico, El Pais, Canal33, La2, RNE1, RAC1, El Punt Avui, Diari Ara or La Vanguardia, among others. Full list here.

This high coverage is due to a firm commitment by communication department of the Joan Miró Foundation, who believed from the PR capacity of the project and planned a strong media campaign to spread it.

PHASE 3. Internationalization

If the article don't exist in the phone's language,
system shows an option list with avaliables
The process of creating and expanding articles was made in to Wikipedia in Catalan, preferred language of the local community, but the project had and international will, as the most interesting part of QRpedia is offering visitors the best possible information in their own language.

This is why the second phase of the project focused mainly on the translation of articles. The Catalan community of Wikipedians translated the the articles into Spanish and English, and then asked for international collaboration to translate them into other languages.

To get support from the international community, project leader looked for those users who had already edited or expanded Miró related articles on the other wikis (English, French, German...) and asked them for help. He also contacted people who were participating in existing wikiprojects related to visual arts or Catalan culture.

Different tools for discovering the same artwork
As Maarten D., a member of Wikimedia NL- defense, is always better and easier to ask for help to existing communities than spending your efforts in trying to create new ones.Roger Bamkin, creator with Terence Edent of QRpedia and member of Wikimedia UK, also helped in recommending some very active users in previous multilingual projects done in Wikipedia.

As a result of this ask for international collaboration, a week before the exhibition vernisage, all items were available in Spanish, Catalan, English, Russian and many other languages like German, Japanese, French, Finnish, Belarusian, Portuguese, Italian and Farsi, among others. The Wikiproject page was translated by the community into English and Finnish.

This means that dozens of volunteers around the world were reading, translating and adapting the articles about the artworks of Joan Miró for weeks, making this content available to a broader public in his native language.


SCANS: This study of actual use of QRpedia codes has been based on a sample taken from October 1, 2011 and March 30, 2012. At this time there has been a total of 12.381 QR codes scanned inside the galleries of the Fundació Joan Miró.

ARTWORK (English name) ARTWORK (Catalan name) LANGUAGES SCANS

Head of a Catalan Peasant Cap de pagès català 6 864

Constellations Constel·lacions 8 603

Naked Woman Climbing a Staircase Dona nua pujant l'escala 6 952

The hope of a Condemned Man L'esperança del condemnat a mort 6 693

The navigator's hope L'esperança del navegant 6 576

The Farm La Masia 8 862

May 1968 Maig 1968 8 566

Hands flying off... Mans volant... 5 899

Metamorphosis Metamorfosis 7 799

Miró Otro Miró altre 4 386

Still Life with Old Shoe Natura morta del sabatot 10 994

Paintings on masonite Pintures damunt masonita 7 1.169

Portrait of Vincent Nubiola Retrat de Vicenç Nubiola 8 1.003

His Highness the Prince Sa Altesa el príncep 5 906

Sa Majestat el Rei Sa Majestat el Rei 6 372

Sa Majestat la Reina Sa Majestat la Reina 5 385

Sèrie Barcelona Sèrie Barcelona 7 226

Altres Altres nd 126

Total scans 12.381


OCT 2.124

NOV 2.293

DEC 1.990

JAN 1.966

FEB 2.014

MAR 1.994

Total scans 12.381

ONLINE TOTAL VISITS: The articles were available on Wikipedia. Therefore, content was not only accessible to the visitors in the exhibition, but to anyone who entered the popular online encyclopedia. The number of Miró-related visits to Wikipedia between October 2011 and March 2012, was much higher than the scans made inside the museum galleries, reaching more than 1,2 MILION VISITS.

Moreover, the activity of Wikipedians did not stop with the list of 17 selected works done by the curators, but it ended up producing more than fifty articles about Joan Miró and his work, and currently has presence in 49 different languages.


When someone scan a QRpedia code, system not only records the user's language, but also records the time spended, the terminal type, how many scans he/she did in a time lapse ... With all this information museum professionals can generated new ways of studying your public in a much more advanced way. Museums could get "hot maps" only watching which codes are consulted more often during a visit the route, and where are the actual "hot spots" of exhibits.

It can also serve as a tool to do market research before printing or order a catalog or a museum guide, because it allows analyzing the common query language done by users, even if this content does not exist on Wiki. As an example, Fundació Miró detected than they had lots of Korean requests but no wiki content and neither a printed guide.







Total scans12.381


The QRpedia project is a very important opportunity for tourism, specially in bilingual country as Catalonia, where the text displayed at the museum's walls must be at least in Catalan, Spanish and English.

QRpedia used in a public space (from museums to zoos) allows easy-to-access free information to the whole society, making it accessible in your language, letting institutions personalize the experience for visitors and improve accessibility to online content .

A visitor using QRpedia to read further about Joan Miró's artwork
It also allows citizens to become a part of the knowledge generated by the museums or any other cultural institutions, and easily engage with them, because Wikipedia articles are written collaboratively, and everyone is welcome to edit and improve it. In addition, a QR code occupies minimal space and is easy to add in an artwork label of the museum.

QRpedia is another example of new models of collaboration between cultural institutions and citizens, in which new technologies and open licenses allow citizens to take an active role in creating useful content for the whole society and engage with the preservation of heritage and culture.

First, museums are the custodians of knowledge and heritage. On the other hand, Wikipedia is becoming the family encyclopedia of the century, the gateway to knowledge, reaching millions of people every day. The Wikipedians help to analyze, study and disseminate the work done by museum professionals from around the world, giving value to the objectives of many of these institutions: disseminate knowledge and culture among society.

It's time to combine the expertise of museums with the reach of Wikipedia, to build a proactive relationship that benefits both parties.

April 24, 2012

Why we should encourage GLAM professionals to become Wikipedians

One month ago we did a couple of Wikipedia Sessions focused for museum professionals and educators in a city near Barcelona.

For most of the attendees it was their first ever contact with Wikipedia from a professional point of view, so we spoke about the value of sharing contents, about community, about free knowledge, about millions of visits, about Google, about online museums and about loads of successful #glamwiki ongoing projects all around the world. We also focused our presentation in the value of including schools and educational projects within the wiki world. And they liked it so much that literary told us "OK, know that we are convinced, we want to know how to do it!" 

Once you convince GLAMs to go wiki, teach them how to do it!
So we decided that a deep how-to-wiki workshop was necessary, and we organized a second and bigger workshop, where almost 80 museum professionals and educators spended a whole morning (9 to 14) learning how to edit Wikipedia.


  • Wiki Skills: GLAMers improve and spread their content online while learning wiki skills
  • More newbies: We increase the global number of Wikipedians. 
  • Friendly space: These newbies start their wiki adventure in a friendly space with real people. 
  • Closing the gap : The percentage of women working in the cultural sector is very high 

How we did it:
We split the morning in 2 sessions:

First theoric, explaining wiki sintaxis and how community works, how to upload to commons....
A XIX century library was the perfect space for explaining how to go wiki
Second part was about to "be bold" we asked the museum professionals and educators to just start wiki and we offered help when they raised their hands.

2nd part of the workshop was held at the University tech room placed next to the museum
You can see more photos of the event here.

April 19, 2012

1st ever Augmented Reality linking to Wikipedia in a museum

We included a fancy interface to click before linking to Wikipedia

Mar de Fons is the title of an art exhibition that is taking place in the Mataró Museum, a local museum not faraway from Barcelona. One of its peculiarities is that you can find more information about the paintings with any mobile devices, thanks to image recognition with augmented reality (AR) that links to Catalan Wikipedia articles.

The exhibition - mainly about sea paintings, with an important role of local artists- was inaugurated on March 30, 2012 and will be open until  September 29, 2013.

How it works
Want to read further about an artist? AR helps you!

Visitors can interact with the artworks focusing them with their smart phone. The designed application allows the direct recognition of the artwork, combining virtual elements in a real context. Thus, when the artwork is focused by a smart phone or tablet, the APP automatically identifies it, appearing on-screen information that is superimposed on the camera and allows linking to the related artist or artwork article in the Catalan Wikipedia.

As far as I Know, this project is first time ever than an AR App links to Wikipedia articles, at least in the field of museums.

The AR experience is included in the museography of the whole exhibit. As it is a quite newbie technology, even more for a local museum, curators decided to clearly teach how to use it. It is one of the keys of the success.
AR technology is clearly explained everywhere
Floor signs show avaliable AR paintings

Participatory exhibit
The exhibition will be evolving with the contributions made ​​by the public via the museum's Facebook page, where you can vote wich of the possible artworks you want to see exposed. You can also upload your own creations (paintings, photography , video, objects, text) to show how each person lives the relationship with the sea. Contributions from visitors may also be voted through Facebook. The public has an important role in the exhibition because, somehow, they can play the role of curators. There is a planed edit-a-thon on June to improve and translate the Wikipedia articles related to the exhibit, where some other local associations and institutions will get involved.

We've got a huge response from the press, even national press, not usual at all for a small local museum. You can read some of the press news at the comment zone of this entry, and some images of the exhibit at Wikimedia Commons here.

April 14, 2012

Emerging illustrators internship helping Wikimedia Commons. First results!

Josep Palau i Fabre
The Escola de la Llotja is an art and design school located in Barcelona, where several important painters as Picasso studied. Llotja and Amical Viquipèdia started a pioneering partnership in which 6 illustration students are doing their final degree internship at Amical, creating images that are being incorporated under free licenses to Wikimedia Commons to illustrate some Wikipedia articles. We already talked about it some months ago, but now you can see some of the illustrations already uploaded here.

It is an opportunity for them to work in a real context, public and very visible, while contributing to a public good that is being built collaboratively and is useful for many people.

The project aims to be a global precedent for involving other art and design schools with Wikimedia related projects · More than thirty articles are already illustrated in several languages thanks to this agreement of collaboration.

How we are doing it

At the beginning, we identified and listed some entries with missing images, and the emerging illustrators of La Llotja are helping us with the task of creating professional and informative images according to the encyclopedic context which they are be published. Among which there are, for example, outstanding figures of the twentieth century and fictional characters.  Also noteworthy illustrations teaching on the drying of the Mediterranean during the Messinian made ​​with scientific advice.
Ricard Giralt-Miracle

Wikipedia has a strict criteria for the inclusion of images and media files, in order to keep open its contents: works might be public domain or free licensed (CC-BY-SA), which may be freely reproduced for any purpose (also commercial) and which they can freely create derivative works to improve them or adapt them. That's why many Wikipedia entries have no image, because many topics do not have a related free image. One purpose of this collaboration is to begin to fill this gap. Members of Amical Viquipèdia with the participation of Catalan Wikipedians identified articles with missing images difficult to achieve if not creating them again.


During the academic year of 2011-12, there are 6 students doing their internship at Amical Wikipedia.

Three of them have drawn portraits of the twentieth century which have had to fend for graphic work to create an own designed to accompany the biographical entries of the encyclopedia.  In one case we have worked with fictional characters, also creating their own works, which were faithful to the literary source and they also have the requests for information and descriptive encyclopedic context. In three cases have been drawn illustration or didactic information about geological phenomena and artistic practices:
  • Luis Segovia: portraits of illustrators of the twentieth century (Ricard Giralt Miracle, Lola Anglada, Pauline Baynes, Fernando Krahn, Robert Monk Segura).
  • Gerard Plan: portraits of Spanish politicians of the early twentieth century and democratic transtition governments after the Franco dictatorship (Adolfo Suarez, Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, Villa Martin, Manuel Gutierrez Mellado, Landelino Lavilla).
  • Albert Pons: portraits of Catalan writers of the twentieth century (Josep Maria Folch i Torres, Montserrat Roig, Terence Moix, Joan Perucho, Josep Palau i Fabre).
  • Jessica Leon: fictional characters from books by JRR Tolkien.
  • Paul Bahia: didactic illustrations on the drying of the Mediterranean Sea during the Messinian period.  Scientific advice was done by Daniel Garcia-Castellanos, a researcher at the Jaume Almera Institute of Earth Sciences, in addition to Wikipedian and member of Wikimedia Spain.
  • Oriol Tuca: recreating scenes and portraits related to the Fluxus art movement.
All works arising as a result of this project will be exhibited on May 10 in Barcelona. We wait for you at Llotja Sant Andreu at 19:30 pm in a ceremony attended by all participants and organizers!!

Press coverage
We are getting a lot of press coverage on national press. (Spanish)