Thursday, 31 January 2013

QR codes offer a way to provide living legacies on grave stones

St Margaret’s Church, an important Welsh landmark in Bodelwyddan, is using QR code technology to help visitors understand the seemingly confusing presence of  80 Canadian soldiers graves.

Ref: AWNS-19170104-38-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Marble Church as it is known, is using the HiPoints system (historical points), which has been created by historypoints.org, a community-based information project. This system uses smartphone mobile technology and QR (quick response) codes located on placards in the graveyard to provide easily digestible historical snippets about a physical location or building etc.

Ref: QR code, Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia
In this case, the QR codes provide links to accounts in French and English, which explain that most of the Canadian soldiers who stationed in Denbighshire during World War 1, died as a result of a global flu pandemic in 1918/19. historypoints.org plan to add more information including photographs in the future.

Ref: AWNS-19370519-54-2, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The system encourages people to click on all the HiPoints in a particular town, so that they can  get a good understanding about the historical landscape surrounding them -  how, why and when it was created, who used to live there, how they earned a living, local heroes and much more.

Ref: AWNS-1933041236-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections
QR codes on grave stones are also being used around the world to provide information about a person's life, creating a living 'interactive' legacy for future generations. For example, this technology is offered by Living Headstones in Washington, America and by Chester Pearce Associates Bereavement Services in Dorset, England . In Japan where QR codes were originally created for Toyota, the information is also being used by statistician for death rate and birth rate analysis.

Ref: 4-RIC252, Sir George Grey Special Collections

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