Archive for the ‘Library Management Systems’ Category
QR codes. What are they? There is a lot of talk about them but just how can they help libraries and learning resource centres? Well, I don’t want to repeat what my colleagues in other RSCs have put together (take a look at Scott’s eLearning Library: http://scotthibberson.co.uk/eLearningLibrary/?tag=qr-codes and the RSC Wales Learning Resources Blog: http://blogs.rsc-wales.ac.uk/lr/category/lrc-technologies/qr-codes-lrc-technologies/) but I just thought it would be worth getting into words some of my thoughts and observations from the last year or so relating to these codes.
The first thing to get across is that they are not in any way difficult. I gave a training session at one of the colleges here in the North West recently and realised that to get this part of the session longer than 10 mins I would really have to draw it out. (We spent the rest of the time looking at Web Conferencing and the benefits this could bring to libraries which I may blog about later).
Let’s start with a traditional barcode. They usually represent (in a library context) either a reader number or an ISBN or other machine-readable information. They have been used in libraries for a considerable number of years for use primarily with interacting with the library management system. A scanner is held close to a barcode (or visa versa) and the information contained within the barcode is transmitted to the device attached to the barcode reader. Over recent years mobile devices such as smart-phones and games consoles have introduced barcode readers and are being used more and more to scan barcodes. (Think of the price checker apps available on smart-phones).
So, what are QR codes? QR stands for Quick Response. Think of them as an “upmarket” barcode. The beauty of a QR code though is the amount and type of information it can store. QR codes can store images, text, URLs, email addresses; a variety of content. They can be created freely and easily using any number of QR code generators available on the internet. Each generator will create an image that you can download or print to use anywhere.
In the same way as a scanner or reader is required for a traditional barcode, a QR code also requires a reader or a scanner but these are available (free in the main) for smart-phones and mobile devices with cameras. Take a look at the video below for a good overview (although the speech is a little slow).
So what use are they to libraries? They could be a really useful and important part of the library marketing strategy. Some libraries have already started adopting them for:
- reading lists within the library, the relevant classrooms and online on the Virtual Learning Environment
- links to individual eBooks positioned on the shelf or even stuck on the book
- ask a librarian service
- links to the library catalogue
How else could they be used in the library? Take a look at the following videos:
I also believe that IS Oxford have incorporated QR code support into their newer versions of the Heritage Online Library Management System.
Some QR code generators that I am aware of. Just select your favourite. Each one creates an image of a QR code that you can use anywhere you wish.
Have a go and see what you can do. It doesn’t take long and they could become a talking point in your library and increase your online resources usage at the same time! Let me know if you have any novel ideas for using QR codes in your library.
So, JISC has released a call for enhancing Library Management Systems. Interesting. From looking through the call it has plenty of scope but, due to the funding, only HEIs or FE Colleges with over 400 FTE HE learners can lead a bid. We have a number of these in our region so those colleges that are eligible, why don’t you put together a bid? Remember that the bid must be focussed on your HE learners and your HE provision. For this particular bid, consortia established solely for the bid are not encouraged to apply due to the short timescale (existing consortia can apply)
The call is split into 4 themes all focussing on different aspects of the JISC’s Enhancing Library Systems initiative.
Have you recently implemented a new Resource Discovery Service such as Primo or AquaBrowser? If you have, this theme is for you. There is up to 10k available for each project with approximately 5 to 8 projects sought.
Funding is provided towards the costs of implementing, using and evaluating the system and not the cost of purchasing the system
Themes B1 and B2
Although it is possible to bid solely for B1 (for which a maximum of £25k is available) JISC are encouraging bidders to work on both themes.
B1: Enhancing existing Online Public Access Catalogues
This theme is focussed on enhancing existing library catalogues and producing “How To” guides for other institutions to adopt. This may involve creating an “Amazon.co.uk” style Opac in liaison with your LMS supplier (however the supplier must not take more than 20% of the cost of the project), or incorporating collaborative tools such as Social Bookmarking. The aim for the project is for the information and code created to be sharable with other uses of the LMS.
Proposals should result in a significant overall enhancement to an existing OPAC
B2: Making library resources and services available outside library Web environments
For this part of the call you will need a software developer (for which some of the money available can be used to fund). A maximum of £40k is available to develop widgets and portals to embed the LMS into other institutional systems such as VLEs, Facebook, social networking sites etc…
Proposals are invited for projects which develop widgets and/or portlets to embed access to library resources and services within institutional, social and/or personal Web environments.
Theme C is focussed on exploring problem areas with LMS and highlighting their current limitations which restrict libraries from providing services as they would wish. There is a maximum of £5k available per case study which involves identifying the problem, illustrating how improved systems integration could enhance the learning experience and documenting any work-arounds that have been established.
It is intended that these case studies will be used as the basis of a number of workshops in which case study institutions will share their experiences.
The call can be found on the JISC website at:
If there’s anything the I can do to help bidders, please do get in touch.
David Salvesen from IS Oxford has recently posted new information to the Heritage mailing list regarding Heritage online and it’s integration with Moodle. This looks like it could be an excellent development and I can’t wait to see it in practice. The email is below.
We are working on an API (Application Programming Interface) to Heritage Online that will permit information to be pulled from by other web-based applications e.g. VLEs such as Moodle or Sharepoint-based systems. Such technology, where a single ‘webpage’ draws information from a number of different sources is sometimes referred to as Web2.In the first release, our Web2 development will allow borrower information to be picked up e.g. number of loans, items overdue, items becoming due, but we will extend this further in future developments. The initial development work is underway with a test application providing data to both Moodle and Sharepoint. The release of this part is planned to be available in the Summer.
Two related developments will be Single Sign On (SSO) to avoid borrowers having to manually identify themselves to Heritage Online and changes to our licensing of Heritage Online. We will provide more information on these when we have it, most probably within the next two to three months.
I’ve just received a link to the TOCRoSS project that has been running over the last 18 months at Emerald and the University of Derby. The aim was to use RSS technology to automatically stream journal data into the Talis Library Management System which would enable the user to search more information about the journal directly from the opac.
Further information is available here: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/programme_pals2/project_tocross.aspx
The software is available from: http://sourceforge.net/projects/tocross
Is anyone using the system within the Northwest yet? If so, leave a comment on this post.