Posts Tagged ‘qr codes’
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.