QR (quick response) Codes, a type of barcode, are beginning to make inroads in the United States. They are still largely unknown, but early adopters in higher education and recent urban promotional campaigns are changing that. As with any new technology, it is important to understand what they can do and when they can help our users.
A QR code is a matrix barcode readable by smartphones and mobile phones with cameras. They are sometimes referred to as 2d codes, 2d barcodes, or mobile codes. [snip]
The QR code typically appears as a small white square with black geometric shapes, though colored and even branded QR codes are now being used. QR codes can hold much more information than a regular barcode. The information encoded in a QR code can be a URL, a phone number, an SMS message, a V-card, or any text. They are referred to as QR because they allow the contents to be decoded at high speed. QR codes were developed in 1994 by Denso-Wave, a Toyota subsidiary.
There are several reasons to believe this may be the time to prepare for mainstream use of QR codes in the United States, and for academic institutions and libraries to start implementing this technology. [snip]
Essentially, QR codes are a convenient way to add the virtual to the physical—to provide useful content, often at the time of need. [snip]
QR codes are a low-threshold technology. Low-cost, easy to implement, and easy to use, ... .
How Are Libraries Using QR Codes?
Librarians and staff in large research universities, small liberal arts institutions, public libraries, and museums are experimenting and discovering useful ways to implement QR codes in both their physical and online libraries. [snip]
• Library exhibits that include a QR code link to songs, videos, Web sites, surveys, contests, etc. or other information that augments the exhibits
• Codes in the library stacks/end caps or magazine/journal areas that point to online electronic holdings of print materials or related subject guides
• Linking to library audio tours for orientations
• Code added to print handouts for additional information on mobile friendly sites
• QR code with text that loads the library’s text message reference service and other contact information into the patron’s phone
• Art shows or permanent art in libraries with a QR code linking to the artists’ Web sites
• In catalog records to offer patrons basic info about an item, including the location and call number. Users can scan the code and head to the stacks rather than writing or printing
• Taped to video/ DVD cases, linking to mobile-friendly video trailers
• Code placed on staff directory pages and research guides that go to mobile friendly sites for later reference
• Code placed on audio book cases for author interviews or books for reviews
• Code placed on study room doors connecting to room reservation forms
• Library video tutorials—individual videos or create a QR code to a YouTube playlists of videos, which create a great mobile home screen app that can be saved for easy access, as needed
An Innovative Library Vendor
Alexander Street Press (ASP) has devised an innovative use for QR codes in their subscription-based Music Online databases. In a July 2010 press release, ASP President Stephen Rhind-Tutt announced that “Patrons of subscribing libraries can now listen to hundreds of thousands of classical, jazz, world music, and other recordings from smart phones and other mobile devices."
[See Also > Alexander Street Streaming Music Collections Go Mobile—Easy Access Options Include QR Codes]
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Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki > QR Codes: Uses In Libraries