Thursday, January 20, 2011

How Libraries Can Use QR Codes to Improve Services

While we are looking at the vast possibilities of using this free technology here at Homewood Public Library, I would like to share some basic info about QR codes and some of the ideas we have compiled. We already are using them to quickly connect to our new mobile catalog, this blog, EBSCO research database, and downloadable eBooks and audiobooks, and are hoping to implement them in other areas as well. Hope this helps you to understand what they are and what they do. They are powerful little "pieces of art".

Mobile Catalog
WKBE blog

A Quick Response code is a 2D barcode that can store and display lots of information. You install a barcode scanner on your phone which uses the camera to capture an image of the QR code and your phone completes the encoded action.

The QR code can be programmed to connect you to a website (where you could watch a video, read an RSS feed, or get more info), make a phone call, send an SMS (text message), send email, download contact information to your phone, or map an address.

Download and install a QR code reader that is compatible with your phone. Many are free, so there’s no need to purchase one: BeeTagg, i-nigma, NeoReader, and others.

Use an online generator to create your own QR codes with BeeTagg, invx, Zxing, etc. You can embed your contact information, a link to your online resume, or have the QR code printed on your business cards. If you are encoding a URL, make sure it's a mobile site that will load well on a mobile phone browser.

Libraries are beginning to use QR codes to improve their services. While this is a fairly new technology in the library world, the possibilities are endless.

Some ideas are:

Embed URLs in QR codes to: a mobile library website, a mobile catalog, a dynamic search in a catalog (i.e. “writing graphic novels”), mobile databases (i.e. EBSCO), library blogs that are mobilized (Blogger and Wordpress automatically convert their content into mobile versions), a virtual tour of the library, instructional videos on YouTube, mobile versions of book suggestions or read-alikes, place inside books and on shelves to lead to book trailers, mobile friendly blogs, and author sites.

Embed other information in QR codes: contact information (i.e. phone number and email), SMS (text) for text reference services, create a scavenger hunt.

Check out this coolness! Ubimark has republished Jules Verne’s classic Around the world in 80 days: The ubitour version guided by your mobile phone enhanced with QR Codes that follow Phileas Fogg’s adventure on interactive maps and play audio or video versions. Reserve it in the catalog, but first log in with your library card number. Also, the paperback can be purchased at Amazon.

Contact Info
Cheryl Burnette


Anonymous said...

I am excited about QR codes and have started a list of all the ones I want to create and where in the library I'd like to place them!

Cheryl Burnette said...

Good! It is an exciting and fun thing to do!