UoL Library Blog

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QR codes and Libraries: first thoughts, I’m new here

Posted by sarahw9 on 8 January, 2009

 I’m new to the whole idea of QR codes and have suddenly been been swept along by the the potential of them.  Of course we are not talking about them becoming ubiquitous in the UK next week, but suddenly the integration of mobile technologies, the internet and physical objects seems closer.  

What is it? A QR code is a two dimensional bar code that can be read by a mobile device (add some software) such as your phone, which links you directly to a webpage.  No need to type URLs into tiny gadgets. 

I have mentioned them to people I know who have never heard of them and got some blank ‘whats the good of that’ stares. 

The idea has an immediacy and a kind of 3D hyperlinking experience.  Imagine, you can take a physical object or location and direct people to online information directly from it.  This could be instructions for how to do something, supporting resources or information, relevant games or educational tasks / quizzes.   The educational possibilities must be vast.

Here are a few ideas for libraries off the top of my head:

  • Book: links to reviews and latest editions; any new materials / feeds in related areas of interest. 
  • Your course handbook: a link to your subject resources.
  • Links to targetted subject resources from any location.
  • Directly contact an information librarian from a location (not just library locations but from library materials).

Somehow it links information into direct contact with the outside world.  No longer is elearning necessarily sitting in front of a computer.  You can be ‘out there’ and accessing online materials (including library resources and library ‘filtered’ or created resources).  Its an information managers dream?!

I’m sure there is alot more to come than this, so any more ideas for QR codes in libraries please?

3 Responses to “QR codes and Libraries: first thoughts, I’m new here”

  1. So they’re just barcodes 2.0 then? The idea of making links easier is fine, but how do I know that I’m not being linked to say a pr0n, warez or attack site then? I think the potential for abuse would be rife – assuming the software to create them is in the public domain.

    Can’t honestly say that I can see libraries scattering these around the building hotlinking left right and centre, seems something that’s more in marketing zone.

    And you still need a) device that can read them b) device that can link to the net c) device that lets you type an email. No, sorry don’t think they’re a especially revolutionary idea personally but don’t let that stop you exploiting them!

  2. …but I do admit they look pretty!

  3. ajcann said

    They’re not a revolutionary idea, they are a form of barcode. The design includes more information than can be included in a barcode. Their potential is to link physical objects to online resources. Augmented reality anyone?
    http://scienceoftheinvisible.blogspot.com/search/label/QRcode

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