QR Codes Talk
Posted by sarahw9 on 28 January, 2009
This Monday myself and Selina attended a QR code meeting to discuss the JISC project with Andy Ramsden from Bath. There was a general introduction to QR codes which filled in some gaps in my knowledge. The main advantage to QR codes is that on mobile devices they get over the need to type URLs. QR codes not only link to websites, but also can be used to send prewritten SMS to phones, transfer phone numbers, and provide further text. They are designed to cope with a high level of error, hence are suitable for outdoor use.
I was also surprised at the relatively high level of student awareness of QR codes; about 13% have heard of them, although only 2% have actually used one. Whilst that may not sound like much, given the potential growth in mobile devices for accessing the web, and what we were assured by our own in house IT experts is the relative robustness of QR codes in comparison to other types of code, then seem to be worth watching.
The bulk of the session was a discussion of how we could be using QR codes – where might they actually be of benefit in the real world now? Here are the main ideas that stood out to me in a library context:
- Special collections: to a podcast/vodcast, further information, interactive task or questionnaire.
- Library Induction: a treasure trail of where to find resources. An audio tour.
- Departmental slide collections: instructions or support materials.
- Ejournals: from the physical location of a journal a link to the electronic version.
- QR code linking to availability of wireless networks around the campus.
- Training sesssions: could link to feedback or interactive elements (not unlike voting software).
- Peer support: relating to information literacy training or general teaching across the University. Students can create a QR code on the fly that links them to their support /discussion group.
One memorable usage has been where they have been used on railway platforms to link to timetables in Japan.
There was brief discussion of the barriers, such as equity and sceptical management cultures. There seemed to be general agreement that the marketing and admin take up would be likely to lead rather than using them in educational contexts.
Alan Cann emphasised that the task the QR codes takes you to should be viable and usable on a mobile. Also there are issues around the potential for phishing. When a QR code is in a physical location out in the world, what is to stop someone sticking their own QR code on top that takes you to a fake site?
I’ll be interested to see what comes next from this project. Free iPhones for library staff (for research purposes to support the digital library strategy of course)?