Find the Future (Jane McGonigal for NYPL)

iInd The Future screenshot Thanks to Kirstin Hierholzer for pointing out this wonderful convergence of research library spaces, collections, mobile technologies (including QR), and game-based teamwork. The goal is to “show off NYPL as a space for active creation and social collaboration.”

For more info, see coverage in Fast Company and CNN.

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QR Codes and Academic Libraries: Robin Ashford in C&RL News

The November 2010 College & Research Library News cover story, QR Codes and Academic Libraries,is by George Fox University/PDX librarian Robin Ashford, who blogs at Librarian by Design. Full article here:

This excerpted version is from John Lang’s The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian’s Weblog.

“…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. The number of smartphones and Internet-enabled cell phones in this country is increasing rapidly. Marketing data says we should expect smartphones to be in the hands of half of all U.S. mobile users by the end of 2011. As handsets change, so do the ways we use these devices. Remember when students used to walk around campuses with their ears glued to their cell phones? Now we see them walking and texting. Voice has become less relevant, and the focus has transitioned to data.

“The 2009 ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology found that 51.2 percent of respondents owned an Internet-capable handheld device, and another 11.8 percent planned to purchase one within the next 12 months…”

Examples of QR code uses in libraries include:

*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…

Robin Ashford: “Academic libraries are poised to benefit from the momentum created by the uptake of QR codes in the corporate world and popular culture. However, for this to succeed, we need to take care to implement QR codes where they really make our users’ lives easier. Blanketing a library with QR codes that provide little value could backfire, leaving users less apt to try other QR codes. This could result in a lost opportunity for libraries and campuses to leverage a really useful technology…”

© 2010 Robin Ashford

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QR @ West Virginia University’s Library

WVU Library

The WVU Libraries are using QR codes to help students easily connect with a variety of library resources. “We’re trying to reach users,” said David Roth, Library Associate at the Evansdale Library. “They’re excited about mobile devices, so QR codes are a great way for them to access resources. Increasingly, information is mobile.”

Last March, during the Big East Tournament in New York, WVU used a QR code to direct people to a video promoting the University. The WVU Libraries are using them to direct users to services available on the Libraries’ mobile webpage.

This semester, Evansdale Library began posting QR codes that enable students to reserve a study room, find materials on eReserve, find an available computer, and connect to the mobile webpage. The Downtown Campus Library has posted QR codes for finding a computer.  “QR codes bridge the gap between our physical services and the digital environment,” said Martha Yancey, Access Services Coordinator for the Evansdale Library. “We hope they will help our users.”

Once a student visits a page, it will remain on their phone until it’s deleted. Roth recommends students bookmark the mobile pages that they expect to use often. He expects students to especially appreciate the one dedicated to locating a computer. “This is a great way to see what computers are open while you are on the PRT heading to the Library,” Roth said.

Miriam Newman, a graphic design junior, uses her iPhone to reserve a study room at the Evansdale Library.


adapted from WVU Library News, 2/9/11

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QR Art from Venezuela

Venezuelan artist Pedro Morales works with 2D code. Below are photographs of his latest work “Puras Flores” (Pure Flowers). He says, “Puras Flores is a digital work whose scale invariability is shaped by QR codes patterns. This fractal characteristic proposes aesthetics marked by ones and zeros, whites and blacks. The work has been assembled using a raffia mesh with fabrics applications shapes. Puras Flores is a work that uses interactive digital technology integrated to cell phone equipment in order to read content with simply pointing your phone to these codes.” Morales’ QR materials also include black pushpins on white fabric and thumbnail headshots of children on black fabric.

Adapted from an article on 2D Code.

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ARIS app: Augmented Reality, Interactive Storytelling

Not all the news from Wisconsin is bad. U-Wisconsin’s Games, Learning and Society (GLS) researchers have developed a mobile device authoring environment, ARIS (Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling), that they currently deploy to help the UW community to re-experience Dow Day, a famous campus protest from the 1960s. See a video on ARIS development here:

ARIS is available at the Apple Store, and cheat codes are available to adapt it for other games/locales: The ARIS authoring environment allows users to create mobile games, tours and interactive stories through GPS and QR Codes. With ARIS, users are able to create and select audio/video clips, images, etc. to build enhanced tours and/or place-based games to use in their communities—for example, a touring game based on what UO was like for a student in 1915, or a quest to discover (on foot) and describe (online) 12 stylistically different PNW artists represented in UO’s Percent for Art collection.


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Food-based QR hackers in NYC + other QR arts projects

Enjoy the photos and video courtesy of NYC Resistor, a Brooklyn community hacking group. Creating QRs can be tasty, artful and community-building. Maybe Knight Library’s artful cooking contest should incorporate a QR theme this year?

Here’s the Flickr group QR Codes in the Wild: Many interesting designs from around the world.

A QR project for soliciting comments on street art:

Check out the speedy video documentation of a NYT Magazine cover that = QR made of balloons:

Micro-Secrets in Public Space: a Dutch public artworks project that embedded visual art, poems, commentary into 7 large QRs on a building scheduled for demolition:

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Smithsonian gets schooled on QR

Patrick Donnelly is an MBA and designer of QR and AR (augmented reality) in DC. His blog above shows a 2010 presentation to the Smithsonian about QR/AR resources. He has also given a presentation to his alma mater (George Washington U) about higher education uses for QR and AR. Here’s a link to his business, QR. Arts:

Here he is with a large (temporary) QR containing information for a GWU art show:. Total cost: $5 for the bond paper/printing.

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Campus Trees


Self-guided tour of significant campus trees (from UO Planning)

Full Campus Tree Plan (from UO Planning)

History of the campus landscape (from Ed Teague, AAA Library)

photo by Dean Walton, aka flickr user wolframburner. Used by permission (Creative Commons license). thanks, Dean!

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The Oregon Scholar’s Forest: Helping students see the forest for the trees.

“Because the locations of various buildings on any college campus happens to be grouped just the way they are, the Branches of Knowledge represented at each university are unique, of diverse shape and pattern. The scientists are placed near the artists and ethnographers close to athletic departments. Things take root, grow, adapt and we get used to it… and flourish. The results are interconnected patterns of life in close proximity with other academic schools of thought. One thing about campus life that seems the most fruitful has been within the boundaries between these intellectual ecosystems – those frontier zones where it’s not quite one territory anymore and still maybe not quite the other. It’s a strange and surprising mix of both sets of turf.

Walk outside and down the path between buildings on campus. See those trees? You’re going to be using your phone to call your friend in a sec, I know, but hold on – let me show you something on your phone that’s awesome about the U of O. Stand over here by this tree with me. Here, let’s open your portfolio from this campus forest app:

HEDCO Building, 50 yards
Ethnic Studies, 580 yards
Open Source Lab, 68 miles, 1,204 yards
Oaxaca City, Mexico, 2,241 miles, 30 yards

…you can tap on any of those branches there and get contact info for the faculty, their projects, presentations, scholarly papers, etc. – there’s even some cool learning games that some students and faculty teams created over there hanging on that branch. I learned about something that I might use for my journalism class over on this branch when I was here earlier. Here on the trunk they have a project that they’re asking for input from students: do you want to register with your Duck ID and play the game that goes with that survey? I really should check out that Virtual Oaxaca project you are working on. That looks really fun. Was it hard to get into? Maybe I’ll just wait to see what you guys end up putting in the Arboretum and then I’ll decide if I want to try to go one of those Virtual Learning Expeditions”

What if we tag the trees on our campuses and work with students and add data layers relevant to the geographic proximity of our search or profile preferences and settings? How might representing scholarly work using the infographic of the TREE might enable us to create new naturally developing interdisciplinary projects. This could be an interesting way to display, mix, and analyze digital content. Each program, each campus department, service, or headquarters can be represented through the tree-shaped infographics created for the arboretum. By standing next to a tree there may thus be an interdisciplinary interface – and while subject to the geographies and organization of each unique campus can nevertheless serve as a powerful and transformational context.

“Look here: if I look through this lens at the Oregon Scholars Forest app –

Civil Engineering

So… now I can see that this same tree has been specially designated to showcase the portfolio for Campus Sustainability efforts. And here are a few class projects that look like they’re not available for us to see right now. I’ll have to bookmark this with a leaf and come back later.

And check this: you can display your own Oregon WordPress MU Portfolio as a tree and use it to collaborate, record, reflect on, and display the thinking around your own experiences.

Such a simple thing – to tag all of the trees on campus and let it grow. I get it.

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The Arboretum and QR Coding

You are invited to use this blog to post ideas, questions, suggestions, links that can help us think about uses QR coding around the UO campus.

In an initial meeting in October 2010 about Next Generation Learning Challenges, it was agreed that UO should aim to produce a campus-scaled proposal that points to various technologically-enriched learning networks in place at UO, then shows how they can be more inclusively linked to create a campus-wide environment that fosters deeper learning, persistent learning, interdisciplinary learning–beginning at the GenEd level and extending through the undergraduate years.

Another group of faculty, librarians, and research administrators convened in February 2011 to discuss various ways to apply QR codes to UO artworks, exhibits, buildings, trees, and so on in order to reveal rich and often hidden information to the UO community, and provoke greater interactivity in the learning environment indoors and outdoors.

Email Robert Long (rohilong[at]uoregon[dot]edu) for more information about meetings about QR initiatives, as well as about becoming a contributor to The Arboretum.




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