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: http://crln.acrl.org/content/71/10/526.full.
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