How to connect the physical collections with web resources

Nerdlepoint by außerirdische sind gesund

I did two short presentations on QR codes at InfoCamp and at an ILS user group meeting. I wanted to do a slick presentation with Prezi, but ran out of time to make it work well, so I just presented with images on slides.

Several people have asked for the slides, which are a bunch of images without any context or other content. Here’s a list of links that might be more useful.

QR codes — General

The Big Wild – an online conservation movement, sponsored by MEC and CPAWS, where people sign online petitions to protect Canadian wilderness. Big Wild recently launched a poster campaign utilizing QR codes.

Ethical Bean – by scanning the QR code on the bag of coffee, consumers can learn more about where their coffee was grown.

Rollout – company that designs and digitally prints custom wallpaper, created QRious Paper.

Code Unique – a hotel that is being built in Dubai where the building itself is a QR code

Lisa Rabey – recent library school grad who wore this delightfully cheeky t-shirt to ALA

QR codes — Libraries

University of Bath Library – QR codes in their catalogue at the item level. Scanning these dynamically generated QR codes brings up the type of information that users generally have to jot down on a piece of paper: call number, shelving location, title and author. Kate Robinson presented on this at the m-Libraries conference last year.

Where, why, and how we’re using QR codes in my library – previous blog post

Contra Costa public library – connecting transit commuters with ebook collections using QR codes.

More examples of how libraries are using QR codes – Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki

QR codes — Creating

I used Kaywa’s QR code generator, but there are many others.

QR codes — Scanning

I have an iPhone and use Neoreader (free). Some Android using folks have recommended Barcode Scanner.

See also

Microsoft tags – apparently have great analytics, but you need to use the proprietary Microsoft reader

stickybits – traditional barcodes + social media

QR codes in my library

For the first two weeks of school the display in our street-facing window is a giant QR code that links to the library website. I want to challenge people’s idea that the library is the place where the books are stored. We offer so much more in terms of collections and services.

While there are no statistics about smart phone ownership amongst students, I see that many of our students have iPhones (and a small, but growing number have Androids). I like that it encourages curiosity and exploration. Also, QR codes are starting to take off in marketing campaigns in Canada. I especially like The Big Wild’s poster campaign in a bunch of Canadian cities.

I asked my coworkers for ideas of what text could accompany the QR code. “More than just books” was rejected, because the physical materials, including artists’ book collection, are important to some staff and users. I considered the library standby of “check it out!” but dismissed it because it’s not really funny or interesting. Someone suggested listing all the collections and services we have. This would have been too expensive to get all the vinyl lettering cut, and would have looked really cluttered. One of my clever coworkers suggested making the QR code huge, and keep the rest of the window simple. She used some fabric to extend the pink from the website into the window, and taped the QR code to the window so that it could be read. She did a way better job than I would have.

I added QR code signage around the library in various places: the new books display, the artists’ files and artists’ books (which are in locked filing cabinets, so you can’t see what’s inside). Today I’m printing a few more: one for our hours on the door, for a display of rare magazines from our special collections, and for our feedback form.

I made a mistake with the size of the large QR code. It was 40″x40″, and the foam core was 40″ wide. The QR code went right to the edge and was not readable by my phone. Putting scrap paper underneath made the QR code readable. I remembered that the white border is a necessary part of the QR code. I got another, slightly smaller one, 38″x38″, cut. This worked fine.

QR codes are a way to link the physical spaces and collections with our electronic and virtual collections and services. I’m thrilled to work in an environment where I can experiment and quickly try out new creative ideas.

Library Success wiki – QR codes