Hey, QR code! Smile for the camera!

Here’s a recently over-cited prediction: “The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.” [1]  So how will people access the internet from their mobile devices? Using the tiny keys to punch in increasingly lengthy URLs?  Probably not.

An example of a QR code

An example of a QR code

Rather, cameras on mobile devices are seen as a more efficient way to access information on the internet.  How? Many ways.  But, the use of Quick Response (QR) codes is a rapidly emerging method for pushing content to a users mobile device without requiring hand-cramping URLs.

Taking a page from the ever-useful barcode, QR codes may look like 3d pictures that will leave you cross-eyed trying to see the hidden image, but they are actually encoded images.  The same way a book’s barcode can be scanned to input the book’s ISBN into a checkout system, QR codes can be captured (via camera) and processed by a QR application to lead you to enriched, context-sensitive information.

There are lots of possibilities for using these to make our patrons’ lives simpler, but here’s one to get the creative juices flowing:

Call numbers are an endless source of frustration for novice library users.  Posting QR codes that lead to a mobile-formatted tutorial about reading call numbers at the end of each aisle (right where your little call# range signs are located) could provide that “point of need service” libraries are always striving to fulfill.  Along with the tutorial, you could include your phone number (they are staring at their phone after all) or information about texting the reference desk for additional help.

This is just one of many possibilities for QR codes.  A great way to get started is to make your contact information available via a QR code.  I used beetagg.com to make mine.  Here’s how:

1. Fill out your contact info at http://contacts.beetagg.com

1. Fill out your contact info at http://contacts.beetagg.com

2. Choose a display mode for your mobile contact page.

2. Choose a display mode for your mobile contact page.

3. Add a picture of yourself or a company logo.  You can also enter a personalized message.

3. Add a picture of yourself or a company logo. You can also enter a personalized message.

5. Take a look at your new mobile contact page!  This is a fully functional webpage, so you can link directly to the URL as well.

5. Take a look at your new mobile contact page! This is a fully functional webpage, so you can link directly to the URL as well.

4. Preview your QR code.  Make sure to save it!  I would save it using their jpeg option.  You can then add it to anything the same way you would add any other image.

4. Preview your QR code. Make sure to save it! I would save it using their jpeg option. You can then add it to anything the same way you would add any other image.

Add this QR code to your website, handouts for presentations and instruction, your business card, and anywhere else you can think of!

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[1] Rainie, Lee & Janna Anderson. The Future of the Internet III. Pew Internet and American Life Project, Dec. 14, 2008, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/The-Future-of-the-Internet-III.aspx, accessed on July 31, 2009.

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One Response

  1. […] how to use jQuery Mobile for making mobile websites, and show you tools that use mobile devices to engage library users in reference and instruction. But so far, we haven’t talked about providing instructional support […]

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