QR Codes: They’re Everywhere
You may be noticing these peculiar square images in your environment lately. They’re popping up on the Web, on billboards, on business cards, t-shirts. . . pretty much everywhere.
These squares are called QR (“Quick Response”) codes. QR codes are 2-dimensional barcodes and can be used to represent many different kinds of information, including phone numbers, map locations and text. Often, they represent web addresses. A barcode scanning application on a cameraphone can be used to quickly retrieve the resource behind the code without any tedious thumbing-in of the URL or other data.
Have a smartphone? Give it a try! Start by finding a barcode scanning application. You phone may have come with a barcode reader already installed. If not, here are a few free or inexpensive options:
iPhone – RedLaser ($1.99), pic2shop (free)
Blackberry – ScanLife (free)
Android – Barcode Scanner (free)
Using the barcode scanner, point your phone’s camera at this QR code:
This should direct your phone’s web browser to MedlinePlus Mobile, NLM’s hub site for consumer health information.
The next step is to create your own QR codes and begin using them to promote mobile-friendly resources at your organization. There are a number of free QR code generators out there, including Kaywa and QRStuff
What creative uses for QR codes are springing to your mind right now? Check these resources for additional inspriation.
- Educause’s 7 Things You Should Know About QR Codes explores potential uses for CR codes in academic and library environments.
- Laurie Bridges’ presentation (created with Prezi) is a great introduction to QR codes and their uses in libraries and museums.
- Boise State University’s Albertsons Library uses QR codes on their blog to point to maps and directions, the library homepage, and to promote a new text reference service.