QR Codes in the OPAC?

Just wondering if anyone out there is already experimenting with QR Codes in their OPAC?

We’re trying to figure out the best way of providing item location information (e.g. floor and shelfmark), so I’m interested to know if anyone has already done this.

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16 comments
  1. I don’t see a problem using QR codes for this from a technical point of view – but in truth a button saying ‘text me this’ would surely be more desirable and less hassle from the users point of view?

  2. If you do want to embed QR codes though, you could have a look at http://ouseful.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/printing-out-online-course-materials-with-embedded-movie-links/ – Tony Hirst uses http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ to generate QR codes and embed them – it looks like it would be relatively easy to do this as Kaywa allows you to produce an image based on a URL containing the text you want to be encoded in the QR – in this case the location details.

  3. Cheers for the comments, Owen!

    SMS texting from the OPAC has been on my list of “things to do” for a while, so maybe soon. However, adding a QR code to the OPAC took about 3 minutes of coding whereas I expect doing SMS will take 3 days of coding 😀

    Surprisingly, looking through the server logs and discounting the testing a couple of my colleagues did today, it seems we had 2 people use the QR codes this afternoon before I blogged about it.

  4. Eletcric Aye said:

    Hi Dave,

    I looked at these a few months ago…xml book / reading lists?

    I can see it being used as a course resource at the point of matriculation, i.e. the entire Library induction being housed / referenced on one code perhaps…or incorporated on Student Smartcards.

    I have no doubt you’ll have the OPAC running off one by the end of the week.

    Systems Admin Tickly Arm Syndrome reaching near dangerous levels of late..

    Cheers,
    G

  5. Cool — I just looked into QR Codes and installed an app on my phone. I suppose the question now is: what’s the uptake of QR Codes in the U.S.? I haven’t seen them in the wild here, and I had to go to a company in Taiwan to get an app for my phone.

  6. Paul S. said:

    I do like the idea of QR codes (irrationally, because I don’t even own a camera phone) far out of proportion with their probable usefulness… because they’re just so incredibly “Tomorrow’s World”, aren’t they?

  7. Ian G said:

    Only other example I have seen is Bath.

  8. Matthew Phillips said:

    I quite like the idea, but I think I would prefer just text: a few words from title/author and the call number. I see this being useful for users tracking down the books on the shelf: it’s amazing how many try to avoid writing shelfmarks down.

    One aspect is usage. How can you measure how many people are taking photos of your QR codes? If you’re linking to the catalogue with the QR code, perhaps you can include a tracer in the URL to be picked up in your logs. If you do this, please let us know how popular it is.

  9. Hi Matthew

    That’s pretty much what we’re thinking doing — the user scans the QR code and gets something like:

    Advanced Chemistry – Floor 3, 341.345GER

    At the moment we’re encoding a URL, so we’re able to track usage (which is something we couldn’t do with encoding text unless the user needed to click on something to display the QR code?)

  10. Laurence Lockton said:

    Hi Dave,

    I’ve just added QR codes to our catalogue record display, giving title, author and call number as text, encouraged by our head of e-learning, Andy Ramsden . I’m using the Google Chart API . I wonder whether it would be usefully combined with a “shopping basket,” or is the appeal that it’s just there, it doesn’t require any further clicks? I’m somewhat disadvantaged by not owning a camera phone either!
    Cheers,
    Laurence

  11. I’m in the same boat too, Laurence — my mobile phone (supplied by MPOW) is so old that it’ll soon aquire that “retro chic”!

    I’d hoped to catch Andy at JISC09, but didn’t quite manage it 😦

    As soon as I get a spare 10 minutes, I’m going to change our codes to give title/floor/shelfmark.

    On the plus side, colleagues in the library have just been awarded some funding to look at various aspects of mobile phone technology (well done Andrew!).

  12. Howdo Mr P

    I’m looking at integrating QR codes into our catalogue. Have you documented anywhere what method you’re using to generate the images on the fly? I’ve looked at a couple of methods, all cumbersome 😦

    Cheers
    Mr Ish

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