ACRL 2011 – QR Codes & Academic Libraries

Part of the Cyber Zed Shed presentations. Speaker is Rosalind Tedford, Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest.

Look forward and see what needs to happen before we can go nuts with them in libraries. But first, super fast review — show of hands indicated most of us know what they are.

Ubiquitous in Japan and moving westward slowly. Showed some uses: on a realtor sign in the front yard, on a sign at a bus stop to take you to the schedule (yes!), art museums, billboard for free sudoku in an airport.

Now the library examples – Facebook sign, U of Bath has them on every record in the catalog (hard to track usage). Slide with QR codes linking to other presos & lists of library QR code use.

So…why isn’t everyone using this already?!

Learning curve – you can’t just put it up, you have to have a whole sign about what it is, how to use it, find an app. Becomes complicated for the user.

No standardization. Scanners read codes differently and with varying rates of success.

Cell phone saturation is not an issue (85%). Smart phone saturation is – 50% ish. But only 32% of smart phone users have scanned a QR code.

Tipping point devices: when you can get a smart phone as the free phone, as a go-phone, for $50 or less. Next year or so?

Marketing will drive this – QR codes in the box/packaging? That drives you to figure out what it is? Worth it to me to figure it out b/c I might be able to win tickets, etc. Or something will make you curious. Advertising.

Libraries are not the killer app. Once the tipping point is reached, we’re well situated. Fear is that good intentions will lead us to put them on everything. MUST think about what makes sense.

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2 thoughts on “ACRL 2011 – QR Codes & Academic Libraries

  1. I do a lot of retail and e-commerce work. i was actually looking here hoping that Libraries were doing something cool to copy in retail. I agree the barrier to entry is the problem. I am big geek, and I’ve only tried once to read a QR code with my iPhone – and I failed after wasting a lot of time downloading some free apps. If apple or google started building the ability into their Mobile OS you might see a shift.

    1. I use them occasionally, but when I do so it’s because I’m on my computer reading about an app, and decide I want to try it — the blogs I follow for Android stuff tend to include QR codes that link to the app in the app market, which is really useful. But I can’t say I’ve really used them in the wild.

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