Posts Tagged ‘Uniform Resource Locator’

Phew! Over on publib, there is a real tempest brewing about those little squares. It seems they raise quite a few people’s dander, both in defense and against them! I’ll just list a few anonymous comments. It started with:

“Hi All-I just visited the Kimtag site and found out how simple it is to create GQ codes. Now I’m pondering: what have any public libraries used them for? Anything particularly valuable? Have you had any feedback? I should point out that the reason I spent time on this today is because I read something this morning about how these are a passing fad”

The thread continued with the neat site I posted already, and then the rabble was aroused:
Enthusiastic, bubbly PRO
“We’ve been using QR codes on shelftalkers. We have readalike shelftalkers that say, “If you like author A you might like authors B,C,D, and E.” Next to the list is a QR code that takes you to a page with the shelftalker text and provides a link to the rest of the readalike lists we have on our website. We’ve been promoting our databases with shelftalkers that have QR codes leading to our database page. These say something like, “Interested in genealogy? Try using Ancestry or HeritageQuest.” We hang them in the stacks, in the appropriate subject area. Finally, our library has a cooking blog (Have Book, Will Cook). We’ve used QR codes linking to the blog on shelftalkers that are hung by the cookbooks.”

Snippy CON
“QR codes are mostly on their way out. Many stores that were using them have now removed them. It’s just an extra step to put someone through that could easily be put on a sign for them to read. I think they’re a neat idea for scavenger hunts and things like that, but otherwise you’re just asking your patrons to do more work to get information. I’d hate to see libraries hang on to this the way they hung on to Second Life for years after most of the users had moved on to other things like Minecraft.”

Offended PRO
“I disagree with this completely. If someone has a smart phone with a browser in their hand and wants to use their browser to be linked to a website with more complete information, QR codes speed that process up to the point where it is almost instant. Also, one can link to instructional videos, etc. that play in the browser that might make a process clearer. The age of taped-up signs everywhere is what’s on the way out, not the integration of the physical and web environments, which is what the QR code makes possible.”

“The experts say so” short & sharp CON

“I dunno, Google declared QR codes dead months ago.

PRO (with humor)
“We work for the patron, not the trend-setters, and the patrons are still
using them. If near-field transmitting takes off, we’ll use that, too. But
QR, for the moment, is cheaper. And AVAILABLE. Keep us posted when NF ads
are available to public libraries, though.”

“I’d have to disagree with both the assumption that QR codes are dead and that print signs are on the way out as well. The problem with NFC replacing QR is that it hasn’t fully been integrated in more than a few countries, the US not being one of those countries. So QR codes are by no means disappearing just yet.

The idea that taped up signs are on the way out because of QR codes is pretty funny to me as well, since you have to place the QR code on a readable surface anyway. If someone is placing QR codes on anything but print signs then they are most likely wasting a resource in doing so, because that display could be better served connecting someone to the information they desire faster as was Angela’s complaint earlier.

My two cents on the original post: The real question should not be whether the item is a passing fad, but whether it will increase traffic for you. If you have quite a few people that have phone in hand at all times, you should consider using QR codes at least for now. If you have few people that even know what a smart phone is, then don’t sweat QR codes at all. At our library tried it out because we want to improve our reach, but most of our patron base just isn’t of the tech savvy nature so it failed. I feel that giving it a shot may be worth it if you aren’t sure.”

“We’ve been careful to try to deploy them in ways that actually increase utility for the patrons, rather than simply repeat information we already have on a page. We put them on bibliographies, so that patrons can access the record set in the catalog in one fell swoop instead of title-by-title. This means they can look at availability of items and place holds faster. We’re looking in to putting them on our program posters so that patrons can zap the event into their calendars, but so far I have not found a QR generator that lets you put iCal information and lets you track the use of those tags. We don’t do things that we aren’t able to quantify.”

“Here’s a good article on the awareness of QR codes. http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/7959-two-thirds-of-consumers-don-t-know-what-qr-codes-are-survey It does save time in typing out a URL, but people are going to need a really good reason to want to visit a website, such as a display by a local artist. If you just watch people in a mall or Best Buy or anywhere else that has them, you’ll notice the majority of people ignoring them. I actually get annoyed that stores won’t just tell me what the sale, price, etc. is- I have to dig through my purse to find my phone, unlock it, open the app, scan the QR code, and then wait for the site to load. I could have read a sign in 2 seconds. You are also limiting the information to people with smart phones. This is coming from someone with 2 computers, all the video game consoles, and who stands in line for each new iPhone. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not harder. I guess what I’m saying is use them wisely, and don’t make your patrons work for information they could get in an easier way. I don’t mean to be a Downer Debbie, but I’m just not really a fan.”


“If you read the comments section below the story I think you’ll see that most people don’t agree with the gist of the article.” http://www.businessinsider.com/those-little-square-codes-you-scan-with-your-phone-are-dead-2011-3

Sooo, what did the rest of you spend your day doing?

I PROMISE that’s my last post on QR Codes. (Doesn’t mean I won’t comment on them somewhere, though! :-))

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