Do click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.
What is QR Code?
QR is an abbreviation for Quick Response, and is used very commonly (at least in Singapore) in many publicity media, primarily for the convenience of linking to physical and online content. It looks like a dot-matrix box like design (see below) :-
History of QR Codes
QR Codes were originally invented in 1994 by Denso Wave, a Japanese company that is a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation in their quest to track car parts during the automotive assembly process (“QR Code”, 2013). They are 2 dimensional barcodes that provide substantially more flexibility than standard barcodes. Standard barcodes can only contain 20 alpha-numeric characters (Struyk, 2012). QR Codes can contain 7,089 numeric or 4,296 alphanumeric characters, including non-alphabet characters, such as Japanese and Chinese characters (Gazin, 2011) . This provides much greater flexibility. QR codes can also be linked to websites, e-text, online images, videos, audio files, sign-up forms, telephone numbers–the possibilities are endless!
Here’s a great video introduction to QR Codes:
Some examples of QR Code Applications
- QR codes and academic libraries – Reaching mobile users
- Virtual merchandise linking to online shopping by JCDecaux
- Scan and Go Movie Mobile Tickets
- Scan and Go Mobile e-Boarding Pass
- Garbage Disposal in China. Scan the correct chute to open for disposal
- Immersive library project at NTU Libraries
- Use of QR-coded ID bracelet for tracking autism kids
- Use of QR Codes in the De La Salle University Library
- Creative business cards using QR Codes
- QR Code Tag Project in the Philippines to promote tourism
Gazin, G. (2011, June 21). A QR code tells a much story than a barcode. Troy Media. Retrieved from http://www.troymedia.com/2011/06/21/a-qr-code-tells-a-much-bigger-story-than-a-barcode/
QR Code. (2013). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1822984/QR-Code
Struyk, T. (2012). Introduction to QR Codes. Retrieved from http://www.techopedia.com/2/27408/trends/an-introduction-to-qr-codes
Reading QR Codes
Find an app for your mobile device to read QR codes (eg. QR Code Readers, QR Droid Zapper (Android and iOS options), Bako.do (iOS) and kwiQR (windows) )
Creating QR Codes
The QR Code under “Discover” tab was generated with an Android App – BeautyQR. There are many tools out there that can help you to generate simple and fancy QR codes free or with a fee like QRStuff (paid version allows you to change URL of created QR Code), QR-Monkey (you can embed a social media icon), or Visualead (free version allows you to create one QR code). URL shortener sites like goo.gl and Bit.ly can also generate QR codes.
For BeautyQR, click on arrow >> to generate QR code. This app is very easy to use and lets you change the color of the QR code and its background, allows you to embed images, etc.
To see the QR Code link to the shortened URL, click “Details” for goo.gl and “view stats” for Bit.ly. For Google, you can adjust the size of the QR code by change the “dimension size” embedded on the URL. The biggest available size is 500 x 500px.
- Are QR Codes just the latest fad?
- Do you have any stories of trying out QR codes in your library that either have or haven’t worked?
- Are QR codes too difficult to scan? What problems have you experienced?
- How could libraries get more creative with QR codes?
- What do you think of the ‘QR codes replacing a public library’ concept in Klagenfurt, Austria?
- QR Code links are just as susceptible to broken links as stand weblinks. Is this a problem?
Joan is a Senior Librarian (New Media) at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and has been in the profession for nearly five years now. Her forte lies in using social media and mobile tools. She graduated with a BSSc from National University of Singapore and holds a Master in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.