Thing 14 : Curating

We are pleased to have Ms Carina Samaniego (PH) from Ateneo University Archives, Ms Eimee Lagrama (PH) from University of the Philippines Diliman, Library, and Ms Yi Ling (SG) from Singapore Polytechnic Library to share their insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

Curating is the process of searching, selecting and organizing items to define a specific collection. Though the term is usually used in museum work, this is also what guides us librarians in terms of defining the content of our library collection.

For this Thing, let us explore Pinterest and Tumblr as tools that helps librarians to curate online posts based on their chosen subject areas. Let us also learn how to utilize these online tools to improve and promote our libraries’ collection and services.



Pinterest (Pin+Interest) is an online network that allows users to create, discover, share and connect through a series boards and pins on different subjects of interest. You may build your board by pinning an image or video from other websites, apps or direct upload. Each pin is like a bookmark that will lead you to the source where the image or video came from. You may also Like or Re-Pin other user’s pins into your board.

Whether you use it as an inspiration board for personal projects or to promote your business, Pinterest allows you to build a network of users sharing the same interest. For librarians, this is a good tool to explore and use to promote their libraries’ collection and services just like the following:

Sacramento Public Library created a group board wherein the members of the group can pin the image or link of the book they are currently reading. Group boards is a good venue to attract your users to participate and build your Pinterest boards.

The New York Public Library’s board on “NYPL Current Events” allows them to promote their events to their followers. “Pin it, don’t miss it!”

Singapore Polytechnic Library‘s board pin their “Ready Reads book” selections directly to their catalogue. A click on their pins brings their users directly to the title’s record page where they can locate or reserve a book right away! Find out more about their program here.


Tumblr is a microblogging/social media platform that lets you share photographs, links, videos and other items to your followers. In some ways, it is similar to Twitter and Facebook where you have a newsfeed of your contacts or the people you follow. But unlike them, it also lets you design and customize your homepage so it will look more like a blog. What makes this so interesting and engaging is that it allows you to gather content from various sources (from within and without Tumblr), and the theme can be as broad (e.g. library activities for children), to very niche or specific (e.g. album sleevefacing), depending on the creator.

Like other social media sites, you can follow other tumblr users, and other tumblr users can follow you. You can share content from their sites, and they can share content from yours as well. You can also set the privacy level of your tumblr blog from public to your friends and followers only. A caveat though, there are library-themed or library-related sites that are NSFW (Not suitable/safe for work) so be judicious in who you follow.

Tumblr also uses the hashtag (#) to make it easier for users to look for content in the site. #Tumblarians is a tag used to identify librarians on Tumblr, although #librarians, #libraries and its many permutations are used as well.

They also have an bookmarklet that you can drag onto your browser’s tool bar so when you see something interesting, you can just click on it and it’ll post it to your tumblr site. The Library Journal has a Tumblr site for newbie users that not only tells you how you can start, but who to follow as well. Another popular tumblr site is the New York Public Library, and it has proven to be a great site to promote their activities. One of my favorite tumblr sites, Library Moments, is not even about a library, but about the ups and downs of being an academic librarian.


You will notice most of convo sessions and wrap up for the #23mthingsphsg session are curated by Storify. Storify is a very powerful tool for curating social media news and information. You simply search and then drag and drop your desired social media content and have it “saved”. Read here on how Storify works.

Scoop.It is a ‘create your own magazine’ service which allows you to ‘clip’ from websites, Twitter, RSS feeds, YouTube, Slideshare, Facebook, and custom Google searches. It allows you to enter sources and it then provides suggestions for you to Scoop It and add commentary for customizable topics based magazines.

See video on how to “”.


Do you or your library have a Pinterest/Tumblr account/s? Maybe it’s time to make one. Learn the different ways how libraries, librarians and brands are currently using Pinterest and Tumblr. Head over here!

For Pinterest users, have you seen the 23 Mobile Things account? If you want to learn more about curating, it has an entire board dedicated on this subject. So better check it out!


  1. Sign up for Tumblr and Pinterest
  2. Download the app (Tumblr and Pinterest)
  3. Create your own tumblr site or Pinterest Board and add content.
  4. Share your tumblr or Pinterest board with us via twitter #23mthingsphsg

Tips: Read How to use Pinterest for Beginners by Meredith Popolo and What Tumblr Is and How To Use It: A Practical Guide by K. T. Bradford

Thinking Points

Research has shown that more and more users aged 25 and below are spending more time on Tumblr than on Facebook. How do you think this would affect our libraries and the way we interact with our users?

Pinterest is a very visual platform. How can you present your library and its resources using this site? Do you have materials in your collection you can Pin on Pinterest or add to tumblr?

If you have not done so yet, would you consider opening a Tumblr and Pinterest account for your library?

Follow Mylee Joseph’s board Creating and curating online newspapers on Pinterest.

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 14
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 14

Carina Samaniego Carina Samaniego is the director of the Ateneo de Manila University Archives and a former librarian/archvist of the Manila Observatory. When she’s not busy archiving records in the spa-like atmosphere of her office in Ateneo, she spends her free time pursuing her passion: calligraphy, food photography and serving as counselor to her neurotic friends. Her current interests include project management, archival education and Chris Hemsworth.

Eimee lagrama Eimee Rhea C. Lagrama, head of the University Archives and Records Depository of UP Diliman, is also a lecturer at the UP School of Library and Information Studies, and a regular host of LibRadio: Librarians sa Radyo, an AM Radio Program of DZUP 1602. Her research interests include Risk and Disaster Management, Cultural Heritage Preservation, Library Marketing and Information Literacy. She loves (in no particular oder) cookies, ice cream, dogs, and shoes. Her current obsession is Tom Hiddleston.

Thing 13 : Online Identity

One of our amazing philosopher-friends from 23 Mobile Things: PH SG once said:

Funny–because there is truth in these words. In this day and age, I believe it is of utmost importance that people learn to have some sense of control over the quantity and quality of information they share about themselves,  both for personal and professional identities. It is also important to note that the pressure is much higher on us as information professionals. While oversharing, TMI (too much information), and Facebook slowly morphing into selfietown are becoming socially acceptable (or at least tolerable) phenomena, withholding too much information can be just as harmful to information professionals and libraries.

(Photo from

In this Thing, we shall strive to strike the proper balance between privacy and publicity–and work this middle ground to our (and our libraries’) advantage. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.


Who does Google say you are?

Do a quick Google search on your name (for Filipino librarians, I’m guessing board exam results should be up there). How do you like what you see?

What are the levels of online identity?

The Identity Woman ( shared by the original 23 Mobile Things ( defines and summarizes these levels accurately.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a good website/app in maintaining professional contacts. It keeps the information on your profile limited to professional activities (no cats, babies, and selfies here!) and is available on iOS and Android ( Here’s mine and Joan’s, connect with us if you wish! ;))

Here’s a short introduction to LinkedIn, from, err, LinkedIn:

Check out their YouTube channel to see more tips on how to use LinkedIn.

What is Facebook Pages+?

I’m pretty sure we all (well, at least everyone who has an account) have “liked” a Page on Facebook–the profile of our favorite band, a page sharing inspirational quotes, or an official promotional account of our favorite movies (on a side note, I have FINALLY seen E.T. (cf. Google Hangouts+ session)! Drew Barrymore is so cute). Libraries, archives, and museums around the world have been using these to promote their collection and services. Read Aaron’s posting on Facebook sharing and linking of library webpages.


1) There are significant differences between Facebook and LinkedIn. Both websites/apps have their merits, and each has its own specific use for personal and professional development. The following show the distinctions between the two, with some overlaps along the way:

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn is on Facebook (, and Facebook is on LinkedIn (, too.

2) LinkedIn has a number of tools for librarians. This article ( from Libreaction briefly summarizes some of them.

It also stresses the role of LinkedIn not just for job hunting, but for connecting with other professionals in the field as well.

(Photo from

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

3) There are different ways to discover how “popular” you are on social media. One of these apps is Klout, an app which helps people be known for what they love. You can easily find, create and share content that resonates with your audience — and then track your success using the Klout Score. This, more than being an online identity tracking tool, is also good for sharing and curating content.

4) is a free platform that allows you to create beautiful, personalized web presence easily. We sieved out some librarian profiles (including Jan Holmquist (Original 23 Mobile Things Creator), Aaron (SG), Bernadette (PH), Joan (SG) and Sharisse (PH) just for you.


  1. Create a LinkedIn account if you do not have one yet. You may do so through a computer ( or using an iOS or Android device. Start by adding our friends and colleagues here at 23 Mobile Things: PH & SG.
  2. Create a Facebook Page for your L/A/M (Libraries, Archives or Museums) ( and share it with us via the Facebook group (insert the link to our Facebook group).
  3. If you’ve already done the first two activities, you may also want to create an page to help other people discover you and what you do.
  4. Find out your Klout score (you may share it with us too) by downloading the app (iOS: Android: coming soon: You may also log-in using a computer and going directly to the Klout website:
  5. (Shameless plugging) Answer the survey ( to help us develop the rest of the course further. In the spirit of transparency, we also need this for our paper on 23 Mobile Things which we will be presenting in Hong Kong (yes, Joan and I are going on a trip! It’s for work, but still)!

Thinking Points

  1. What is the value of maintaining a LinkedIn account for an information professional? How do you think this website/app can help us grow professionally?
  2. Do you keep a separate personal and professional account on Facebook, or do you have a single account for both?
  3. What is the value of having a Facebook Page+ and a LinkedIn account for your library, archive, or museum (LAM)? Which one would you prefer to maintain?
  4. How far is too far when sharing on social media (or the Internet, in general)? Where must information professionals draw the line?
  5. Here at #23mthingsphsg we have already discussed this issue a little bit during our first Twitter convo. Click the link to refresh your memory on what we talked about during this conversation.

Follow 23mobile things’s board Online Identity on Pinterest.

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 13
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 13

Karryl Karryl is a Librarian (Reference & Information Services) at the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines) and has been in the profession for three years now. She graduated with a BLIS from the University of the Philippines Diliman and holds a master’s degree in Technology Management from the same university.

Things #11 & #12 Wrap-up

Here’s the wrap up on the discussion for Thing 11 : Augmented Reality and Thing 12 : Games.
Thanks Yuyun for facilitating the session, Bella for surprise appearance and sharing by @PRex for his tremendous sharing on application of games and AR in his library.

Here’s some highlight during our Facebook chat last saturday (12 April 2014). I spilt the conversation into Part 1 : Thing #11 (AR) and Part 2 : Thing #12 (Games). But in all conversation, the spilt is really not that clear.

Thing 12 : Games

We are pleased to have Yuyun Wirawatii from Li Ka Shing Library (Singapore Management University) and Noverinda Bella Ratemlia from Nanyang Technological University Libraries to share their insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

Long after I got bored with blasting red birds and crushing candies, my friend introduced me to Hardest Game Ever. This game has a warning message: Not for the faint hearted! Big deal, I’m not a faint-hearted person, so I played. Ten minutes into the game, I was ready to hurl my phone.
It’s so hard!” I whined.
That’s why it’s called hardest game ever,” my friend calmly replied.

Moral of the story: Perhaps I should play less games (or just stick to games with birds and candies).


A coin will always have two sides. One side says  games are bad while the other side says that games make you smarter. For me, games are always good in moderation++. Besides, why say no to good fun?


Within the entertainment industry, gaming is on the rise compared to the music and movie industry. Kamenetz’ article provides some interesting commentary on how games are getting portable, flexible, and very difficult to get pirated. See also sharing from Bella, an ex-game developer for Social Life on  the things you should consider when designing content for your game.

There are, of course, a ton of game apps available on the market.

  • The content ranges from action, puzzle, sports, casino, strategy, etc.
  • The concept can vary from social (needing help from your virtual friends to level up, gain sources, fight enemies), semi-social (virtual neighbours are nice but you can live without them), and completely solitaire (flying solo, anyone?).
  • Some game apps are free, some require payment before you can use them, and some apps come with in-app purchase or “freemium”, which means the app is free for you to use, but some features (extra life, extra power, extra levels) are only available upon purchase.


Ha, you think I will ask you to explore Cut the Rope? Nah, fat hope.
Instead, let’s explore the platforms that allow muggles, like you and I, to build a game app.

  1. Game Salad
    This platform provides app “Creator” for muggles designer to use.
  2. Gametize
    Gametize promises that you can build a game in 5 minutes. The game consists of a series of challenges, ranging from quiz challenge, photo challenge, QR code challenge, etc.
  3. SCVNG
    SCVNGR is a game app but you determine the content of the game. Playing is simple: Go places. Do challenges. Earn points and unlock rewards! See how SCVNGR is being use to gamify the whole ALIA conference in 2013.


    1. Let’s build a game app!

… or we can skip #1 and go to activity 2, 3 and 4.

  • Do you know any mobile games app that managed to get you “engaged”? Please share it with us! Share with us via twitter using hashtag #23mthingsphsg or our facebook group.
    • What is the mobile games app that you are currently addicted to?
    • In four words, explain why you are addicted to it.
    • How many hours/minutes do you spend per day on playing mobile games?


Thinking Points

  1. How are libraries related to games? Are we “forcing” the connection between library and games?
  2. Many libraries have attempted gamification to engage students/users (e.g.: Librarygameapplication at University of Huddersfield in the UK), especially in the information literacy field. Do you think these attempts pay off? Or is it too much of an investment?

Remix from the original 23 Mobile Things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 12
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 12

Follow 23mobile things’s board Games and Recreational Apps on Pinterest.

Thing #12’s Guest Blogger

Yuyun Yuyun is a Business Research Librarian at Singapore Management University. Yuyun loves to play social games on her Android tablet. She uses a pseudonym, and her biggest fear is that one day her students will find out her gaming name.

Thing 11 : Augmented Reality

Click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

Just last Tuesday afternoon, Facebook announced it will buy Oculus VR, a Californian company which specializes in virtual reality products, for around US$ 2 Billion. There is a lot of potential in virtual reality with mobile devices, as it is possible to merge the virtual with our physical world. Augmented Reality (AR for short) is not a new technology. It started way back in 1980 when Steven Mann created the EyeTap (far before we have Google Glasses) that overlays computer vision system with text and graphical overlays on a photographically mediated reality, or Augmediated Reality.

So what is Augmented Reality? This video gives you a quick introduction to some of its potential.

As mentioned in the video, Augmented Reality is the ability to inter-overlay of virtual information into the real world. There are quite a few AR applications already in use in different industries (including one widely shown that is being used in the library to help identify mis-shelved books). Below are some examples of applications that could be considered in library environments:


  1. Word Lens for on the spot translations [iOS version and Android version available].
  2. Some collection materials may include AR features (eg. customer uses an AR app to access the digital content in Applied Arts Magazine)  while GUP, the Guide to Unique Photography, has also enhanced an issue with Layar
  3. Singapore : The Asian Civiliasation Museum’s ‘Terracotta Warriors Come Alive’ iPhone app is the World’s first app to combine Augmented Reality (AR), location based gaming and interaction, for the museum’s exhibition ‘Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy’. See video for application.
  4. Philippines : Interactive Augmented reality for a publicity stunt for a Wedding Company
    Mall goers are flocking to SM Megamall where guys are getting kissed by a ‘bride’ and girls are receiving a bouquet of roses from a ‘groom’ —all with just using interactive augmented reality experience. The most interesting part of this AR model lies in its interactivity. The augmented models will respond differently depending on how the girl reacts.
  5. See also a list of other AR projects undertaken by students at Ateneo University.
  6. Download ikea App to see what a piece of furniture will look like in our home before purchasing it. No more second trip needed with ikea App.
  7. Medical applications like Hallux Angles app are catching up with AR technology, giving surgeons more efficient and convenience in their work. With the use of Hallux Angles App, orthopaedic surgeons can use iPhones to scan X-ray films and have it highlight the issues.
  8. A video giving you an overview of five augmented reality apps
  9. Most augmented reality apps use GPS to locate themselves in specific environments.  Some examples:




  • Layar called themselves interactive Print. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to use. I created my first AR layer in less than 10 minutes. I believe the bulk of my time was spent trying to find the poster and the links rather than the technology part. You may refer to their very detailed start up guide here, and then go here to test my AR poster. I would imagine it looking pretty cool when my user physically scans the same poster in real life.
  • Do take note that Layar is rather fussy on the dimension and resolution of the medium, so you might want to read its DOs and DON’Ts first.
  • The AR features of the LibraryThing Local app which uses Layar to help locate nearby bookstores and libraries. See a blog post about it.
  • Use of AR in De La Salle University library’s learning commons (Philippines) where physical materials are to the online version of the subject guides/pathfinders as well as to the web videos included in the list of sources. AR also allows posting and sharing of comments and suggestions through Twitter and Facebook.


  • This is another super cool and very easy to use app shared by my colleague, Hedren.
  • It allows you to embed website links, social media links, text, video, even a poll easily into a picture. I even use it to do a poster for my library contact us page. Hover around the mobile phone to see the links.


  1. Use one of the shared apps (Aurasma, Layar or Thinglink) to create a poster or image promoting about yourself or your library
  2. Share it with us via the comments section here

Thinking Points

  1. Could the wayfinding in your library environment be improved with AR? Would an information literacy guided tour of your library be improved by including AR technology?
  2. Could you use an AR app like Lookator to make it easy for students to find the WiFi hotspots on campus?
  3. Is there complex equipment in your library? Perhaps a video demonstration could provide assistance to customers if it were available at the point of need via AR?
  4. Do you serve clients from different language backgrounds?  Could you create an AR guide in their preferred language to help them be oriented to the library environment and services?
  5. Are you engaging your community in planning for a new library space?  Could you let them move the furniture around using an AR app like Augment [iOS version and Android  version]?
  6. Could you overlay local history film and audio clips into your local environment using an AR app?
  7. What would your summer reading club be like if you incorporated AR features?

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 11
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 11

Follow 23mobile things’s board Augmented reality on Pinterest.

Joan 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.

Thing 10 – Social Reading

We are pleased to have Ms Zarah Gagatiga (PH) from Beacon Academy to share her insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

We read to know that we are not alone.
– C.S. Lewis

Reading is an interactive process. That act of encountering text and visual symbols made by an author or a team of creators from a printed or digital medium allows the reader to respond to the content and its creators in many ways. The reader’s response may initially be marginal notes on the book or notes jotted down on a journal. A reader responds by highlighting phrases and sentences or typing a reply after every chapter in the comments feature of an ereading app while reading an ebook. What’s amazing about this experience of reading and communicating with the author and creators of the content is that, readers are moved to share their responses with a wider audience. When this happens, the personal experience of reading becomes a collective. Reading as an interactive process becomes a social one.

Social reading offers the reader opportunities to reach out, to know and find out what other readers think and feel about an encountered content. By this engagement, readers share something in common otherwise argue and debate on ideas and thoughts stimulated from having read the material. At the end of the day, discussion and thoughtful discourse occur and the possibility of creating another form of idea or the opportunity of deconstructing knowledge to construct new ones is laid bare to members of a reading circle. Often times, readers are simply happy to know that they share with others the simple joys of reading and mirroring themselves in the literature of their choice.

Social reading are of two kinds: the traditional book club organized by libraries, reading groups, bookstores and community centers and the electronic format that ranges from book blogs to online reading groups like Goodreads and LibraryThing. Mobile apps that facilitate social reading  are aplenty too. Thing #10 is all about these apps and the online functionality of social reading.


  • RSS or Really Simple Syndication has been around for more than a decade now. Bloggers who wish to attract more readers to their content affix a RSS widget or embed a link in their blogs so that their readers can follow posts made on a regular basis. Feedly is one example of an app that readers can use to keep track of their favorite blogs, online magazines, videos and video clips of shows and news items.
  • Pocket is another app for keeping online content in a mobile device and reading it for later. Caught in a traffic jam? Read up saved news articles in Pocket. Off for coffee break? Bring your mobile gadget with you and read up while sipping tea or latte. With apps like Pocket, there can always be a time and space for reading.
  • Flipboard, Pulse, Newsblur are apps that aggregate social media feeds, magazine articles and newspapers that come with sharing functionality to Twitter, Facebook and Google+. is another online news aggregator but emphasizes more on its the curating functionality.

    View my Flipboard Magazine. View my Flipboard Magazine. View my Flipboard Magazine.

  • Goodreads is a virtual place where readers can compile a list of books read. Readers can also record their reading progress. Readers can recommend books via Twitter and Facebook, put in reviews and join online book clubs and reading groups according to a specific genre or reading interest.


  • Get an account in Feedly, Pocket, Flipboard and Goodreads.
  • Download the apps in your mobile phone.
  • Start creating your profile in Feedly, Pocket and Goodreads. Feel free to explore the settings and its sharing/social media functionality. Feedly and Pocket actually complement each other. What you select from Feedly can be saved in Pocket so you can read articles when you’re less busy or when it’s your free reading time.

Check out this database of Filipino Book Bloggers and Filipino Clubs.



  1. Create your “magazine” in Flipboard and start choosing Subscriptions to its list of topics.
  2. Once you have a My Magazine folder and a My Subscription selection, choose articles from there to add in your “magazine”.
  3. Invite in your “magazine” and together build contents.
  4. Share interesting articles from your “magazine” using Twitter or Facebook. Always use #23mthingsphsg when you do.

Feedly, Pocket & Goodreads

  1. In Feedly, choose and categorize articles from the list of contents.
  2. Save these articles in Pocket.
  3. In Goodreads, search for a book you’ve recently finished reading. Put that book in your My Books file/folder. Rate the book or give it some stars. Do a short review of the book and recommend the book via Twitter or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag #23mthingsphsg.
  4. Another activity you can do in Goodreads is to look for online reading groups who share the same interest as you do. Interact with them and know the latest reading trend.
  5. Look for your friends and favorite authors in Goodreads. Follow them and find out what they’re reading. Start a conversation. Ask for recommendations. Expand your reading choices and interests!

Thinking Points

  1. How ready are your library users/learning community for mobile reading?
  2. How can you use Goodreads to promote reading and books found in your library collection (print/ebook)?
  3. What is your stand on social reading as a librarian? To what extent is your concern on what readers are reading in general and what your library readers are reading at all?
  4. How does reading behavior and interest of library users helpful to you as a librarian?
  5. How can you engage readers to use apps and the library through social reading?
  6. Are you a reader yourself?
  7. What information about your library users can you derive from monitoring their reading habits and preferences using such apps?
Are you ready to conduct a book club either online or the traditional way?

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 10
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 10

Follow 23mobile things’s board Social reading on Pinterest.

Thing 10’s Guest Blogger

Zarah-Gagatiga Zarah C. Gagatiga is a teacher librarian from the Philippines. She works in The Beacon Academy, an IB World School offering the MYP and DP. Zarah is also an influential blogger, avid storyteller, and board member of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) representing librarians. She is one of the staunchest advocates for books and literacy in the Philippines and had published 3 children’s books including 1 co-authored with Dianne De Las Casas, titled Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (ABC CLIO, 2011). Tweet her @thecoffeegoddes.

Thing #8 & #9 : Wrap up

Thanks all for participating. it’s nice to see Doraemon also using QR code. ^_-)

We also switched from our usual hangout at twitter to Facebook group. Please click “NEXT PAGE” to see all 221 conversations.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 1.26.24 am Continue reading Thing #8 & #9 : Wrap up

Thing 9 : QR Code

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

Gazin, G. (2011, June 21). A QR code tells a much story than a barcode. Troy Media. Retrieved from

QR Code. (2013). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from

Struyk, T. (2012). Introduction to QR Codes. Retrieved from


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), (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 and 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.

QRCode1 QRCode2

Using and not only allows one to generate QR code but also track viewing statistics.

To see the QR Code link to the shortened URL, click “Details” for and “view stats” for 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.



  1. Use one of the shared tools under Explore to generate a QR Code linking to your personal profile or your library information
  2. Share the QR code via Twitter or instagram with us
  3. Remember to use the hashtag #23mthingsphsg

Thinking Points

  • 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?

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 9
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 9

Follow 23mobile things’s board QR codes on Pinterest.

Joan 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.