Tag Archives: QR codes

>How I make and use QR codes

>In my last post, I described what QR codes are and how we’re using them for the library, but I didn’t explain the process of how I made them in the first place.

After I saw my first QR code and realized what it was, my brain started working overtime, planning how I was going to use them to promote the library. They are so versatile in the information that they can contain, the only limitation really is your imagination. At first I was hesitant to start using them thinking that they can only be used for people with smartphones and we have a lot of patrons who don’t yet have them. But then I thought, a lot of our patrons do have smartphones and why not take advantage of the technology and reach out to that audience. We’re not leaving anyone behind since we’re still printing out posters and newsletters, we’re just creating more options for people who do have the technology.  It’s the same principal behind our entire digital branch; not everyone has a facebook or twitter account, but they are there for people who do.

Convinced that QR codes were worth looking into and to start using, I did quite a bit of research on them first. I followed various Linked-in conversations about them, read blog posts, etc. until I was confident I knew exactly what they were and had a few ideas on what to do with them once I started making them. Of course part of my research was to download a number of code readers to my Droid to experiment with the QR codes that are already out there.  There are lots of highly rated scanners out there but the one I found that works best for me is i-nigma. This scanner seems to have the quickest response and it tells you what the link is before you actually go there. Some scanners will automatically send you without letting you know where you’re going. i-nigma also works on my iPad2 so I’m sure it would work on other iDevices that have cameras.

When it came time to start creating QR codes, again, I did some research to find out what kinds of generators are out there and to find out what the best practices are. I came up with the following:

  • The QR code generator I use is: Kaywa for no other reason than it works, and it was one of the highly recommended ones. Again, there are tons to choose from so use whichever works best for you.

  • I also learned that when you use a url shortener, such as bit.ly, that your codes are less dense and are easier for your smart phone to pick up. Bit.ly also allows you to track the usage of your links, which is great for when you have to make that ROI presentation to your supervisor.

  • I save all the QR codes I create just in case I have a need for the same link again. For instance, the code that’s on the Clues and Brews poster just takes you to the landing page where the events are listed so when the event changes, the link will not making the code reusable.

There is a lot of potential in the use of QR codes, we’ve just started with the basics but I hope to use them for more things in the near future. 


>What are QR codes?

>You may have noticed that we have started putting these strange square black and white thingies on some of our posters and other printed materials. They are called QR codes, or sometimes 2D codes. These codes are filled with digital information and are scannable with a smart phone. Once scanned, the smart phone will show you what’s in that digital information; it could be a web site, a phone number, a photo, a video, etc.
In order for your smart phone to scan these codes, you’ll need to download a code scanner app. There are many to choose from for all brands of smart phones and even iPads and iPods (with cameras) and most are free. After you get your app downloaded, all you need to do is activate the app and then point your device’s camera at the code and your phone will do the rest.
These codes give us the opportunity to link more information to a poster than previously allowed. For instance, I created posters for our upcoming fundraisers (Clues and Brews and the Ice Cream Social) and included a QR code that would take them to a webpage that described the event in a little more detail and also had a link for online registration.
Another example: our May newsletter featured a story that had a lot of photos. In the interest of space, we couldn’t put all the photos into the printed newsletter so I added them all to a blog post. Then I created a QR code that would show that blog post to people who scanned in the code.
Yet another example: I put this QR code on the back of my business card. RPL digital branch
For those of you who do not have a smart phone to scan it, this code goes to the Sqworrel page that contains all the links to our library’s digital branch.

>New toy! A Droid!

>In a previous post I was celebrating the fact that I was finally able to download audiobooks to my Blackberry. Since then I listened to Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk and am in the middle of On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

But, I now have a Droid phone! WOOT! Happy dance! Oh yeah! Uh-huh!

One of the first apps I installed on my new Droid was OVERDRIVE!

Ok, I installed “barcode reader” first because I wanted to be able to use it to scan the funky barcode thingy on the Overdrive website.

The barcode reader read it and in less than 5 seconds I was downloading the Overdrive app. Amazing! it used to take my Blackberry forever to do something like this. I am in seventh heaven right now.

I’m in the process of downloading The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. It’s 10 parts. If I were downloading this to my Blackberry, it would take about 3.5 hours (that’s 20 minutes per part!). Painfully slow! The Droid downloads at a pace of 6 minutes per part. So much faster!

Love it!