Tag Archives: web 2.0

>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.

>Thing #56 – Linked In (recap)

>I am guilty of being one of those people that started a Linked In account, because someone told me I should and then I ignored it because I didn’t know what to do with it.

Well, now that I revisited my account, updated it, and joined a few groups, my opinion of it has done a 360.

What can I say, I love Linked In.

I’m still not in the business of looking for a new career, but if I were, this would be where I would go. It was the groups that changed my mind. I found some groups to join that matched my interest and have joined in a few discussions. Already I have learned some new things that I want to try for my library. I’ve always wanted to beef up our YouTube channel, now I’m in contact with people who have experience in that and are sharing their knowledge with me. Excellent! I’m in contact with other people that use social media in different ways to advocate their non-profit organizations. Awesome! When I have a little more time I’m going to find some graphic design groups to join, maybe there are some specifically for non-profits or libraries!
If you haven’t given Linked In a chance yet, I highly recommend that you do. And don’t just create the account and ignore it like I did. Use it, learn from it, make new friends, get and give advice, share knowledge, etc. That’s what it’s for!

>Thing #56 – Linked In

>My LinkedIn account has been pretty much stagnant since I set it up a long time ago because I didn’t really know what to do with it. Sure, I can connect with other professionals and share my resume, get recommendations, etc. But I am perfectly happy at my current position so thought, why would I want to do this? I’m not looking for a job. Besides, the only people on Linked In that I know are a small handful of my colleagues whose profiles are as plain and boring as mine. The people who I would call for a recommendation – my supervisor or boss, do not have Linked in accounts (as far as I know), so, even if I wanted to get recommended, I couldn’t unless I asked them to join Linked In too.

After reading Thing #56 I updated my account by adding a previous position and inviting three more people to be part of my network. I currently only have 5 people in my network. whoooo, impressive.

I decided to join some groups, that might jazz up my account a little. So, after what seemed like forever, I finally found three groups that I would fit into. I’m waiting to be accepted into the elite groups of my choice for Library Technology and Social Media for non profits. Another group for Social Media for non-profits accepted me right away so I started looking at the discussion pages.

There were discussions about getting your non-profit started with facebook and twitter. How to take advantage of applications to supplement your social media accounts. Hmmmm, this is interesting stuff. There were a couple of discussions I wanted to jump in on but noticed I didn’t have a profile photo and didn’t want to be one of those people, you know who they are. But time is short and I don’t have time to find and upload an appropriate photo of me – I don’t think my yahoo avatar will work for that if I want people to take me seriously. Time to grow up a little.

As soon as I am accepted into the other two groups, I’ll upload a photo of me and start giving LinkedIn more of a chance than I had been giving it. I recognize the potential of this and want to tap in on it.

>Twapper Keeper

>I just found another cool twitter tool… Twapper Keeper.

This site pulls all the tweets that contain a certain hashtag, keyword or a person and puts them all together into a list, called a notebook, for you. I noticed that @rudibrarin made one from the #libtech2010 conference.

I tried to make a notebook with that hashtag but mine didn’t work. I guess you’re not supposed to put the # in when it asks you what you want. When mine came up, it showed ## so didn’t pull up any tweets. I couldn’t find where to delete that one either so it’s just sitting there with 0 tweets and my twitter name next to it. I noticed that someone tried to get the notebook and noticed it didn’t have any tweets in it.

Great, a non-deletable public fail!

My apologies to anyone who tried that notebook only to find nothing. I’ll try to make another notebook with Twapperkeeper later, after I recover from my humiliation.

Here’s a great Twitter cheat sheetcreated by @bananasuit.

>Library Technology Conference 2010

>I learned a lot from this conference, even though I didn’t attend it.

Thank you to everyone that was twittering while at that conference using #libtech2010.

Some of the things that I’m going to check out as a result of “hearing” about them from the twitter feed.

Hootsuite: I already checked this out and really like the potential. I love the fact that you can schedule your tweets and see your followers/friends and how many followers/friends each one has. I tried to send a few tweets with it, but for some reason it wouldn’t work. I had to revert back to Tweetdeck to do that. Just a bug? I don’t know. I also like that Hootsuite wasn’t a download where Tweetdeck was. Sometimes I’m not too sure about downloading stuff from the internet.

Fences: Speaking of downloading stuff from the internet. I want to try Fences because it looks like a great way to keep the desktop organized and so I can see my awesome wallpaper better. But when I get to the download page there are all sorts of disclaimers that it’s save to down load, no spyware, no adware, etc… for some reason that made me nervous. I haven’t downloaded it yet. Still thinking about that one.

Friendwheel: interesting but not too excited about it. Not too sure what it really does.

Atomkeep: something to keep all social networking accounts in one place. I will probably check this one out later. I don’t feel overwhelmed with my accounts – yet.

Scratch: This looks very fun and will probably show my kids this one. It’s a site that allows you to make little animated clips.

Prezi: Awesome way to do presentations to get away from death by powerpoint. Will look into this one for sure.

Pachyderm: another presentation tool. I don’t know what this one does but will check it out when time allows.

Google Wave:
I’m waiting patiently for my invitation…

Second Life:
I tried this the first time during the 23 Things and thought it was very cool and could see potential in it but it really creeped me out and don’t think I’ll ever use it.

Other things I learned:
One of the speakers sounded like Carl Sagan.
Someone was spotted wearing an argyle sweater.
There were plenty of bagels in the morning.

>Thing #51 – Managing my PLN

>During the first 23 things I set up an iGoogle page and used it for quite a while, but eventually became bored with it. I admit, some of the applications that can be added to iGoogle are fun and I could spend hours just looking at all the options and playing the games. However, I found these gadgets too distracting and took them all off. Now my iGoogle page is dull and boring and I rarely visit it anymore.

I found that keeping the pages I most often visit open in the tabs available in my browser (usually Firefox or Chrome) works better for me than having them all mashed together on one page. I bookmark other sites I visit frequently but not every day, and then use Delicious for the lesser visited pages. As a result of having many tabs, I don’t have a “home” page anymore. I usually use Firefox at work and Chrome at home, but am slowly using Chrome more often at work. I like the look and feel of it better than Firefox; you can personalize it more. But either is still better than Internet Explorer. I can’t even remember the last time I used that – probably just to get to the Firefox download page. LOL!

The addition of Tweetdeck to my computer is awesome, as I stated in Thing #49! I really don’t know how I functioned without it.

Sometimes with all this information coming in at lightening speed, I feel overwhelmed with it all, but I just remind myself, I don’t have to read it all, I don’t have to learn it all. Just let it flow and if I fall behind, I just mark them all as read and start over. The best things are always repeated anyway so chances are, I’ll get another chance at reading it again.