Sunday, April 10, 2011

QR codes are go....

I have been thinking alot about QR codes for a while now, and how we could apply them in our library to start with, and then widen their use across campus. I wanted it to be something meaningful, that students would want to connect to, rather than just a fun or novelty thing to do that was cool without much substance.

I was checking reading age on some new books that had arrived, on the CMIS Evaluation website (which by the way is the most amazing database of childrens books esp for YA). As I was checking the information I thought that it would be interesting to make some QR codes that linked to the CMIS database reviews for each of the books. I opened a QR code generator randomly found on the internet Kaywa, placed the URL in the required space and generated a QR code. I then copied the QR code onto a word processing document and did the same for another 10 or so books and printed them off.

I then reflected on what I had created and if it was really what I wanted. I wanted students to have access to more than one review, preferably by their peers. I was racking my brain as to how to create such a beast without having to create a website for every book we have and then students having go to yet another place to review.

A light bulb went off in my head as I realised that we were already doing this in the form of Goodreads, which I have been encouraging the secondary students to use as a reading log. Now I had real purpose in my quest for creating QR codes to link with books.

I went back to the books I had already done, redid the QR codes to have a link to the individual book pages on Goodreads, copied and pasted them onto a word processing page and printed them out. Now what to do with them?

I wanted them to be attached to these new books, but the codes I had made were too large to place on the outside of the book, so I then had to find how small they could be to still be useful and work, but large enough to be noticed. Using my iphone QR reader i-nigma 4 I checked various sizes and found that about 2.5cm squared was just the right size to place on the back of a book. We then cut them out and glued the codes onto the books in the bottom left hand corner on the back of the book, ready for cataloging and covering.

Linking the QR codes to Goodreads will allow the students to see the book description and reviews and when they have finished, to scan the QR code and enter their own review, making the process of keeping a reading log so much easier.

The process is somewhat labour intensive, as you need to go to Goodreads, search the book title, copy the URL, open the QR generator window, paste the URL, copy the QR code image, open a word processor window, paste the QR code image. Continue until all the books have been processed in this way, print off the page or codes, cut out the code (we could print them straight onto stickers) and paste it onto the back of the book. Is it sustainable? Will the response / interest of the students be enough to warrant the effort? We will be doing a pilot with about 40 books to start with, and see where it goes.

We are going to start launching an education campaign on QR codes next week - where I will make the QR codes I created larger, place make them into a 'New book' display, without the titles or covers. This should raise some questions, inquiry and get them interested. For book week we are planning to create a QR code treasure hunt, along with some other QR marketing activities. Many of our students have smart phones or itouches, so this should be a fun way of helping them to understand QR codes and what they do.

Now I have found one useful purpose for the QR codes, my imagination will just go wild building on this.

Check out the Daring Librarian's Comic Tutorial on QR codes

QR Codes uses in libraries A long list of how libraries are using QR codes.

Here some other places to see how QR codes are being used in education...

40 Interesting ways to use QR codes in the classroom - led by Tom Barrett

QR Codes InEducation a livebinder collection by Steven Anderson


This is the QR directing you to the Goodreads site of this book ... what is the title??

How are you using QR codes in your library?

: I have learned in the past 24 hours that Goodreads has its own iphone app and scanner where you can scan the isbn barcode and it takes you to the Goodreads page.It can be purchased for 99cents. (13 April 2011)


Carmel said...

Inspiring as always, I've been dallying around the edges and this has given me so much more to act on. Thank you

Chris Smith said...

QR Codes area on Shambles at

I've posted a link to this Blog Post on the Shambles page

Eileen Hurley said...

Hi Dianne,

The Shanghai Librarians' Network listened to a presentation yesterday from the principal of the middle school at Shanghai Community IS. Among many other things, he discussed the use of QR codes. Book reviews by students were also the focus of the connection he was making to the library. Very interesting to see you making use of it in the same way.

Eileen said...

I am planning a research project (quantitative experimental) and I need a book or story with print AND QR codes appropriate for middle school children. Is there a title you could recommend? Ultimately I need the book WITH and WITHOUT the qr codes. Any ideas?