Posts Tagged ‘QR codes’

QR codes AWAY!

Posted on July 7th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

It was the annual University of Lincoln Library staff away day on Tuesday. I performed my turn: a 20-minute presentation on QR codes in academic libraries: the culmination of our (JB, PC, CL, MN, PS, EV) little internal mini-project. (There were two other mini research projects which reported on Tuesday: one group looked at improving the student experience; the other at the best ways of promoting new library resources.)

Then we broke off into groups to consider various questions arising out of the work of the project groups. My question was this:

How could we support and encourage the use of mobile devices in the Library?

We talked around this for a while: should we be supporting their use? (We certainly support and encourage the use of desktop PCs as tools for accessing library resources and services: so why not mobiles? Part of the problem, I think, is that we’ve not reconciled our historic library-y attitude to mobile phones with the possibilities of mobile computing. Whatever: we need to come to terms with them once and for all, decide on a position, and stick to it!)

Even given that we should be prepared to support mobile devices: do we need to encourage people to use them in the Library? (People seem to be adopting smartphones perfectly readily without the need for encouragement from libraries…) Perhaps what we need to encourage is not the use of mobile devices per se, but for students and academic staff to re-consider the use of them as valid devices for learning.

We also need to remember that ‘mobile devices’ ≠ just phones, but also mp3 players, tablets (e.g. iPads), e-book readers, netbooks, etc. etc.

After a while, we narrowed it down to six recommendations for the Library: three things we could do now, with no additional money, to support the use of mobile devices – three further things that we can plan to do in the future, which would require a bit of funding.

Do now with no extra money:

  1. Add QR codes to print journal box labels, to link our print holdings to the corresponding e-journal record (c.f. this photo);
  2. ‘Soft launch’ the mobile version of RefWorks (RefMobile) to our users;
  3. Ask colleagues within the Library who are already smartphone enthusiasts (they know who they are!) to demonstrate their toys to the rest of us.

Do in the future with a bit of funding:

  1. Run a marketing campaign to encourage people to re-consider their mobile phone as a useful academic tool (“the classroom in your pocket“?);
  2. Systems development – make sure as many of our systems as possible have a valid mobile user interface, and target development at those systems which are lagging behind;
  3. Purchase tablet devices for library staff to use when ‘roving': providing support to students away from the help desk (“…you don’t need to log in, I can show you on this!“).

QR code project: first meeting

Posted on February 17th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

We’ve made a start with our ‘QR codes in the Library‘ project. By the time of the Library staff away day in July, we’re going to produce a report examining the uses to which QR codes are already being put in academic (and other libraries), and making recommendations for their use in the Library at the University of Lincoln.


  • We may deliver our presentation on the staff away day in the form of a QR code treasure hunt (with a prize, of course)… in addition to a set of questions for library staff to consider.
  • Elif Varol will liaise with ICT services: what plans do ICT have for the use of QR codes in the wider University?
  • Marie Nicholson will carry out a review of literature relating to QR codes in libraries, which we’ll record in this shared RefWorks account.
  • Chris Leach will look into QR code reading software and hardware (i.e. stand-alone readers).
  • …and I’ll approach one or two university libraries who make use of QR codes in their day-to-day activities, to ask about the possibility of visiting them before July.

We’re going to meet once a month; I’ll blog everything here.

QR codes in the Library project

Posted on February 7th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

In the run-up to our annual Library staff away day, a few of us (CL, MN, PS, EV, you?) are conducting an internal mini-research project on the potential for using QR codes in the Library.

QR codes (“Quick Response” codes) are two-dimensional, black-and-white, square barcodes that can be used around the library to provide users with links to additional information about resources and services on the web. Codes can be recognised and decoded by a smartphone with a built-in camera and web browser (and QR code-reading software installed), simply by pointing the phone’s camera at the barcode.

QR codes seem to be taking off, slowly but surely, in academic libraries, as well as outside them.

photo_ejournals_frame [old photo]

Suggested reading:

  • Ashford, R. (2010) QR codes and academic libraries: reaching mobile users. College & Research Libraries News [Online], 71(10). pp.526–530. Available from: [Accessed on 7 February 2011]
  • Stainthorp, P. (2010) Tech tips for libraries: QR codes. SCONUL Focus [Online], (50). p.14. Available from: [Accessed on 7 February 2011]
  • Walsh, A. (2009) Quick response codes and libraries. Library Hi Tech News [Online], 26 (5/6). pp.7–9. Available from: [Accessed on 1 September 2010]

In case you haven’t seen one before, here’s an example of a (self-referential) QR code:

Tech tips for libraries: QR codes

Posted on October 1st, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp


This is the first in a planned series of short articles on useful technologies for academic libraries. QR codes (“Quick Response” codes) are two-dimensional, black-and-white, square barcodes that can be used around the library to provide users with links to additional information about resources and services.

View this item on the University Repository:

N.B. I’ve put an embargo on this item, which will lift after the article is published in SCONUL Focus.