Monday, 21 September 2009

Fancy winning an iPod Touch?

QR Code

The image on the right is a QR or 'quick response' code. Originating in Japan they were initially used by companies as tracking devices. Unlike traditional barcodes QR codes are two dimensional and are able to store both alpha and numerical content (up to 7000 numerical or 4300 alpha-numerical characters long). The information stored within these codes can be anything from urls, to telephone numbers, to addresses or even entire poems.

The QR code above converts into the Library homepage. For you to be able to read this you’ll need a mobile camera phone and reader software. Some of the later Nokia phones already have the software installed and for iPhones it’s easy to pick something up from the app store, like BeeTagg or Quickmark. You could try Googling your phone’s make and model to find out what software you need or alternatively try some of the following:

To read the code you just need to take a photograph with your phone’s camera and allow the reader software to do the rest. For those of you with Internet enabled phones you’ll be directed straight to the URL via your mobile browser. To find out more about QR codes visit the library news page and for details on connecting your phone to the university’s wireless network have a look at the instructions via CiCS.

The University Library is currently piloting the use of QR codes and we are keen to discuss your ideas on how we could be making use of this technology to support our library services. Some suggestions have included codes iPod Touchwhich link to the library catalogue and our library blogs for mobile bookmarking purposes or the inclusion of codes on catalogue records to save bibliographic details. We are also working on attaching QR codes to a sample of our paper journal runs to link users to their electronic equivalents via Find it @ Sheffield.

If you have any ideas about how we can use QR codes in the Library we'd like to hear them. By leaving a comment against this blog post you'll automatically be entered into our competition to win a brand spanking new iPod Touch.

The deadline for entries is 30 November and the competition is open to all University of Sheffield students, via the four library blogs:


  1. You could use QR codes to suggest books which some students may may not have thought to read.

  2. Item location information maybe a useful one, where you search on star for a book, shows a QR code, this then gives you detailed info on location of book, for example IC - 3 floor - No??? etc... Another good use could be a folder is kept in each department of online journals, in this folder is the name and an associated QR code, you scan it and it takes you to uni online journal location

  3. Use them in the library STAR catalogue to detail the locations of a specific book. I never carry a pen on me and always forget the shelf number once ive searched for a specific book online. QR readers normally store a history so you could quickly scan the code into your phone and have the locations to hand when you make your way to the library.

  4. All of these QR code suggestions would require some level of backend services.

    1. QR Code in the STAR online catalouge that saves the code, title, author, no: of copies and shelfmark to the users mobile.

    2. QR code within a book provides the user a web link to more information regarding the book/author, citation info.

    3. QR code on a shelf/rack provides the user with a weblink to a list of all resources stored within the shelf/rack which could be filtered further online.

    4. Scanning the saved QR code at info point at the library via a scanner that can read QR code on a mobile will dynamically generate and show the resource's physical location within the library and directions to it.

    5. FUN: Organize Book Hunts within the library using QR codes as way to increase awareness of the library's resources. Prizes could be Book vouchers.

  5. I must say that I particularly like Susheel's idea of the QR codes in the STAR online catalogue. It would save me having to write the book codes on my hand every time :-)

    I think for me the most valuable think when looking for books in the library is knowing whether there are any other similar books available. So scanning the code could point me to a website (STAR) with a list of books that are related ordered by their popularity level.

  6. I think QR codes will be an innovative concept that will help students find the book theyre looking for easily. I just used the app on my phone for it and it worked a treat.
    With the QR code you can then browse the internet for the book and read reviews on the book to see how helpful it is for your purposes.
    However, I think that not all people would be able to grasp the system and not many people with camera phones have free internet and wouldnt want to spend money using the QR codes

  7. [...] been running a competition to win an iPod Touch! If you are interested in entering have a look at Fancy Winning an iPod Touch?. The competition is due to end on November 30th, so you’ve a little less than a week to get [...]

  8. [...] October/November 2009 the university library ran a competition (sponsored by JISC) to win an iPod Touch. Students were asked to comment on the library blogs, [...]

  9. [...] October/November 2009 the university library ran a competition(sponsored by JISC) to win an iPod Touch. Students were asked to comment on the library blogs, [...]

  10. [...] October/November 2009 the university library ran a competition (sponsored by JISC) to win an iPod Touch. Students were asked to comment on the library blogs, [...]

  11. [...] October/November 2009 the university library ran a competition (sponsored by JISC) to win an iPod Touch. Students were asked to comment on the library blogs, [...]


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