QR Tags & Concept Leadership

Concept leadership is one of areas that my department, Digital Services, tries to focus on. It’s important for us to continuously keep on top of new and emerging technologies and explore ways that the library and our customers can benefit from them.

QR tags is a technology that has actually been around for a few years. But until the mass adoption of smartphones with cameras, there wasn’t a dominant market yet for their use. When we launched our mobile text-based catalog early this spring we began to think of ways that we could use technology to market it smartly. QR tags seemed like a natural choice, since they are specifically designed for mobile devices. While we’re still playing with this idea some and refining the concept, the idea of placing QR tags in strategically defined places within the library on informational signs does seem to have a lot of merit. Not only does it have the potential to introduce the public to a new technology, it also tells those who are already tech savvy and familiar with mobile QR tags that the library has a mobile catalog.

For those that are not familiar with how QR tags work, here’s a short overview and a video demonstration.

A QR (Quick response) code/tag is two dimensional matrix barcode that can be read by any QR tag reader (ie. Software). The software to read tags is loaded on mobile phone devices that also have camera phone capability , so that when you snap a photo image that contains the tag it automatically launches the reader, reads the tag and redirects you to a website that has been attached or associated with the matrix code.
QR tags come in several forms, the square matrix kind being the most popular. For our tag for the mobile catalog, we choose to create a bee tagg, because it gave us space within the matrix code area to include our logo.

If you want to try out the tag with your mobile device, you’ll need to install a QR code reader. We recommend the BeeTagg Mutlicode reader, because it works with all types of QR codes and also on both iPhones and other popular smartphone devices.

If you want to create your own QR bee tagg, it’s simple and free. Take a look at QR tags and think about the notion of concept leadership. You don’t have to fully implement an idea to develop and test it. You just have to be willing to do the leg work and try. :)

PS: Thanks Jodi and Business Apps for taking the leadership on this one.


Lorcan Dempsey said...

See the QR Codes in the University of Bath catalog.

for e.g.

Laura Baker said...

We are considering using BeeTagg for the reasons you mentioned, plus the fact that you get realtime statistics on how the tags were used. Some BeeTaggs are free, but they randomly display advertisements before linking the user to the desired resource. To avoid the ads, you have go for the paid service. Did you choose the free version with the ads, or did you pay for the ad-free version? Do you see usage justifying any costs?

We've been using mobile tagging to enhance library displays. They are a great way to merge physical collections with virtual resources. See

Anonymous said...

As I mentioned in Aarhus, the use of the QR codes and Beetaggs also could be a part of library guerilla marketing outside the library as well as marketing books/blogs in the library settinngs at signposts or shelves etcetera. So this is a thing not only for OPACs!