Recently, while researching QR technology, I came across a piece that discussed its use in retail. The author used the video below that shows how a South Korean retail store, Tesco, have adapted their services in order to reach their goal of increasing their market share without having to increase the number of stores. They created “virtual” stores in subway stations, and other high traffic areas and provided QR under the picture and price of each item. People waiting for subway are looking on the pictures and can add items to their shopping carts by scanning QR codes with their smart phones, and then the items purchased are delivered to their homes. Here is the video:
Now, think about the QRs and their potential for marketing library collections ….. I can see libraries creating “virtual” displays where a graphic presentation of a book is accompanied with a QR code that can provide detailed and precise book information. People could view such thematic displays of books and snap a picture of the QR code with their iphones. Public libraries could even create “virtual” branches on subway platforms, bus stops, etc. where people could browse the collections while waiting for a train or bus and having them delivered either to their ebook reader or home.
The link between QRs and libraries is obvious. The basic principle behind this technology is the same as behind library barcodes. Think about the checkout computer at the library. It scans a barcode and the item scanned is added to a list. The command – namely, “add this item to the list” – is built into the design of the barcode and is decoded by the library system. Similarly, QR codes can be scanned with a device which will then carry out the action built into the code. What’s left is for the library to do is to create a system where these codes can be decoded and the library action carried on (i.e. send this book on hold).
I work at a library where we provide InfoExpress service for our faculty. The way it works is that the faculty members e-mail the library staff responsible for this service the title, the author and publication details of the resource they need, and the library staff retrieve or sometimes obtain the materials from other locations and deliver them to the profs. This is a very popular service. Imagine it paired with QRs… Imagine always getting the correct citation, imagine how easy it would be for the faculty to order these books without having to type the bibliographic information…. Then imagine promoting the collections using QR coding, imagine that all the incoming new books could be “displayed” this way in high traffic areas while the physical copies would circulate…., or imagine creating thematic book displays in the faculty hallways and classrooms…. Imagine embedding the library in a very real way into every research or project by creating “virtual” thematic displays equipped with codes…. Imagine….