Quick Response codes can be read quickly by a cell phone, and are similar to the old fashioned barcodes except that they are two dimensional and can contain much more information (thousands of alphanumeric characters of information verses a traditional barcode which can contain only 20 characters). QR codes which originated in Japan were they have been used for well over a decade, are starting to become immensely popular with consumers who want immediate access to relevant data about a product, service or even just sharing their Blackberry PINS. Companies are using QR codes as part of their mobile advertising strategies and some are even offering discount coupons that can be opened with your phone.
QR codes can be embedded with a number of things, a URL, data or text, or even a phone number, and are typically used for marketing purposes or to give the user further information about a product or service. QR codes are showing up everywhere from magazine ads, billboards, webpages (my blog for example has a QR code) and even tee shirts. Once the code has been read by your cell phone, it can open up a URL, display a phone number, geo coordinates or text.
So how can cell phones read these QR codes? Well the cell phone must have a camera (used to scan the QR codes) and a QR code reading software such as Kaywa. Once the software is installed, you can then run it and quickly scan QR codes. But how can you generate QR codes? Well that too is very easy to do. You can go to a web site like reader.kaywa.com or you can use Google’s URL shortener available here and then enter a long URL and it will shorten it for you and once you hit “details” it will display more information including a QR code that has the new URL embedded in it.
These QR codes will be a great benefit to companies and libraries alike. They can be used in ads, or as links to the reference desk so customers can always access the reference desk even from their cell phones. Or it can be used as a way to connect with teens by having a contest to scan in QR codes in library branches (or all over town) that would direct them to other parts of the libraries or other online resources that the library offers. Once they have tracked down all the QR codes a prize would be given or their name would be entered into a draw for a IPAD or other decent prize. And QR codes could be added to new titles that could like to the book's summary, ratings and reviews. Also QR codes could be used to link to online databases so the customer could link to a favourite database through their cellphone.
Check out more information about QR codes by reading the QR code in this post with your QR reader on your phone! :)