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Scanning the Future: QR Codes in Law Libraries


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Presentation given by Anna Russell and Carli Spina at the 2012 AALL Annual Conference.

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Scanning the Future: QR Codes in Law Libraries

  1. 1. Scanning the Future:QR Codes in Law Libraries Anna Russell & Carli Spina
  2. 2. Follow Along Online• We encourage tweeting of the presentation. Hashtag: #ScanAALL• You can also ask questions via Twitter which will be answered at the end of the presentation. Hashtag: #QRQA• Our slides are available online at:
  3. 3. We Will…• Define mobile tags• Discuss specific types of tags• Describe the mobile tag development process• Develop best practices for creating tags• Provide examples of law library projects using mobile tags• Demonstrate current and future mobile tagging trends
  4. 4. What Are Mobile Tags?
  5. 5. Mobile Tags:• 2D/3D barcodes that connect physical objects to electronic information• Scanned using the camera of a mobile device• Apps exist for a range of smartphones and tablets
  6. 6. Many Types Exist:•Microsoft Tags•QR Codes•SnapTags and more
  7. 7. Microsoft Tags• Proprietary system created by Microsoft• Tags consist of (typically) multi-color squares with patterns of triangles or dots• Can also generate QR Codes and NFC URLs
  8. 8. QR Codes• Created by Denso Wave for industrial use in the 90s• Design includes squares in 3 corners and must have contrast between foreground and background• Up to 30% of the code can be obscured without compromising scanning
  9. 9. SnapTags and More• SnapTags: – Proprietary system created by SpyderLink – Doesn’t require scanner app; No free alternative• Aztec Code: – Specification was released to the public domain – Used more frequently in Europe
  10. 10. Why QR Codes? Photo by Scott_Bl8ke
  11. 11. Because• 61% of all codes scanned in 2011 were QR Codes – Nellymoser• QR code usage jumped 617% from January to December 2011 in top 100 magazines – Nellymoser• Scan rates increased 157% in Q1 2012 – Online Daily Media
  12. 12. How Do They Work? Photo by EEPaul
  13. 13. How do you create them?• Wide arrange of free generators available online• Users can pick colors, shapes, backgrounds• Some editors allow users to edit pixel by pixel
  14. 14. Best Practices When Creating Tags• Never use a code smaller than 1.25” square• Only use codes in areas with wifi or cellular connectivity• Never obscure more than 30% of the code• Make sure the destination is mobile-friendly• Use shortened URLs• Give users guidance on how to use the code• Include a URL as an alternative• Make usage worthwhile
  15. 15. Law Library tag project examples:• University of Gloucestershire Library – QR codes configured with the automated circulation telephone number in all of their books to make the renewal process infinitely easier• Western New England School of Law Library – QR codes in the stacks for LibTours – QR codes to allow patrons to email reference staff in evenings and weekends when reference services are closed• Harvard Law School Library – QR codes as a way of connecting patrons with additional information about library policies – QR codes for where to find materials and how to get reference help – QR codes to connect physical exhibits with the digital counterpart
  16. 16. Law Library examples, cont:• Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) – QR Codes for marketing and linking to legal education tools (LibTours)• University of San Diego Legal Research Center – QR codes linking patrons to SMS number for texting questions to the reference desk’s email address – QR codes linking to the library’s hours and mobile catalog – QR codes linking to LibTours and research instructional videos• Florida State University Legal Research Center – QR codes to contact reference librarians – QR codes in the stacks to link the print material to its electronic counterpart – QR codes on bookmarks to market the library and lead to the mobile catalog, databases, research guides and library blog
  17. 17. Tag projects in law libraries – Issues to address:• Plan the display areas for your mobile tags in an organized, uniform, and branded fashion• Example of USD flyer
  18. 18. Tag projects in law libraries – Issues to address:• Plan the type of mobile tag and the mobile tag generation software you will utilize•
  19. 19. Tag projects in law libraries – Issues to address:• Plan patron surveys and periodic feedback on the usefulness of the mobile tags•
  20. 20. Tag projects in law libraries – Issues to address:• Plan on addressing technology issues – Blackberry, Android, IPhone have different tag readers – Need internet connection by the mobile tag – Malicious webpages & trusted sites
  21. 21. QR Code Scanners• QR code scanner apps are available for all types of smartphones• Select based on price (most are free) or features (some also scan other barcodes or verify the destination URL)
  22. 22. Tag projects in law libraries – Issues to address:• Plan out the types of content that work best on mobile devices – Short audio/visual tutorial vs. large pdf file – Would the patron need a computer to utilize the link the tag points to? – Is the information smartphone friendly?
  23. 23. Current Mobile Tagging trends• The novelty and curiosity appears to be disappearing – “A cool idea that, because of user adoption barriers, might be better in theory than in real life.” - comment by Austin Groothius from CALI, March 2012• A study, 1 year ago (June 2011) by comScore, found 6.2% of American mobile users American mobile device users scanned a QR code in that month. – Printed magazines & newspapers were most popular to scan from.• Inadequate technology, lack of education and a perceived dearth of value from QR codes. – “Humans are visual animals. We have visceral reactions to images that a QR code can never evoke” Why QR Codes Won’t Last February 15, 2012 by Jon Barocas
  24. 24. Current Mobile Tagging trends,• cont. Popularity found to be growing, especially in other countries (Europe and Asia); Japan is 15 years ahead of the US; use of mobile devices as personal computers Data from print edition of The Economist, June 16, 2012
  25. 25. What’s Next?• New and creative uses for current mobile tag technology• Emart, (a Walmart-equivalent in South Korea) April 2012 offered a new and distinguishing take on the traditional QR code: Emart installed a 3- dimensional QR code outside of its stores that, because of the sunlight and shadow only available between 12pm and 1pm, could only be scanned within this time frame.
  26. 26. What’s Also Next?• Companies like Blippar,Touchcode and Kooaba are dev-eloping invisible codes and waysto scan whole images to eliminatethe need for distracting codes• Near Field Communications (NFC) allows devices to transmit data wirelessly when in close proximity
  27. 27. Sources:• Barcode Scanning Up 157% In First Quarter, Online Media Daily, May 16, 2012,• QR Code Use Jumped 617% From January to December in Top 100 Magazines, New Nellymoser Study Reveals, PRWeb, January 26, 2012,• QR Codes vs Microsoft Tag, the winner is…, Finger Food, February 13, 2012,• Taking QR Codes to the Next Level, posted, June 20, 2012, the-next-level/• Square Deal; After many false starts, QR Codes are finally taking off, June 16, 2012,
  28. 28. Questions? Use Presentation Mode to view, Click this header to give mouse control back to PowerPoint, change slide, etc. Check the “alternate format” to see more tweets!© SAP 2009 / Page 28