HAMMOND- Southeastern Louisiana University has caught on to the emergent trend of QR codes, enabling students to scan the code with a smart phone, instantly bringing them to a map of the library.
QR codes are 2D barcodes that mobile phones with a camera can read. You can design the code to implement users to browse a website or bring up an image. By downloading one of the free applications, any smart phone can read the code. Unlike barcodes, QR codes are made up of symbols rather than just bars. Using QR codes costs less and also saves time by cutting out searching and typing.
This code has been recently introduced and has many librarians eager in implementing them. Kathryn Munson, asst. access services librarian at Southeastern, has been a part of the technological committee in constructing these QR codes for the Sims Memorial Library.
“I read an article in American Libraries, which is the big publication for librarians, and thought it was a good idea for Southeastern,” said Munson. “It’s just an interesting way to bring the online world in at the same time as the physical world.”
QR codes are just being discovered and libraries all over are experimenting with this new concept. Munson said they are working on an initiative to make the library more mobile friendly.
Lynette Ralph, assistanmt professor and assistant director at Southeastern said the Admissions offices use them to facilitate tours and if a student can scan a QR code, then they can dispense the printed campus map and have all the information on their phone.
“This helps to keep us competitive,” said Ralph.
“I think that’s pretty awesome,” said Southeastern student Katie Knight.
In the Sims Library, digital signs are posted at the entrance and also by all of the elevators.
Angela Dunngington, coordinator of library science, has also been a part of this process.
“There is a little barcode next to each of the elevators and if you just take a camera shot of it, and you have the application on your phone, it will transmit the image to your phone,” said Dunnington.
Any student, Munson said, they have talked to about the QR codes, the first time they have heard about it, is when they mention it.
“It’s nice to be seen as an innovator,” she said.
Knight, believes this new technology could also be beneficial as a school map.
“Maybe if there were polls throughout campus and a QR code on each, it could tell you where you are at or where you need to go,” said Knight. “I could use it for some of the buildings over by Pottle, because I’ve never had classes over there and don’t know where it is.”
Chad Schoonmaker, a communication major at Southeastern thinks this new advancement could come into use in other ways on campus to help promote a green community.
“A teacher could give a QR code out at the beginning of the semester that would bring you to the syllabus with assignments and due dates,” said Schoonmaker. “It’s one central location for it all and definitely helps out with a paperless society.”
Senior, Elizabeth Olson thinks the codes could provide students with a better understanding of where certain books are located in the library.
“They are kind of scattered throughout the library, so that would make it much easier,” said Olson.
A few libraries have it so that their catalog will automatically generate a QR code for the call number said Munson.
“If you want to find a book, all you have to do is your search, get the call number, scan it with your phone and that number will be in your phone so you won’t have to write it down on scratch paper,” she said.
Munson hopes that in the future they can use these codes to promote services at Southeastern, such as the text a librarian where they could attach a QR code for the text number. Other ideas are to put a code on a book so that students can scan it and it will bring them to the Amazon page to read reviews.
Olson also suggested the QR code could be useful for knowing the nutritional values of food items in the student union or other coffee shops on campus.
“This is the first step and it’s a free step,” said Munson.
Ralph said she hopes to see all departments exposed to the concept of QR codes, be aware of its uses and benefits and identify ways of using it to make life easier for our students, faculty and staff.