As smart phones become more and more popular, so do the applications that make them so useful. The University of Lethbridge Library is catching on to this trend in a practical and useful way.
The library initially delved into this area by introducing its mobile website (http://www.uleth.ca/lib/about_Us/display.asp?PageID=272), which was the first of its kind on campus. Now, the IT folks have done it again: they've created scannable bar codes, known as QR codes, for students to book group workrooms on the spot with their mobile phones. Many future applications are also possible with this technology.
What exactly are QR (quick response) codes? These scannable codes contain all sorts of information, such as URLs or web links, videos, textual information, or any combination thereof. You may have already used them yourself if you've taken advantage of paperless boarding cards to board a flight, a service being offered by several airlines.
These codes can be read by 'scanning' them – basically taking a picture – with a smart phone such as an iPhone, Android, etc. The appropriate software application (downloaded from your phone's app store – available for free or a nominal fee) is also required.
The library has several useful applications for QR codes. The first is for group workrooms. Students now have the ability to check a room, while standing outside, to see if it's been booked, and if it hasn't, reserve it right on the spot. The second application is in the library catalogue, where each catalogue record has a unique QR code included in its display. When you scan the code into your phone, the location, call number, etc. of the item will be displayed on your smart phone, with no need to write down the information.
The Library is proud to once again lead the pack with this new technology. And with the popularity of smart phones on the rise, we can only assume there are more great things to come.
For a look at the full issue of the December Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.