Fun with QR codes

I know that lots of librarians–and libraries–have jumped on board with QR codes, and so to them this post may be old hat.

I am not one of those librarians.  To me QR codes are still shiny and new.

What are they?
QR stands for Quick Response. I knew QR codes had originated in Japan–what I hadn’t realized was that they’ve been around since the 1990s, according to the manufacturer.    Using them requires a smartphone [edit: or a mobile phone with a camera] and a QR code-scanning app.  When you scan the QR code, it can send you text or push you  to a predetermined URL.   QR codes can be either in print or online.

Library uses
So how does this help libraries, you may well wonder.  Ideas can include using QR codes on promotional posters, maps and book shelves.  Beyond that, QR codes can also be put on instructional handouts–to offer students links to additional resources or to add your contact information to their phones.

Google’s QR code creator,
On Wednesday morning,  one of my colleagues  showed us how to create a QR code from a URL using Google’s QR code tool  Here’s a quick primer:

  • Copy the desired URL from the web page.
  • Type into Google
  • Paste the URL into the box and click on “Shorten.”
  • Copy and paste your new code into the URL box and add “.qr” (minus the quotation marks) at the end.  Click on Enter. 

Voila! You have a QR code.

Generating your own QR code:
There are 2 ways (that I know of) to generate your own QR code.

  • Use  to shorten a URL to a website and add “.qr” to the end of it.
  • Use a service such as  Kaywa QR code generator to generate a  QR code for SMS, text, a phone number or a URL.  I’ve tried several services in attempts to make a QR code  for text information, and so far this is the only one that works for me. 

The picture above is a screen shot from my iPod Touch.  After I scan the QR code I’ve just generated, Kaywa gives me the option to text the information (in this case, the name & URL of this blog).

I don’t think QR codes are going to overtake most libraries anytime soon, but in the meantime they’re certainly fun to play with!

Related resources:


2 thoughts on “Fun with QR codes

  1. So which methods did you use to create the QR for your YouTube page?

  2. I used

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