Tuesday, July 19, 2011

QR Codes in DISCOVER and EBSCOhost

We have now added QR Codes to DISCOVER and to EBSCOhost databases (like Cinahl and Historical Abstracts). You will see them in results lists (in our main profile only) and in Full Record view.

What are QR Codes?

QR Codes are those little patterns of squares you see in more and more adverts, among other places. They are a two-dimensional barcode. The idea is that you take a picture of them on your smartphone (or other mobile device) and then use an app (a free one if you have any sense) to decode the QR Code, which usually means taking you to a web page encoded in the pattern.

Why would I use them?

Here are 3 examples of QR Codes in DISCOVER and why you might find them useful:

1. Search results page

Here's what you'll see on the DISCOVER search results page when you search for 'san andreas fault':

The QR code encodes the 'Permalink' for that search (http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/login.aspx?direct=true&bquery=((san+AND+andreas+AND+fault))&type=0&site=eds-live&scope=site) which you find under 'Alert/Save/Share' at the top of the search results.

If you take a photo of that QR code and have a QR code reader on your mobile device then it will re-run that search for you whenever you like, without having to write anything down or create a bookmark.

2. E-journal article

If you view the full record for any e-journal article it has a QR Code at the end:

Again, the QR Code encodes the Permalink of that article. So if you find a really useful article but don't have time to read it there and then, just snap the QR Code and then load the article via the QR Code whenever convenient.

3. Books and journals in the library

If you view the full record for any book or journal it has a QR Code at the end:

Rather than having to write down or memorise the classmark, just snap the QR Code on your mobile device and take the catalogue record with you as you search the shelves. You can link from the DISCOVER record to the library catalogue record, and then on to our web pages that explain where things are shelved.

Caveats: a search Permalink will always run searches in our main DISCOVER profile, so that is why we don't offer that sort of QR Code in our other profiles (medicine, humanities, etc). And Permalinks will always lead to the full version of the DISCOVER site which might not work too well on a mobile phone. So some of these probably work better on an iPad than for an iPhone for example.

Here are the 3 QR Codes above in full size. Try them out...

search for 'san adreas fault'

e-journal record

book record

The code for this feature was written by Eric Frierson, Digital Services Manager at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Thanks, Eric. We'll keep an eye on the other ideas he comes up with on his http://thirdpartylibrarian.wordpress.com/ blog.

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