Which is it gonna be?
Will QR Codes infiltrate even tombstone epitaphs or are we writing epitaphs for QR Codes?
Until Meredith’s lecture and this week’s readings, I was pretty steeped in the doomsday scenario view of QR Codes.
In Michael Stephen’s LIBR 281 Transformative Learning & Technology Literacies class, my team built a Library 2.0 abbreviated 23 Things for an actual library. The elementary school librarian who commissioned our project specifically asked that one of the modules cover QR Codes, which he expected to have great applicability for his elementary school library. When our design team checked in with Michael Stephens, however, Michael voiced an extremely lukewarm assessment of the future of QR Codes. Not a stance you might expect from a guru of transformative technologies. He was firmly in the camp predicting their demise in library settings. The next semester, Michael shared the following from a fellow blogger and QR naysayer: http://implementingqrcodesinlibraries.org/
In an October 22, 2011 post to his Tame the Web blog, Michael featured an article by the blogger and marketing strategist Sean X Cummings, entitled Why the QR Code is Failing. If you scroll down to the comments section, notice also that, in response to Michael’s request for library success stories about QR Codes, Alison Hicks chimes in about the work that she and Caroline Sinkinson put forth in the article from our reading list this week.
Cummings lays out one of the potential nails in the QR Code coffin. Basically it goes something like this: If QR Codes are deployed to perform an existing function and don’t do so with added elegance and efficiency, they are doomed. The application must offer some compelling enticement to overcome the prevailing lack of knowledge about QR Codes. The “barcode thingy” reference in this post’s title is based on one of the more frequent responses to Cummings’ ad hoc street survey about QR Code recognition by your average Joe and Joanna.
In spite of his criticisms, Cummings isn’t totally down on QR Codes in his field of advertising. He just thinks they’ve been used without much imagination. That is definitely worth pondering in the library context as well. This week’s examples of QR Codes in libraries, particularly Meredith’s excellent contextual instruction applications, make that a more promising exercise…one that has actually given me my first real glimmers of hope about QR Codes. I can see QR Code instructions at some of our pesky “points of pain,” to borrow Meredith’s expression….for instance, our danged dinosaur of a color printer and our brand new vinyl cutters. I can also see QR Codes working well as a way to showcase ebooks by genre in our library’s new bookstore layout.
Images used in this post:
Alpha. (June 26, 2008). Telstra Mobile Codes Demo. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/2611750549/in/photostream/
Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.
N Stjerna. (December 2, 2009). Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/24005067@N06/4153941728 Available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license