If your phone or tablet has a back camera, then you’ll need an app that can scan barcodes and QR codes. Scanning a barcode or QR code can help you find additional information about an item, bargain shop, and more. RedLaser is an easy-to-use scanner that markets itself as a way you can bargain shop by scanning barcodes to find local deals that are cheaper, but you can also scan QR codes for websites or videos with this app, too.
What are QR Codes?
QR Code stands for Quick Response Code and they are small, like barcodes, but in a square shape with typically black and white dots filling up the square. QR codes started in the automotive and shipping industries used in the same way barcodes are, to allow for people to scan and read more information about the item on which the code is pasted. But QR codes have now gone mainstream and are used in a variety of ways. You can see them on ads in magazines or on billboards where you can scan them to go to the products website or to get coupons for the product. You can also find them in presentations where you can scan them and be led to the presentation online or to a video.
Here’s what a QR code looks like (this one brings you to the 23 Mobile Things homepage):
You can also find QR codes in libraries, which is outlined below.
- Download the app. Note: the app only works on devices that have a back camera.
- Open it and choose whether or not you want it to know your location. If it knows your location it will help when it comes to scanning barcodes for shopping local deals.
- Choose whether or not you want to allow it to send you push notifications.
- On the top right-hand corner of the app is the scanner that you use to scan barcodes or QR codes.
Here are some screenshots showing how to use the app.
On the homepage of the app you’ll see nearby stores, recently viewed items, coupons, and deals. At the top of the app is the icon you need to scan items (click to make it larger):
After clicking the scan icon, you then need to center the QR code or barcode in the middle of the screen. Here is a screenshot showing this (click to make it larger):
And depending upon what the QR code leads you to, RedLaser will then ask if you want to proceed. After scanning the QR code above, it will ask you if you want to go to the website (click to make it larger):
Here are some other things you’ll want to know in the RedLaser app (click to make it larger):
Libraries & QR codes
Libraries have used QR codes in many different ways. Some have used them on promotional materials where the code leads to library website or videos. Some have posted QR codes of book reviews around the library. Here are some things you can further explore about QR codes and libraries:
- One great use of them was in the Yukon Public Schools where students recorded book reviews in Audioboo (an app you can learn about in Thing 17) and then QR codes of their reviews were posted in the library near the books. Here’s a website (including video) showing how they did this.
- Many libraries put QR codes in their catalog which leads to more information about the item. Here’s an example from San Diego State University Library.
- QR codes can be used in displays, too. Libraries have book displays, but put a QR code next to the book that leads to its book trailer. Here’s an example of this from the Comsewoque Public Library.
- Some libraries use QR codes for library tours. Here’s an example of this from Emory University.
Do you have a great idea for using QR codes in your library? Write about it in your blog post and we may add a link to your blog here!