Students Don’t Know How to Use QR Codes

A damming critique of QR codes for marketing.

In the midst of the growing industry pressure to force-feed these barcodes into the marketplace, we noticed a profound indifference being shown to QR codes by the one demographic that can make or break a trend — college students.

Unless QR codes become easier, more nimble, and can provide content that engenders a more meaningful connection to the brand or product, students will continue to shower them with apathy.

The best part of this article is that it is based on some hard data.

We put a QR code in front of 500+ college student and asked them to scan it. We didn’t ask if they *would*, we asked if they *could*. And despite the fact that over 80% of those students had the necessary tool (a smartphone), only 21% knew (or figured out) how to successfully scan it.

A niche market.

[via @ulotrichous]

library frustration: a story in three tweets

I have a panel in TweetDeck that displays a search for the terms library OR librarian. I filter the word iTunes out of the search because plenty of people tweet about their iTunes libraries evidently. I check it a few times throughout the day because it is nice to get a little snapshot of what people are doing in libraries throughout the world. I often read about people studying, returning books, sleeping, and hanging out. Since I don’t work in a library anymore it is nice to have a small reassurance that there are indeed people out there frequenting them. On occasion there are some tweets that really show some insight into people’s perceptions and opinions of libraries.




[originals: 1, 2, 3 ]

ebert on blogging

If you’re ever feeling down on social software and blogs, you could do worse than to read Roger Ebert’s Confessions of a blogger:

I knew I wouldn’t have to interact at such depth with a blog, but, frankly, most of the blog comments I read online were not ones I was eager too receive.

Now I know I was wrong. I started this blog in May, and it has enriched my life. I have been astonished by the high quality of the comments received. I have also been educated, amused, moved, corrected, encouraged. I personally read all the comments that are submitted, and after four months I have received not one obscene message, not one illiterate message, not one hostile message. Those few comments I have not published were not dumb or offensive, but simply things like well-wishes that I didn’t think most readers would be interested in.

Your comments have provided me with the best idea of my readers that I have ever had, and you are the readers I have dreamed of. I was writing to you before I was sure you were there. You are thoughtful, engaged, fair, and often the authors of eloquent prose. You take the time to craft comments of hundreds of words. Frequently you are experts, and generous enough to share your knowledge.

Reading the comments, for example, on my entries about special effects and 3-D, I found people who make a living in those fields, speaking from direct knowledge. There have been comments from directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, critics. I seem to hear from who I need to hear from.

How to enjoy library audiobooks on the go

Eric Gwinn, the gadgets editor for the Chicago Tribune wrote a (slightly overly) nice and non-judgmental article about digital audiobooks from libraries. My quick read didn’t find any errors or misinformation, which seems to be a rarity when it comes to library technology issues in newspapers and magazines. The article spends a decent amount of time addressing some negative things about the digital audiobooks we offer but it never gets negative on the service:

The process of downloading a library audiobook to your computer and transferring it to a portable media player doesn’t always go smoothly. [ha!] Even if you follow the directions, files may seem to disappear. Don’t panic. Review the step-by-step instructions on your library’s Web site. [Does he mean actual library website or the website linked from the library site? Do patrons differentiate or care?]

You can put a “hold” on a checked-out audiobook, telling the library, “I want to check this out when it is returned,” but if you are the fourth person to place a hold, you could be waiting as long as 84 days — nearly three months! — before listening to that book.

Library audiobooks don’t work with Macs, iPods or iPhones. Audiobooks downloaded from libraries use copy-protection technology that Mac computers and Mac devices don’t support. This is librarians’ answer to the frequently asked question, “Why won’t this audiobook show up in my iPod?”

Big ups to Gwinn for “How to enjoy library audiobooks on the go” and spreading the word. Libraries could probably use the article as a promotion for their digital audiobook service.

QuestionPoint widget review, or, sweeping vendor dirt

Caleb Tucker-Raymond provides a review of the new widgets available with OCLC’s virtual reference software QuestionPoint at his L-net blog. Titled “QuestionPoint widgets and what to do about them”, his review is entirely fair and instead of simply pointing out the faults of the QP widgets he offers a workaround.

Read his post, but I’ll tell you in short that he likes the way the QP widgets handle patron privacy options.

That’s about it.

What he doesn’t like is that the widget continues to not facilitate the type of collaboration that Oregon’s L-net is all about. The specifics get into some QP geekery concerning the widgets being assigned to only one QP “queue.”

This isn’t a software problem so much as a policy problem. OCLC has made the assumption that our virtual reference services will be very very popular if we implement this kind of interface and the 24/7 Cooperative and the paid OCLC Backup Staff won’t be able to handle it. As a result, the widget functions in the way I described above.

Talk about fear of success! I’ve sent several complaints and suggestions for other strategies to measure and manage this potential problem, but have yet to get a response or acknowledgment from OCLC.

The main practical problem with us using the widget is that saying that chat is unavailable isn’t truthful – we’re available 24/7, it’s the widget that is not.

His solution to the problem involves some javascript to hide widgets at certain hours. That is, hide the problem. L-net libraries can either lie to patrons or sweep the vendor’s dirt under the carpet, which renders the widgets less useful. This whole story is another example of the inadequacies of vendor driven solutions to library problems, and perhaps their unwillingness to enter in a dialog and/or be responsive.

Caleb references the open source library chat box project libraryh3lp but doesn’t go so far as to recommend ditching QP and going with an open source solution. Clearly L-net has a decent amount of money and training time invested in QP so I can understand why he might be reluctant.

I just wonder when libraries are going to get fed up with buying things they don’t really want.

catch and subscribe

LISNewster extraordinare Blake asked me to take part in a conversation for LISTen, the LISNews podcast. The topic was the flap caused by downsizing at the Wausau Public Library in Wisconsin and the convo participants included Andrea Mercado and Nate Hill. Here’s a link to episode #12 of LISTen which was a good discussion, if I do say so myself.

I was already familiar with Andrea’s work but hadn’t yet seen Nate’s blog which is titled Catch and Release. After taking a look I subscribed straightaway. He reports on a Brooklyn Public Library fundraiser filled with 20-30somethings and booze, and also shows us his neat looking org chart displaying where a library website could fit:

More, please!

new blog: No Shelf Required

Do you have a list of people you wish would blog about what they’re doing in their libraries? Sue Polenka, Head of Reference at Wright State University’s Paul Laurence Dunbar Library was on my such list. She emailed to tell me I can erase her name. She’s started a blog called No Shelf Required. She calls it a “moderated discussion of the issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.”

I hope that Sue fills us in on the eBook scene at her library because I understand that she’s transformed their reference collection and increased library usage. I also wouldn’t mind if she got a bit off topic and told us about how the library has been called a “hero” by students because of their gaming events. And they’re way into IM. Yay.

Thanks, Sue!