Online databases are an important part of libraries, but a lot of patrons don’t know what they are or that they’re even there. Databases have been intimidating in the past, with scholarly-looking homepages and complicated search engines. Now, many of these databases are becoming more user-friendly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help if users aren’t getting to the site in the first place.
One of the topics discussed in my library marketing class was how to use emerging technologies for marketing purposes. In our discussions, I came up with this idea and ended up using it for my final project. I brought the idea to my supervisor and was able to try it in our collection.
These QR codes are integrated into the collection in the area that corresponds to the database’s main topic. The above example is for the Science Reference Center, so I placed it in our adult non-fiction science section. The idea is that a patron who is looking for a book on a particular topic will see the QR code, scan it with their smartphone or tablet, and be directed to a database that has an abundance of information on the topic they are looking for.
Some databases, like ALLDATA, are only available at the library, so users cannot access them at home. In Washington County libraries, the permission to access these databases is dispersed through the open Wi-Fi network. This means users can access them on their personal devices, which reaches users who are apprehensive about using public computers.
QR codes are relatively easy to use. All app stores have free QR reading apps available. The users should not have to create an account to read the code. Once scanned, the database will open in a browser and operate similarly to any other website. Most databases are optimized for mobile use.
This project is new and experimental. I will follow up with another post when I receive feedback.