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What are those things?

As you walk around the library you may notice small signs that look like crossword puzzles for a monosyllabic language. Perhaps you were hoping to find a list of questions…18 down: What is a three letter word for an insect that makes honey? 19 across: What is the symbol for the chemical element Beryllium? And so on.

If you know our librarians, people who commonly use words like fungible and routinize, it would be tough to figure out why people who have no fear of obsucre vocabulary words would have such short puzzles.  The answer is the funny signs are not puzzles at all, they are QR codes, also known as Quick Response codes. They were invented by Toyota and they act like fancy bar codes. We are using them in the library to give people a new option for taking the mandatory library tour.

Your phone can find lots of information if you point it at a code. Okay, maybe not your phone. We tried to use our phone with QR codes but the cord wasn’t long enough to reach the sign. As it turns out you need a smart phone. The kind of phone more and more students use. Just download a QR app and then point your phone at a code and take a picture. Your phone will then give you the text hidden in the code or even load a website. It’s really pretty slick and we expect to see more codes around campus on posters and in publications. If you want to learn more about QR codes and how to use them or even how to make your own codes a good place to start is http://guides.lib.byu.edu/QRCode

Here is a quick illustrated guide to using your phone with QR codes.

Below is the wrong way

Below is the right way