Thursday, October 1, 2009

Visual Links - Sharing Links With QR Codes

When I had my first look at the Cambridge University Library online catalogue yesterday, I hadn't yet sorted out my computer credentials so I was limited to using the system in a personally stateless way using public terminals.

Some of the links I tried to follow were also blocked (they were trying to go outside the local subdomain, I guess), but they might have been useful and if the opportunity had allowed I might have bookmarked them.

So pondering this, and as a starter for ten, are there any easy takeaways for the casual, non-authenticated user to capture information relating to a particular results page using some sort of mobile device, such as a pencil'n'paper device, or a mobile phone (not that cameras are allowed in the library...)?

I spy one - there's a shortcode possibility in the 'Link to this record' URL, I think? ul-4528529 looks like it could be a handy shortcode to me?

So if a 'Catalogue shortcode' was published on each page:

Catalogue shortcode: ul-4528529

with an easy to find resolver somewhere (the form above works as a stop gap), it's easy enough to scribble down a shortcode for a book's results page on the library catalogue:-)

For getting that link onto a phone, a QR-code would be another possibility. Here's what the page might look like:

To try a similar effect out yourself, add the following bookmarklet to you browser toolbar... (just click and drag it onto your browser bookmarks toolbar in Firefox/Safari, or right click on it and select 'Add to Favorites' in IE/Internet Explorer.)

Newton QR code (uses Google visulisation API QR code generator)

...go to a results page, highlight the link and then click on the bookmarklet:

It also strikes me that a really useful generic tool that could be implemented on public terminals using a browser extension would be a right-click menu option offering to Display this link as a QR-code...?

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