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QR codes: reinventing the barcode

Libraries were early adopters of barcodes, recognising the benefit of fast, accurate and automated identification of resources, borrowers and equipment directly into library systems. Life without barcodes would be slower, involving plenty of manual data entry with associated human error.

The widespread adoption of smart mobile devices has renewed interest in quick, accurate ways to input data that avoid keyboard use.

QR (Quick Response) codes have been with us for a while, but recently there has been growing interest in using them creatively in education.

A QR code is similar to a barcode in that it encodes information. But whereas a barcode encodes only a small number of characters (for example the ISBN on the back of a book or the user number on your library card), a QR code might link to a website, a map, a YouTube video, an MP3 music file or an online document.

There are many free online tools which you can use to create QR codes for your online resources. Free QR code reading apps can be downloaded for most smartphones.


This QR code links to the PDF version of Connections 78

More reading

SCIS and social media

SCIS uses a number of social media channels to help keep the school library community informed about our services and about issues in the school library world. We invite you to make SCIS part of your Professional Learning Network (PLN) and start connecting with school libraries online.

School library staff getting started in social media will find subscribing to a blog, or following a Twitter account from a known and trusted service such as SCIS, can help in finding new connections and sharing valuable resources.

SCIS blog

To subscribe to our blog, use the links in the right-hand column of the blog to subscribe to an RSS reader, an RSS feed or by email. We encourage you to comment on articles and we welcome your requests for posts on topics of interest.!

SCIS has recently begun experimenting with!, curating the topic 'SCIS: news and resources about school libraries'.! works by either direct posting of articles by the editor, or by collecting information from blogs, news readers, social bookmarking services and any RSS-enabled services. The editor of the! topic then scans the feeds and pushes stories of interest to their own topic.

The newspaper layout is automated with some limited editing of images and moving of stories enabled.

'Follow' the SCIS topic on! by RSS or email alert.



Is Facebook your preferred social network? You can 'like' SCIS on Facebook to receive and share news and resources about school libraries. Search for Schools Catalogue Information Service or the address:


Join the conversation on Twitter by following SCIS @schoolscatinfo 
and contribute by tagging your posts with the hashtags:

  • #austl for Australian related posts
  • #slanza for New Zealand posts
  • #tlchat for a global school library perspective.

Your SCIS usage: what are you saving?

As you come towards the end of year and the annual reporting period, did you know that you can generate reports on how many catalogue records you've ordered from SCISWeb? Log into SCIS at and choose My Profile from the menu. Follow the link to Records ordered this year.

For the six-month period January to June 2011, SCIS users downloaded a total of 4.3 million records. That's a huge saving for schools when you think that it only takes a few minutes to download a file of records from SCIS, compared to the time and effort it would take to create equivalent quality records individually in school library systems. A recent review estimated the cost-benefit ratio of copy cataloguing (retrieving a completed record from the database) over original cataloguing (creating a catalogue record from scratch) to be in the order of 5:1.

Note that SCISWeb reports do not include counts of records imported from SCIS using the Z39.50 protocol so the total saving is even greater than that represented by the number of SCISWeb downloads.

Invoices for 2012

Invoices will be sent in October 2011 to schools not involved in a bulk deal. The cost of a subscription to SCISWeb, SCIS Subject Headings and SCIS Authority Files will not increase in 2012. Payment is due by the end of 2011.

Leonie Bourke
Leonie Bourke
Manager, SCIS
Education Services Australia

Pru Mitchell
Pru Mitchell
SCIS Subscriber Support Coordinator
Education Services Australia