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Blurring the boundaries between our physical and electronic libraries: Location‐aware technologies, QR codes and RFID tags

Andrew Walsh (University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 9 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to consider the use of technologies including GPS, QR codes and RFID tags to personalize the learning environments in academic libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

It reports on the use of QR codes at the University of Huddersfield, including information on how the QR codes have been received by users. It also outlines other technologies used elsewhere and reported in the professional literature.

Findings

The paper finds that, although location‐aware technologies are being used, for most libraries they are impractical. Instead, one could use QR codes (which have significant barriers to their use) or preferably RFID tags (already widely used for other purposes) to create smarter libraries.

Practical implications

Libraries are increasingly using RFID tags in their stock, occasionally as part of library or campus smart cards as well. When considering how to use, or justify the cost of, RFID tags in libraries, one should also consider the potential additional benefits outlined in this article.

Originality/value

While most of the technologies described have been used in experimental ways within libraries, no one has yet used RFID tags for much more than stock circulation and control. This is the first paper to suggest using them to access the wealth of data in order to personalize the learning environments of our libraries.

Keywords

Citation

Walsh, A. (2011), "Blurring the boundaries between our physical and electronic libraries: Location‐aware technologies, QR codes and RFID tags", The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 429-437. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640471111156713

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited