Monday, 21 September 2009

Fancy winning an iPod Touch?

QR Code

The image on the right is a QR or 'quick response' code. Originating in Japan they were initially used by companies as tracking devices. Unlike traditional barcodes QR codes are two dimensional and are able to store both alpha and numerical content (up to 7000 numerical or 4300 alpha-numerical characters long). The information stored within these codes can be anything from urls, to telephone numbers, to addresses or even entire poems.

The QR code above converts into the Library homepage. For you to be able to read this you’ll need a mobile camera phone and reader software. Some of the later Nokia phones already have the software installed and for iPhones it’s easy to pick something up from the app store, like BeeTagg or Quickmark. You could try Googling your phone’s make and model to find out what software you need or alternatively try some of the following:

To read the code you just need to take a photograph with your phone’s camera and allow the reader software to do the rest. For those of you with Internet enabled phones you’ll be directed straight to the URL via your mobile browser. To find out more about QR codes visit the library news page and for details on connecting your phone to the university’s wireless network have a look at the instructions via CiCS.

The University Library is currently piloting the use of QR codes and we are keen to discuss your ideas on how we could be making use of this technology to support our library services. Some suggestions have included codes iPod Touchwhich link to the library catalogue and our library blogs for mobile bookmarking purposes or the inclusion of codes on catalogue records to save bibliographic details. We are also working on attaching QR codes to a sample of our paper journal runs to link users to their electronic equivalents via Find it @ Sheffield.

If you have any ideas about how we can use QR codes in the Library we'd like to hear them. By leaving a comment against this blog post you'll automatically be entered into our competition to win a brand spanking new iPod Touch.

The deadline for entries is 30 November and the competition is open to all University of Sheffield students, via the four library blogs:

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Important Customer Services Notice

Change to Library loan periods September 2009

The Library constantly reviews its practices with regard to loans, and recent modifications to the reservations system have prompted us to try to further improve the way in which material is circulated. We have changed the lending service so that Library material ‘manages itself’. An in-demand item automatically has a shorter loan period which then reverts back to a normal loan period once the demand has been satisfied.

Why change the system?

  • In the past when you requested a book it was arbitrary which item you received – it may have been a normal loan or a short loan. You’ve told us this is unfair.

  • Short loan items were not in-demand all the time, and it was difficult to understand why you couldn’t have items for longer if no-one else needed them. Also, you had to remember to renew short loans every other day and it was easy to build up large fines.

  • Part-time and distance-learning students found it difficult to borrow short loan items.

With the new system what will happen when I borrow a book?

All items in stock in the Library now have a ‘normal’ loan period, the length of which is determined by the type of student, as previously. So, if you’re a full-time undergraduate or a postgraduate on a taught course books are issued for 1 week, if you’re a part-time student books are issued for 2 weeks, and if you’re a research student books are issued for 4 weeks.

If no-one else wants the book you can keep renewing it and each time it will be issued for the standard loan period.

We have also increased the number of self-renewals to 20, so staff don’t need to renew items for you until you reach that limit.

Full details of the new lending service can be found on the Library website under using the library. Remember - it’s essential to check myLibrary Account via MUSE regularly to avoid fines and check no-one has reserved the items you have on loan.