This tip for generating QR codes for the Qwidget using bit.ly was posted to the QuestionPoint listserv by Bill Pardue, Reference & Virtual Services Supervisor at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
From Bill Pardue:
The issue: determining what URL to associate with a QR code for the mobile qwidget
I thought that mobile users would pass the actual mobile qwidget URL along as the referrer, but instead you see the page from which the patron went to the mobile widget (and it stays with their bookmarked icon, so whenever they connect, that's the referrer you'll see). That clearly makes sense when working with mobile users who've encountered the qwidget in the course of using your site, so I see no reason to change that.
It's a bit trickier if they save the qwidget from there and return to it later.
For example, with our iPad, I went to the mobile qwidget and saved it as an icon after first visiting our catalog page (http://iii.ahml.info).
Now, every time I use that icon from the iPad home screen, my sessions look like they came from our catalog page.
It's probably a good idea to think about what referrer page to associate with a "pure" link to the mobile qwidget, like you might set up with a QR code. I was able to put together a sample URL below that would look like it's being generated from our homepage. Note that all colons and slashes in our URL have been converted to hex codes (%3A, %2F). Also notice the "instid" and "skin" fields, which you'd need to modify to your ID and preferences.
As long as we're on QR codes and qwidgets, etc.,I had the idea to generate a bit.ly code for our mobile qwidget's URL (http://bit.ly/AskAHML), especially for users with iPads and camera-less iPod Touches, etc.
It then dawned on me that I should use the bit.ly URL to generate the actual QR code. That way, we could track how many times the QR code is used. Note: this will just show how many times it's initially entered into a device...if they bookmark it, they'll have stored the QP URL, so bit.ly won't count subsequent use.
Even cooler, I just found bit.ly's trick of natively generating QR codes. Two ways:
- Put in your QR code and add ".qr" at the end: http://bit.ly/AskAHML.qr. You'll be taken to a page with the QR code for that bit.ly URL. Just copy/paste as needed.
- In bit.ly's main page for your account, click on the click-through stat for any of your links to see a full overview of its related activity. A QR code appears on the right.
Here's a fun article that Richard Kong passed along to me about Bit.ly vs. Google on shortners and QR codes: http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/13/bitly-qr/
Apologies if that's old hat to any/everyone!
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