Applications for QR codes in archival settings?

This week I’ve been participating as a guest in Kim Anderson’s online course, “Archival Outreach: Programs and Services,” offered through the School of Information Studies
at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The class has been using A Different Kind of Web as one of their core texts, so it’s great for me to see how the book works in the classroom. (Short answer: apparently very well.)

In the discussion board, Susan Garwood mentioned attending the AAM meeting recently and hearing a lot about the use of QR codes. So I asked her about how she thought they could be used in archival settings, and here’s her answer:

We’ve been exploring all ranges of archival outreach including exhibits so, although traditionally a museum function, QR codes can help augment archives outreach in an exhibition as well.  Another area could be on a take away piece.  A brochure or bookmark that might link to the archives on Facebook, a map to the institution, or the museum’s website or blog.  Or perhaps on the outside of the archives (below the hours sign that might link to a contact form).  Within an exhibit, as you know, you can’t put a full transcription of a document within the exhibit and a QR code could link to that.  Anywhere that visitors interact with a document or artifact. I suppose, however, it could be an internal management tool.  I’ve heard of some artifacts being barcoded and having a reader allows you to scan the object and see its documentation which might be helpful in collection retrieval and management within the storage space.

Some of those applications sound very promising. I’ve been skeptical about QR codes, so I thought I would throw it open to the readers. Have any of you used QR codes or know another repository that is using them? What has the response been?

UPDATE: It has been called to my attention that I neglected to cite an important resource in the discussion on QR codes in archives, so here, with my apologies for the omission is: “Put a QR code on it!” Thanks, Rebecca!

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