March 22, 2010 | doug Where each day brings a surprising fact, a fun activity, or an Ask a Librarian award … and a chance to brag about our incredible services!Ask a Librarian tries to constantly market the service. We want to help create excitement, or buzz about the service. We are constantly trying to think of new ways to let the world know what an awesome service we have. Seriously – LIVE HELP at their moment of need – and its FREE! What more could a frustrated student want. As often with marketing, you feel you scream about something for years and everyone should know about it…but they don’t…alas we must continue.One of the most powerful new augmented reality tools are QR Codes. What is that you ask? Well – a QR Code is a barcode you generate that connects print and the web. A user sees a QR Code (pictured on the right) and snaps a picture using a free program on their cellphone (BeeTag, Kaywa, Microsoft Tag are a few of the free programs.) The picture then connects their mobile device to a webpage, a video, or any web-based content). It’s a million times easier than typing in a URL into a mobile. These are starting to appear more frequently in the US and are already popular in Japan.Recently:– Esquire and other magazines have been using them to connect an advertisement to the web (and more here)– teachers are using them to connect handouts and the web– librarians to connect print and electronic resources – books are able to be updated! Think about using this for textbooks and having the QR code connect lessons, videos or electronic resources with the most recent information.This concept is on the cusp of becoming mainstream and I think it would be a great tool for promoting Ask a Librarian…though I am struggling to find just the right campaign. So, this week’s challenge is HELP ME! Send ideas on 1- what the QR Code should link to and 2- where would you think these codes would be most effective!Please send your ideas in by Friday for a special prize! Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) – Spread the Word! Inform your users with these talking points: · For live help when you’re not in our library, visit askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website). · You can use Ask a Librarian for free. · Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian. · Ask a Librarian is open until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday. · If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat, you can always email your question to us, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.