Libraries still remain the go to option for hundreds of thousands of people across the world on daily basis in order to access information especially amongst students and scholars.
Despite living in a digital era, the charm of libraries is irresistible by people like us but that’s not all. Many public and private libraries across the world have also become major tourist attraction, driving huge business opportunities related to tourism as well. Libraries like New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Washington, British Library, London, Shanghai Library, China are some to name in this context.
The need for creating smart libraries arises as the libraries are trying to keep up with the digital world where vast information is available just a few clicks away using internet. Students now prefer browsing internet and look up things they don’t understand which is quite easy and relatively quick in comparison to going to a library and looking for a particular book or journal on that topic.
Creating smart Libraries using QR codes:
QR codes: an introduction
QR (short for Quick response) codes are two dimensional (matrix) barcode images that contain an array of black and white squares instead of bars, like in barcodes. It can store more data than traditional barcodes and it is easy to generate and read. Data could be a URL, an image, a pdf, text, a phone number, Google form etc. Typically a QR code can have 7089 numeric and 4296 alphanumeric characters.
QR codes offer 360 readability, high data storage, read-rate and transfer.
Post 2017, many smart phone manufacturers have integrated QR code scanning feature in their mobiles and tablets offering easy scanning which also pushed the QR code applications exponentially. You might have noticed QR codes on POS at retail stores, departmental stores, on restaurant windows and doors, menus, on wine bottles, on tickets, on machines, business cards, resume etc. In India, QR code based digital payments have become a phenomenon. From grocery markets to food bazaars, stalls to beggars, it’s everywhere.
QR codes can be used to replace traditional barcodes on library books, and streamline the circulation process.
QR code based library management system is designed using Python’s Flask framework and a database is created to manage the vast collection of library books, journals and manuscripts etc. QR codes can also be used for providing guidelines regarding library access, in library behavior and accessing library instruments like printers, copy machines, book ATMs etc.
It can also be used for providing library map to help visitors with access to library sections, and enhancing their experience inside the library. QR codes can be used for other services like chat support, Ask a librarian services and for feedback as well.
A QR based Library Management System:
Library management system based on barcodes, QR codes, RFID, BLE and such other technologies can be used but it depends on many factors such as the need, size of the library, degree of automation needed, budget of the library management, security aspects etc.
Many libraries across the world have shifted to RFID based solutions for managing vast collection of books, and preventing theft and counterfeiting like IIT Delhi central library, IIT Madras central library, Seattle Public Library, Library of Congress, Washington, Hong Kong public libraries etc. but QR code based library management system offers a low budget, accurate and efficient solution which many public and private libraries can benefit from.
Many public libraries, big or small often suffer from fund crunch but need a library management system to reduce labor costs on circulation and money spent on security and a QR code base library management system can just be right fit.
How a QR code based Library management system Works:
A QR code based library system utilizes the following layout:
1.A user interface to sign-in and sign-out.
2.The interface can have a user registration, user authentication and mail based password reset options.
3.A database of all the collections inside the library where each item is tagged with QR codes (one or more).
4.A Homepage to search and manage books from database.
5.Option to issue and submit books.
6.QR scanner to scan QR codes and perform this operation.
Benefits of QR code based Library Management system:
A QR code based library management system not only provides the option to run day to day circulation operation with ease without shelling out a huge sum but it also reduces labor cost and improves security.
It improves visitor experience by allowing a great degree of automation in browsing books and journals and accessing various sections of the library, without having to ask for directions and spending great time to locate a particular book inside the library premises.
It also prevents theft or counterfeiting of valuable books and manuscripts and reduces losses.
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