Skip to Main Content

QR Codes

Explains what QR codes are and how to get started scanning and using them.

What are QR codes?

QR codes, also known as 2-D codes or matrix barcodes, are codes that you can scan with a decoding app that uses your mobile device's camera. QR is short for quick response. Because they are more complex than line-based UPC barcodes, QR codes can accomplish many tasks, for example:

  • directing your mobile browser to a website so you don't have to type the URL
  • displaying text up to thousands of characters long
  • initiating a text message, email, or phone call
  • downloading contact information
  • adding an event to your calendar
  • mapping an address

QR codes were invented in Japan in 1994, and are slowly increasing in popularity in the U.S. To read more about them, visit Wikipedia.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Meg Kribble
Et Seq., the HLS Library blog
Ask a Librarian at HLS