September 28, 2011 / Coverage / Fall 2011

The QT on QRCs

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

If you have ever wondered how you can pack more photos and information into a spread, the solution may be as simple as a QRC.

A QRC – Quick Response Code – is a printed URL link that can be read by using an application on a smartphone, some computers and most tablets, taking you to the internet for more information. QRCs can help you get the most out of your yearbook coverage by linking to extra photos, videos and information. You just have to make some decisions before you use them.

  • Decide what topics or spreads need QRCs, or how to use them in your ad section.
  • Decide what needs to go on the spread and what can be covered online. The yearbook will be around forever, so make sure the important information is in print.
  • Decide where you want to host the content – your school’s website or the school’s YouTube channel are two logical places.

The yearbook staff at Sacramento Country Day School in Sacramento, Calif., had one deadline left for their 2011 yearbook when they learned about QRCs. They placed one on the back page of their Medallion yearbook, linking to video of activities that were featured in the yearbook. Copy on the page told readers to look for more QRCs in the yearbook in 2012.

qrcode.QR pageSacramento Country Day’s adviser, Joel Rickert, said he sees QRCs as a means for adding more photos and video to baby ads, which he would sell at a premium, and for marketing his private school.

“(There are) a lot of unknowns about QR codes, so I see them as having great potential for temporary applications,” Rickert said.

Rickert recommends having the school host the online content so the school maintains control. He considers the online items “perishable,” because, “you don’t want to host it forever.”

Renee Burke, adviser at William R. Boone High School in Orlando, Fla., has embraced QRCs but understands that the evolution of technology may send them into obsolescence. She said if it becomes impossible to reach the web addresses in QRCs, that just means their yearbook was on the cutting edge the years they published them.

“Our 75th anniversary book is in 15 years. That could be a story about how and why they put QR codes in,” Burke said.

The Boone school newspaper used QRCs during the 2011 school year, sending readers to the online newspaper. At that site, there is a link to SmugMug, a photo-sharing site where people can purchase photos.

The 2012 Legend yearbook at Boone will have QRCs to drive readers to sports and homecoming photos that did not make it in the yearbook. These photos will be hosted on the newspaper’s site, Burke said.

Burke said what she likes about QRCs is that people can go right online to a site without having to remember an address or need to log in.

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.