Have you ever heard of QR codes? They’re barcodes in two-dimensional form, and they are fast gaining popularity. They have been around for a while, and some people have even resorted to using QR codes for their tombstones!
I just discovered a more “intelligent” use for QR codes, though. A group of archivists, engineers, and library scientists have put their heads together to start a project called Books2Barcodes. Basically, their goal is to convert classic works to QR code form. People can then easily access the books via their web site.
The thing is, you will need a barcode-scanning app to read the QR codes and re-convert them to text that you can actually read. Practically any mobile phone with a camera and the app installed can do this for you. Here’s an example – parts of Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.
Obviously, no human can make sense of those images, but with the tools mentioned above, it is no issue. I know what you might be thinking – what is the advantage of converting books to QR codes, only to have to re-convert them to readable format? The brains behind the project state:
“…to make the classics of yesterday accessible to today’s technology. Although the task of converting books to barcodes is difficult, time-consuming, and impossible to automate, we believe this cultural contribution is necessary, regardless of the logistical difficulties.”
One possible advantage I can see is regarding storage – this format may take less space, but I am not sure. In any case, if you are interested in reading some classics in QR code form, check out the other titles at Books2Barcodes.