In the era of internet and digital revolutions, it is challenging for libraries to choose mediums to promote services to support learning, teaching and research. Digital and social developments are changing the expectations and demands of users on the traditional library. One of the interesting digital developments was the trend of mobile tagging through the use of the QR codes which enables users to access digital contents on their mobile devices. Another trend is the use of the flipping book technology which is being used increasingly by many libraries worldwide.
The IIUM Library has adopted these trends for its Muslim Scholar’s profile collection. The collection consists of 168 Muslim Scholars profile in 23” x 15” printed poster format exhibited at the Islamic Intellectual Heritage Gallery at level 2 of the library building. The profile contains the biography and contributions of the various scholarsin the Malay Archipelago. It is an essential reference for research in Islamic history and civilization. However, access to this valuable information is limited as it is available in printed format only. The project to digitize the collection was established to increase awareness among users, researchers and external members to the collection.
QR code is Quick Response or 2D bar code that can be read by downloadable smart phone readers with camera-scanning capabilities. The information encoded in the code may be text, a URL and other data.To resolve the difficulties in reading information in the printed posters due to their location which is higher than eye level, QR codes are pasted to each of the Muslim Scholar profile posters. Each QR code represents unique information on individual scholar. Users need to download the QR reader software which is available free to their smart phone and activate their IIUM Wi-Fi. When the code is scanned with the QR reader, the search will reveal a link that redirects to the Muslim Scholars profile.
Flipping book, on the other hand, is a form of an electronic book consisting of text, images, or both, readable on computers or other electronic devices. Flipping book is specifically a book with a series of pictures that vary gradually from one page to the next, so that when the pages are turned rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change. The technology provides readers a realistic and enjoyable experience as though they are actually looking and flipping a hard copy newspaper or book.
IIUM Library started the digitization project of Muslim Scholars profile in July 2013. Each flipping book contains 8 profiles and there are a total of 21 digital books available for the 168 posters.The workflow in digitizing the Muslim Scholars profile collection can be seen in the enclosed picture. However, the full-text information can be accessed via intranet within campus only due to copyright issues. Access is via the Kiosk at Islamic Intellectual Heritage area, level 2 and the Library Homepage ( http://apps.lib.iium.edu.my/mscflipbook ).
Since the activation of the flipping book system from September 2013 until February 2014, the number of users accessing the system has risen from 35 users per day to 168 users per day. The Library believes that this figure will continue to increase with the promotional activities conducted via various channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, library’s website, email, posters, etc. A Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted also indicated a large percentage of the respondents believed that the service is user friendly, fast and accurate.
The IIUM Library’s initiative in implementing the new marketing tools through QR codes and flipping book has successfully achieved its target to provide a personalized library services to users. The Library users, mostly from Gen-Y, are more interested to access the library resources via their mobile phone. IIUM Library is always striving towards excellence in delivering services to its users. The Library through its continuous development efforts constantly looks at new and creative means to ensure its services and facilities are in sync with the latest trend in technology to delight its customers.