Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A QR Code in my PhD Dissertation

I successfully defended my dissertation on Nov 23, 2010 from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

It was quite a process formatting this 213 page document for my PhD. It felt like a trip back in time as I imagine the format being so rigorously defined that it has not been allowed to change much over several decades. This gave me the impression that it was also very static and uninteresting. I thought to myself "A copy would be placed in Norlin Library at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus and it would sit there, unchanged, for decades (hopefully)."

So, how could I introduce a dynamic, yet useful aspect to my dissertation? Then I remembered QR codes! These codes are recommended for this exact situation - getting a reader to interact with a printed document. There are lots of novel ideas on where to place QR codes, check it out.

I did need to think a little about how I could generate a QR code that could be changed with time. I didn't want to target of the code to always be for example. So instead I direct the QR code to a file on my server, which allows me to redirect to what source I want using some html code.

Some ideas I had about where to link the QR code to included:
- My online CV
- My profile for my new job
- The video of my dissertation defense on vimeo (when it is ready)
- A digital business card
- The record on the ProQuest website
- My recent publications on PubMed
- My ResearcherID profile on ISI Web of Knowledge
- My profile on NeuroTree
- My twitter or LinkedIn profiles
- My dissertation study featured on the cover of the Journal of Neurophysiology
- Search results in Google for "Mike Pascoe"
- Probably a thousand other places if I let my mind wander...

I'm now tinkering around with the use of iFlyMobi to synthesize ALL of the above bits of information.

If you scan it right now (and you should, go ahead and pull out that smart phone), you'll soon be listening to a sound clip of me thanking you for picking up my book and I give you my email address if you have any questions.

So I'm very pleased with the way this turned out. As far as I know, this is the first implementation of a QR code in a doctoral dissertation (Nov 23, 2010). Let me know if you have seen this in the past OR if you think it's so cool that you plan on doing the same yourself.

UPDATE - Here is the page of my dissertation featuring the QR code:

A QR Code in my PhD Dissertation

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