Public information? There’s an app for that!

Have you ever come across an image like the one to the left?

Matrix barcodes like this have begun appearing on ads you see every day. This particular example is of a Quick Response (or QR) code, which contains information you can access using a smart phone and free barcode reader “app,” (short for application).

The barcode reader app uses the phone’s built-in camera to “see” the code. When it is recognized, the app will show you the decoded message as text, open a web browser to the specified URL, or prompt you to enter a new contact into your phone, depending on the information contained within the barcode. If you have such an app, go ahead and scan this code, which will route you through a government website to the NRC’s public website.

An NRC Region III inspector, Jason Draper, suggested that the agency consider using this technology by incorporating QR codes into some of its brochures and public meeting signage. Region III is now working with the NRC Office of Information Services to launch a pilot program using QR codes. The pilot will run through mid-December 2011. The results of the pilot effort will be analyzed to determine whether this initiative should be recommended for full implementation across the agency.

There are many potential uses. At job fairs, prospective employees could scan a QR code with their phone and be linked directly to the USA Jobs posting to obtain position information in real time. Public meeting attendees could be linked to the NRC public website or directly to a relevant NRC document with more information on the meeting topic.

Similarly, posters used during end-of-cycle “Open Houses” could contain links to agency web pages with additional information for variety of technical topics. Using QR codes at the NRC’s annual Regulatory Information Conference could enhance communications with the public and the international community, and further demonstrate its efforts to conduct business in an open and transparent manner.

Jared K. Heck
Regional Counsel & Government Liaison Team Leader
NRC Region III