WebTools: QR Codes/Short URLs

How to use WebTools to create Short URLs and associated QR Codes

Webtools is a great resource at the disposal of UIUC and here, we will be exploring how to use its Short URL feature to generate short URLs and matching, scannable QR codes.

These QR codes can be scanned with many smartphone cameras and quickly direct users to the web address linked to the QR code. Some phones do not recognize QR codes by default, but with the addition of QR reader applications, will work in a pinch. These QR codes are handy for event advertising, surveys, and more. The generated QR codes can be displayed digitally (i.e., on a television or monitor display) or printed and placed like fliers, posters, and/or notes.

You can also create Short URLs which can be used as placeholders for much longer web addresses. For example, instead of https://wiki.illinois.edu/wiki/display/ischool/Wiki+Editing%3A+The+Basics, you can link use Short URL to produce the same web address as Wiki Editing: The Basics. Much better for accessibility.

Steps to create a QR code linking to an existing web address

  1. Go to webtools.illinois.edu in an internet browser to access the WebTools, and login using your NetID and password
  2. Scroll to bottom of tools page, and click the Short URLs tile w/ the chain link logo
    Front page of Webtools, indicating reader to scroll down this page
    Lower portion of Webtools front page with highlight on ShortURLs button

  3. In the Short URLs page, you can browse and search URLs that have been created. With your own content, you can create and delete, organize with folders, assign access via groups and roles etc. We will focus on creating new Short URLs. Click the "+Create" button.
    Short URL page displaying My Short URLs tab and folders

  4. Next, you will select the domain and administrator of the Short URL you are creating. Typically, we'll be working with the "go.ischool.illinois.edu" domain.
    You may use your own NetID or you may select a group. On the previous page you may recall the "Roles" button next to "+Create". This "Role" button will allow you to create any groups you like, provided you have individual NetIDs to enter.
    Select "Create Short URL" either at the top right or the bottom center of the page.
    Selection boxes for domain and adminstrators

  5. We are going to only use the "General" tab and ignore the reporting and privileges tabs for now, but you can look into these more if you are interested in the analytics of the Short URL.
    Enter the name for the Short URL, which will be the actual Short URL hyperlink text.
    Enter the long URL being linked to.
    NOTE: The long URL tends to be a copy+pasted web address from a browser address bar, but there may be limitations as to what can be linked this way. For example, if you have logged into an account and are linking something from that page, people who do not have the same account access will not be able to access that content. Learn more here, What is a hyperlink?
    Now, you may choose simply to make a Short URL by hitting "Save" in the top right. Be sure to copythe Short URL at the bottom of the page and testing it out on some web browsers.
    Name selection, Long URL entry, and Description text input boxes. Preview display of generated ShortURL and check box to generate QR code

    Additionally, you may check the QR Code Generator box and then hit "Save"
    Highlighting Save button and QR Code checkbox on Short URL creation page
  6. If you have checked the box and hit "Save", then you should see your new QR code at the very bottom of the page. (You may have to scroll down.) You can always come back to this QR code later but for now, save the image of the QR code and place it wherever you want people to see and use it. You can display it on monitors, smart phones, social media, and other digital displays or you can display it on printed materials such as brochures or signage. The QR code scales up and down pretty well.
    Generated QR code and Short URL

Keywords:WebTools, QR Code, Short URL   Doc ID:126710
Owner:Adam H.Group:University of Illinois School of Information Sciences
Created:2023-03-17 13:47 CDTUpdated:2023-04-04 11:39 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois School of Information Sciences
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