Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Scantastic Way to Link Print, Web

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Scantastic Way to Link Print, Web

Article excerpt

'The Post and Courier' scores first in GoCodes race

The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., is the first paper to link readers to the Internet with a "GoCode." No, it's nothing like the top- secret go code from the classic Stanley Kubrick movie "Dr. Strangelove" that helped launch a nuclear attack. GoCodes, created by GoCode Inc., also in Charleston, are tiny bar codes printed in the paper that can be scanned -- by handheld wands -- to take readers to related content on the Web. For instance, a woman reading an article about a new cancer drug can scan a bar code to find related Web content with more information about the drug. She is transported to the Web instantly, without having to type in the uniform resource locator (URL) herself.

The Post and Courier began the venture last Monday, inserting three bar codes in the paper that took readers to its Web weather page and home page (http:// www.charleston.net). On Tuesday, 12 bar codes appeared, and on Wednesday, there were 20 as the paper linked readers to sports, business, and other pages on its site. The paper is establishing links to all kinds of content, even its obituary page, which Alan Seim, the paper's director of Internet operations, called one of the most popular parts of its site.

"We're excited about the idea of technology that links print to the Net," he said. "It gives our readers a real extra."

Readers use a penlike wand to scan the bar codes. GoCode is distributing the wands free in the Charleston area. It has given out 100 so far, and plans to give away about 3,000 within the next few months. "They're willing to assume the cost now for testing purposes," Seim said. "They want to get them in the hands of subscribers with different types of computer set-ups." The company could sell the devices later, he said.

GoCode is a 3-year-old company that developed this particular bar-code technology . "It is not one-dimensional like the bar code on a soup can," said Prioleau Alexander, GoCode's vice president of marketing. "It holds letters, numbers, sentences, and paragraphs, and is designed to work within a publisher's standards."

The Post and Courier writes the Web site name into each code it prints in the paper. …

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