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July 23, 2010

Tag, You’re It.

Technology will help guide policymakers through a national meeting.

Legislators and legislative staff should make sure they've packed their smartphones before heading off to Louisville, Ky., for the 36th annual National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Legislative Summit, July 25-28.

This year, NCSL will place “tags” or signs in various locations throughout the Kentucky International Center during its three-day meeting. A tag is a barcode that contains encoded information. When a participant takes a picture of the tag with their phone, the information encoded into the tag becomes available on the mobile device.

Users will need to download the Microsoft tag software to their Blackberry, iPhone, Android, EVO or any other smartphone to access the information from a tag sign. The software is free and easy to install. Basic instructions on how to download and use the Microsoft application will be located next to the tag signs at the Convention Center.

“Some of our participants are very active on their mobile phones. By using this technology, we allow them to stay engaged and informed at our meetings,” said Gene Rose, communications director for NCSL.

A tag will be set up for the NCSL Press Room, 113 in the Convention Center. When journalists take a picture of the tag, it will redirect them to a webpage that will list all of the press releases and reports issued at Legislative Summit. There will also be tags for NCSL’s Legislative Summit agenda, website and social media sites, include Twitter and Facebook.

This is the first year NCSL has used the tag technology at its Legislative Summit. Other companies such as Woman’s Day Magazine, IAMS pet food, Golf Digest Magazine and Italian phone directory publisher PAGINE Si! have used tags in recent publications and marketing materials. In addition, cities have provided transit maps and museum interactive exhibits with the tag technology. 

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.