Global Trade Item Number

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Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an identifier for trade items developed by GS1 (comprising the former EAN International and Uniform Code Council). Such identifiers are used to look up product information in a database (often by inputting the number through a bar code scanner pointed at an actual product) which may belong to a retailer, manufacturer, collector, researcher, or other entity. The uniqueness and universality of the identifier is useful in establishing which product in one database corresponds to which product in another database, especially across organizational boundaries.

GTIN is an "umbrella" term used to describe the entire family of GS1 data structures for trade items (products and services) identification. GTINs may be 8, 12, 13 or 14 digits long, and can be constructed using any of four numbering structures, depending upon the exact application. GTIN-8s will be encoded in an EAN-8 bar code. GTIN-12s may be shown in UPC-A, ITF-14, or GS1-128 bar codes. GTIN-13s may be encoded in EAN-13, ITF-14 or GS1-128 bar codes, and GTIN-14s may be encoded in ITF-14 or GS1-128 bar codes. The choice of bar code will depend on the application; for example, items to be sold at a retail should be marked with EAN-8, EAN-13, UPC-A or UPC-E bar codes.

The EAN-8 code is an eight-digit bar code used usually for very small articles, such as chewing gum, where fitting a larger code onto the item would be difficult.

The numbering structure is as follows:

  • Indicator digit, used for GTIN-14, "0" to "8" indicates a packaging level and "9" a variable measure item. There is however, no world-wide consensus on which number indicates which packaging level and in some countries (Germany) a leading zero is used independently from item hierarchy.
  • GS1 Company Prefix.
  • Item (product or service) reference number. This part of the numbering structure is allocated by the user company. Each different type of trade item is allocated a different number and, for ease of administration, it is recommended that companies do this sequentially (001, 002, 003, etc.).
  • And a check digit, the last one, which follows a standard GS1 algorithm.

All books and serial publications sold internationally (including those in U.S. stores) have GTIN (GTIN-13) codes. The book codes are either constructed by prefixing the old ISBN 10 number with 978, and recalculating the trailing check digit, or from 1 January 2007 issued as thirteen digits starting with 978 (eventually 979 as the 978 ranges are used up).

Since each type of trade item is given its own GTIN, it may be helpful to note that the term trade item refers to any product or service upon which there is a need to retrieve pre-defined information; this product or service may be priced, ordered, or invoiced at any point in the supply chain. This includes individual items as well as all of their different packaging configurations.

In February 2005, employees and booksellers of Barnes & Noble were informed that beginning at the end of March, their computer systems were going to add the ability to search by EAN to facilitate a switch over to the EAN (sometimes called ISBN 13 when used for books) from the current standard of ISBN 10 codes. Receipts will now list the EAN number, rather than the ISBN 10 number. Since all existing 10-digit ISBN codes are mapped to a subset of the space of 13-digit EANs, booksellers' computer systems will still be able to search by ISBN (and UPC in the music departments) to help booksellers locate older books that have not been assigned an EAN.

By January 1, 2005 the U.S. ISBN agency requires publishers be able to communicate ISBNs as GTIN-13s. The new 979 prefix for publications will be available on January 1, 2007 or upon eventual assignment of the last 978 prefix.

[edit] Prefixes

Each country gets one or several three digit prefixes assigned. List of GS1 country codes

Some special ranges exist. The usage for some is GS1 Member Organisation (GS1 MO) specific:

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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