European Article Number

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GTIN-13 number encoded in EAN-13 barcode. First digit is always placed outside the symbol, additionally right quiet zone indicator (>) is used to indicate Quiet Zones that are necessary for barcode scanners to work properly.

An EAN-13 barcode (originally European Article Number) is a barcoding standard which is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) system developed in North America. The EAN-13 barcode is defined by the standards organisation GS1. The numbers encoded in EAN-13 bar codes are product identification numbers which are called Japanese Article Number (JAN) in Japan. All the numbers encoded in UPC and EAN barcodes are known as Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN), and they can be encoded in other GS1 barcodes.

The EAN-13 barcodes are used worldwide for marking products often sold at retail point of sale. The less commonly used EAN-8 barcodes are used also for marking retail goods; however, they are usually reserved for smaller items, for example confectionery. The GTIN-13 encoded in the bar code has four components:

  • GS1 Prefix, the first two or three digits, usually identifying the national GS1 Member Organisation to which the manufacturer is registered (not necessarily where the product is actually made). When the EAN-13 symbol encodes a conversion of a 10-digit ISBN number, the GS1 Prefix will be 978 or 979 respectively, or 977 for ISSNs.
  • Company number, consisting of four, five or six digits depending on number of GTIN-13s required by the manufacturer to identify different product lines.
  • Item reference, consisting of two to six digits.
  • Check digit, a single checksum digit. The check digit is computed modulo 10, where the weights in the checksum calculation alternate 1 and 3. In particular, since the weights are relatively prime to 10 the EAN system will detect all single digit errors. But since the difference of consecutive weights is even, the EAN system does not detect all adjacent transposition errors.

The complete number is used as a reference key to look up information about the product line held on a database; the number is never normally broken down into its components within users' systems.

2-digit (EAN 2) and 5-digit (EAN 5) supplemental barcodes may be added for a total of 14 or 17 data digits. These are generally used for periodicals (to indicate the serial number) and books (to indicate the selling price) respectively.


[edit] GS1 Prefixes

The first two or three digits of the GTIN of any product identify the GS1 Member Organisation which the manufacturer has joined. Note that EAN-13 codes beginning with 0 are rarely used, as this is just an addition to a 12-digit UPC. Since most scanners and registers worldwide can read both equally, most manufacturers in North America still only use UPC.

[edit] Encoding EAN13

Encoding EAN-13
the numbers of code L
the numbers of code G
the numbers of code R
Readable and unreadable code

To encode an EAN-13 barcode, the digits are first split into 3 groups, the first digit, the first group of 6 and the last group of 6. The first group of six is encoded using a scheme whereby each digit has two possible encodings, one of which has even parity and one of which has odd parity. The first digit is encoded by selecting a pattern of choices between these two encodings for the next six digits, according to the table below. (Unlike the other digits, the first digit is not represented directly by a pattern of bars.) All digits in the last group of six digits are encoded using a single set of patterns which are the same patterns used for UPC.

If the first digit is zero, all digits in the first group of six are encoded using the patterns used for UPC, hence a UPC barcode is also an EAN-13 barcode with the first digit set to zero.

Structure of EAN-13
First digit First group of 6 digits Last group of 6 digits
Encoding of the digits
Digit L-code G-code R-code
0 0001101 0100111 1110010
1 0011001 0110011 1100110
2 0010011 0011011 1101100
3 0111101 0100001 1000010
4 0100011 0011101 1011100
5 0110001 0111001 1001110
6 0101111 0000101 1010000
7 0111011 0010001 1000100
8 0110111 0001001 1001000
9 0001011 0010111 1110100

Note: Entries in the R-column are bitwise complements of the respective entries in the L-column. Entries in the G-column are the entries in the R-column reversed. See pictures of all codes against a colored background.

[edit] Checksum calculation

The checksum is calculated taking a varying weight value times the value of each number in the barcode to make a sum. The resulting sum modulo 10 (i.e. the last digit) is subtracted from 10, and the result is used as checksum digit (If the new result is 10, then zero is used instead).

[edit] Weight

The weight for a specific position in the EAN-code is either 3 or 1. An EAN18 code starts with a weight of 3. All other valid EAN-codes get their weight values for the position of the code from this table making their code line up to the right:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3

[edit] Calculation

Taking the numbers from an EAN 8 code we get: 7351353 or in the table:

Getting the weights for a barcode
Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Weight 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3
Code 7 3 5 1 3 5 3
Sums 21 3 15 1 9 5 9

The sum from this barcode is then: 63
63 modulo 10 = 3
10 minus 3 makes the checksum = 7

The complete EAN 8 code is then: 73513537

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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