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Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an identifier for trade items, developed by GS1. Such identifiers are used to look up product information in a database (often by entering the number through a barcode 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.
The GTIN standard has incorporated the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), International Standard Music Number (ISMN), International Article Number (which includes the European Article Number and Japanese Article Number) and some Universal Product Codes, into a universal number space.
GTINs may be 8, 12, 13 or 14 digits long, and each of these four numbering structures are constructed in a similar fashion, combining Company Prefix, Item Reference and a calculated Check Digit (GTIN-14 adds another component- the Indicator Digit, which can be 1-8). GTIN-8s will be encoded in an EAN-8 barcode. GTIN-12s may be shown in UPC-A, ITF-14, or GS1-128 barcodes. GTIN-13s may be encoded in EAN-13, ITF-14 or GS1-128 barcodes, and GTIN-14s may be encoded in ITF-14 or GS1-128 barcodes. The choice of barcode will depend on the application; for example, items to be sold at a retail establishment could be marked with EAN-8, EAN-13, UPC-A or UPC-E barcodes.
The EAN-8 code is an eight-digit barcode used usually for very small articles, such as chewing gum, where fitting a larger code onto the item would be difficult. Note: the equivalent UPC small format barcode, UPC-E, encodes a GTIN-12 with a special Company Prefix that allows for "zero suppression" of four zeros in the GTIN-12. The GS1 encoding/decoding rules state that the entire GTIN-12 is used for encoding and that the entire GTIN-12 is to be delivered when scanned.
Format and encodings
|Name||Former names||Barcode symbologies|
|GTIN-14 (used for wholesale shipments, not retail point of sale)||EAN/UCC-14, SCC-14, DUN-14, UPC Case Code, UPC Shipping Container Code||GS1-128, GS1 Databar, ITF-14|
|GTIN-13||EAN, EAN·UCC-13, JAN (subset)||EAN-13|
|GTIN-12||EAN·UCC-12, UCC-12||UPC-A, UPC-E (condensed to 6 digits)|
Note that GTIN-12 and GTIN-13 numbers can be encoded as GTIN-13 or GTIN-14 by adding initial padding zeroes. For GTIN-14, this indicates a "packaging level" of a single item.
|Number system||GTIN format|
|Position of digits||T1||T2||T3||T4||T5||T6||T7||T8||T9||T10||T11||T12||T13||T14|
The numbering structure is as follows:
- T1 - Indicator digit, used for GTIN-14, "1" to "8" indicates a packaging level and "9" a variable measure item. Zero in this position is not considered an Indicator Digit, but rather a pad or fill zero. There is however, no worldwide consensus on which number indicates which packaging level and no significance should be built into this number.
- T2 through T13 GS1 Company Prefix & Item (product or service) reference number. The GS1 Company Prefix is allocated to the member company and the Item Reference is allocated by the user company. The length of each of these elements varies in length depending on the length of the allocated GS1 Company Prefix. 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.).
- T14 is a check digit, which follows the standard modulo 10 calculation.
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 10-digit ISBN 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).
Each type of trade item is given its own GTIN, with the understanding that there is a potential need to retrieve pre-defined information from such items; 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.
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.[needs update]
Each country has one or several blocks of GS1 Company Prefixes to assign.
Some special ranges exist. The usage for some is GS1 Member Organisation (GS1 MO) specific. The GS1 Company Prefixes that begin with the 3 digits listed below are used to construct what are considered RCN's (Restricted Circulation/Distribution Numbers) or are specific to a particular industry, such as the publishing industry:
- 020 – 029 Restricted distribution (GS1 MO defined)
- 040 – 049 Restricted distribution (GS1 MO defined)
- 050 – 059 Coupons
- 200 – 299 Restricted distribution (GS1 MO defined)
- 977 Serial publications International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
- 978 – 979 Bookland International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
- 9790 International Standard Music Number (ISMN)
- 980 Refund receipts
- 981 – 982 Common Currency Coupons
- 990 – 999 Coupons
Comparison of UPC, EAN and GTIN
The Universal Product Code (UPC) has been a dominant barcode standard in North America since it was established in the 1970s. It encodes a 12 digit number (GTIN-12), unique to a product, which allows it to be scanned and read in virtually any major retail establishment. A 6 digit "zero-suppressed" version (UPC-E) is available for items which are too small to allow the larger UPC-A version to be printed.
The EAN-13 and EAN-8 are other point of sale barcodes that are widely used outside of North America. A UPC formed in the United States can be transformed into an EAN by prefixing it with a zero.
- Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN)
- Global Electronic Party Information Register (GEPIR) a searchable distributed database of GS1 codes
- Part number