UPC-A is used for marking products which are sold at retail in the USA. The barcode identifies the manufacturer and specific product so point-of-sale cash register systems can automatically look up the price. Note that the UPC-A and EAN-13 codes are valid worldwide, so products marked with a UPC-A code can be sold outside the USA. The UPC-A Code and the assignment of manufacturer ID numbers is administered by GS1.
The UPC-E code is a compressed barcode which is intended for use on physically small items. Compression works by squeezing extra zeroes out of the barcode and then automatically re-inserting them at the scanner. Only barcodes containing zeroes are candidates for the UPC-E symbol. GS1 is very stingy when it comes to handing out manufacturer ID numbers that are rich in zeroes; these are reserved manufacturers of products which have a genuine need for the UPC-E symbol. If you need a small symbol, tell GS1 when you apply for a manufacturer's ID number and be prepared to substantiate your need.
January 1, 2005 is the date by which all retail scanning systems in the USA were required to accept the EAN-13 symbol as well as the standard UPC-A.
UPC-A encodes 12 numeric digits. The first digit identifies the number system:
The next group of digits identifies the manufacturer. This number is assigned by GS1, and can be from 5 to 8 digits in length. The longer the manufacturer ID, the fewer digits available to the manufacturer for identifying individual products.
|Manufacturer ID Length||Item ID Length|
The checksum is a Modulo 10 calculation.
1. Add the values of the digits in positions 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
2. Multiply this result by 3.
3. Add the values of the digits in positions 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10.
4. Sum the results of steps 2 and 3.
5. The check character is the smallest number which, when added to the result in step 4, produces a multiple of 10.
Example: Assume the barcode data = 01234567890
1. 0 + 2 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 0 = 20
2. 20 X 3 = 60
3. 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 = 25
4. 60 + 25 = 85
5. 85 + X = 90 (next highest multiple of 10), therefore X = 5 (checksum)
|Code||Audio Recordings||Video Recordings|
|1||12" LP or 12" single||12" CDV|
|2||CD, CD-ROM, CDI, VCD||n/a|
|4||Cassette, Maxi-Cassette, Cassette Single||n/a|
|9||DVD (all music formats)||DVD music video|
Books are generally marked with Bookland EAN barcodes.