ISSN and barcoding
What is a barcode?
A barcode is the optical translation, in the form of alternating vertical bars and spaces, of a numeric or alphanumeric code which allows the identification of an entity.
What is the relationship between ISSN and barcodes ?The ISSN is used in forming two types of barcodes : EAN 13 codes (for "mass" commercial distribution) and SISAC barcode symbol used by SICI (Serial Item and Contribution Identifier for the identification of articles, mainly articles published in scientist and technical serials, see http://www.issn.org/2-22644-ISSN-and-the-other-bibliographic-identifiers.php for more information).
What is the EAN 13 barcode?The EAN 13 is the commercial distribution code which is the most widely used in the world. We find it on the articles in supermarkets, shops, etc. The EAN 13 (it is called this way because it is a 13 digit code) is managed at the international level by GS1, which is located in Brussels. An agreement has been signed between GS1 and the ISSN International Centre, according to which the ISSN, preceded by the prefix 977 reserved for this purpose, was chosen as the identifying code for serial publications sold in mass distribution outlets (newsagents, supermarkets, etc.) : the ISSN is thus used in forming the EAN 13 codes for serial publications.
The assignment of an ISSN to your serial is a preliminary condition so that you can create the corresponding EAN barcode.
Click here for requesting an ISSN : http://www.issn.org/2-22652-Requesting-an-ISSN.php
What is the syntax of EAN barcodes for serials?
An EAN 13 bar code symbology encodes 13 numerical digits, made up as follows :
· The first three digits are the GS1 prefix 977 assigned for ISSN-based barcodes
· The next seven digits are the ISSN (without the hyphen, and omitting the eighth, check digit) which identifying the serial title.
· The eleventh and twelfth digits are variants, and may be used to express additional information assigned by the publisher. Normally this is to indicate a price change. Their default value is usually « 0 ».
· The final digit is a check digit calculated according to modulo-10. The check digit appearing in the barcode will likely be different from the ISSN check digit.
· It is also possible to use a two- or five-digit add-on to the 13-digit bar code. When used with GS1 prefix 977 assigned for ISSN-based barcodes, the add-on usually indicates the issue number through 2-digits.
(Taken from ISSN ISO standard 3297 : 2007)
How to calculate the check digit (13rd digit of EAN 13 barcodes) ?
A check digit calculator is available on the GS1 International website : it enables to check or calculate the 13rd digit by entering the twelve first digits in the webform :
Who to contact in order to obtain further information about barcodes ?
For further information about barcodes, please contact your GS1 national agency or your ISSN National Centre.
- Addresses of GS1 national agencies : http://www.gs1.org/contact (GS1 International website)
- Addresses of ISSN national centres : http://www.issn.org/2-22666-National-Centres.php
Local press distribution companies may be able to give you general information regarding the barcodes used in your country. Please contact your local authorities in charge of press affairs in order to obtain their addresses.
How to create image files of the barcodes (alternating vertical bars) ?
Once the EAN 13 has been calculated, you have to create the corresponding image files ( vertical bars) which will be reproduced on the cover of your publications. Although it is possible to produce through appropriate desktop applications the image files containing the corresponding barcodes, it is often preferable to order high definition "film masters" from a specialized company.
Please note that the ISSN International Centre does not provide the addresses of these companies.