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.
Please contact GS1 for any for any queries regarding barcodes specifically.
What is a barcoding "symbology"?
There are several "symbologies" in barcoding which correspond to different coding requirements (quantity of information, length of the barcode, etc.). There are two symbologies, used for the ISSN based barcoding of issues of serial publications : the EAN 13 (for "mass" commercial distribution) and the 128 code (SICI based barcoding for scientific and technical publications mainly distributed through subscriptions).
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 to be bought in supermarkets, shops, etc. The EAN 13 (it is called this way because it is a 13 digit code) is managed at 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 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.
How can ISSN based EAN 13 barcodes be obtained for a serial publication?
The publisher should first check the ISSN of the publication. It is then necessary to contact the local press distribution company to obtain the detailed specifications concerning the numbering scheme, the handling of the price codes, etc. The National ISSN Centre of the country concerned (or the ISSN International Centre in Paris) may also be contacted in order to calculate the EAN 13 barcodes for the different issues of the serial. 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.