Bar codes are machine-readable images composed of thin lines of various thicknesses that encode an ISBN, usually found printed on the back cover. When read by electronic till equipment, they become an essential part of bookseller’s epos systems for monitoring sales, stock control, and inventory control – as well as being utilized by distribution centers for various functions like processing returns.
Barcodes are machine-readable optical symbols that represent data about an object attached to them. Barcodes originally meant this data by altering the width and spacings of parallel lines systematically; these one-dimensional (1D) representations may also come with squares, dots, and hexagonal patterns within images known as two-dimensional (2D) matrix codes or symbologies – though technically, these two-dimensional systems use various symbols but they’re all generally known as barcodes as well.
Barcode systems were first commercially introduced during the mid-20th century, and today, they’re used across numerous fields, such as retail packaging, warehouse tracking, and patient identification in hospitals. Various standards are currently used; the most prevalent are Code 128, GS1-128, GS1 DataBar, ITF-14 UPC-A UPC-E EAN 8-13 ISBN.
Barcodes have many uses in various applications, including:
- Retail: Universal Product Code (UPC) barcodes are popularly utilized at point-of-sale (POS) systems across North America for tracking store trade items.
- Warehousing: Many warehouses use barcodes to track inventory entering and leaving their facilities.
- Hospital patient ID: As per the HIPAA in the US, patient identifiers such as barcodes are necessary to protect patient privacy and limit medical errors.
- Airline bags: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed a barcode standard for baggage tagging.