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Barcode Definitions

Below are common terms used in our industry. We have outlined a few in the list below and continue to add to this list in the hope to educate users of certain terms. Let us know if you have any suggestions for below.

Barcode
A symbol of lines or dots that indicates data that can be read by scanning. The very first use of a barcode was in 1974 when National Cash Register Co. installed a UPC scanner at Marsh's which was a supermarket in OH. The first item scanned was chewing gum.
Barcode Label
Material with a adhesive backing that has a printed bar code on the face.
Barcode Printer
A machine used to print the actual barcode on a label or sheet.
Barcode Scanner
A devise used to read the barcode and convert it into text for use in applications.
Barcode Software
A program that resides on a computer or mainframe that interprets text and converts it into barcode symbols.
Direct Thermal
The process of transferring head directly to a heat sensitive surface to make a image.
RFID
Radio Frequency Identification
RFID Reader
A fixed or portable devise that receives the signal from the chip in the tag or label and converts it to data.
RFID Tag
A tag or label with a chip imbedded allowing the label or tag to transmit information.
Thermal Transfer
The process of using heat to transfer ink or resin from a ribbon onto a surface for a bond to make a image.
Barcode Symbology
The code that is used to create the barcode from the text entered.  The tables below link to Wikipedia pages that contain further information. Note: tables below came from Wikipedia and are thus public domain, not copyrighted.

Linear Barcode -  Symbology and Defenition

Plessey
Catalogs, store shelves, inventory
UPC
North America retail
EAN-UCC
Worldwide retail
Codabar
Libraries, blood banks, airbills
Interleaved 2 of 5
Wholesale, Libraries
Code 39
Various
Code 93
Various
Code 128
Various
Code 11
Telephones
Pharmacode
Pharmaceutical Packaging
POSTNET
Post office
PostBar
Post office
CPC Binary
Post office
Telepen
Libraries, etc (UK)

Stacked symbologies consist of a given linear symbology repeated vertically in multiple.

Stacked Barcodes - Symbology and Defenition

Codablock
Stacked 1D barcodes.
Code 16K
Based on 1D Code 128.
Code 49
Stacked 1D barcodes from Intermec Corp.
PDF417
The most common 2D barcode. Public domain.
Micro PDF417
 

A matrix code, also known as a 2D barcode, is a two-dimensional way of representing information. It is similar to a linear (1-dimensional) barcode, but has more data representation capability.

2D Barcodes - Symbology and Defenition

3-DI
Developed by Lynn Ltd.
Adobe LiveCycle
From Adobe Systems.
ArrayTag
From ArrayTech Systems.
Aztec Code
Designed by Andrew Longacre at Welch Allyn (now Hand Held Products). Public domain.
Small Aztec Code
Space conscious version of Aztec code.
Bullseye
This was the barcode tested in a Kroger store in Cincinnati. It used concentric bars.
Codablock
Stacked 1D barcodes.
Code 1
Public domain.
Code 16K
Based on 1D Code 128.
Code 49
Stacked 1D barcodes from Intermec Corp.
CP Code
From CP Tron, Inc.
DataGlyphs
From Xerox PARC.
Datamatrix
From RVSI Acuity CiMatrix. Now Public Domain.
Datastrip Code
From Datastrip, Inc.
Dot Code A
Designed for the unique identification of items.
HueCode
From Robot Design Associates. Uses greyscale or colour.
INTACTA.CODE
From INTACTA Technologies, Inc.
MaxiCode
Used by United Parcel Service. Now Public Domain
MiniCode
From Omniplanar, Inc.
PDF417
Originated by Symbol Technologies Public Domain. The most common 2D barcode.
Micro PDF417
Facilitates codes too small to be used in PDF417.
QR Code
From Nippondenso ID Systems. Can encode Japanese Kanji and Kana characters. Public domain.
Semacode
Open standard for picture cell phones
SmartCode
From InfoImaging Technologies.
Snowflake Code
From Marconi Data Systems, Inc.
SpotCode
Circular barcodes for camera phones from High Energy Magic Ltd and now Shotcode.
SuperCode
Public domain.
UltraCode
Black-and-white & colour versions. Public domain. Invented by Jeffrey Kaufman and Clive Hohberger.
VeriCode, VSCode
From Veritec, Inc.