Structured Data in Barcodes


Most of the bar codes we see around us are just a sequence of untyped bytes, the reader might infer their meaning based on the encoding (carrier), or by looking at the bytes – if the content starts with http, it probably is a url.

One example of structured bar code is GS1’s expanded Databar. The code is segmented in various fields, whose type is identified by a number. If you look at the bar code in the image, it contains the following fields:

Type Value Note
02 04049500673266 GTIN of the item in the package
17 200630 Expiration data, 30th of June 2020, not 2006.
37 20 Count of Trade Items. The box actually contains 100 pieces.
10 599692006 Batch Number.

What is interesting is that this product has a PZN, the german medical product identifier, with number 06453501, this number could have been encoded in the Databar, with application/type code 710.

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