Bar codes have become an essential part of our daily lives, appearing on almost every product sold in retail stores such as SM Supermalls. A bar code is a machine-readable code that consists of parallel lines, bars, or spaces that represent data. In this guide, we will provide an in-depth overview of bar codes, including their history, how they work, and the different types used today. We will also discuss the most popular bar codes in the Philippines market, the European Article Number (EAN) bar code, as well as the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), and Quick Response (QR) codes.
History of Bar Codes
The concept of bar codes dates back to the 1940s when Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver invented the first code. They created a code that could be read by a machine, which would eliminate the need for manual entry of product data. The first bar code consisted of lines of varying widths, which could represent different numbers and letters. Today, barcodes have evolved into a variety of formats and are used in a wide range of industries, including retail, logistics, healthcare, and manufacturing.
EAN Bar Codes for Products
In the Philippines market, the most common type of barcode used in retail stores is the EAN bar code. The UPC code was first introduced in the United States in the 1970s and is a 12-digit code that is unique to each product. The EAN code, which is used in Europe and other countries including the Philippines, is a 13-digit code that is also unique to each product.
These bar codes are used to identify products and prices at the checkout counter. They are scanned by a bar code reader, which retrieves the product information from a database and calculates the price.
ISBN and ISSN Codes
For books and magazines, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) are used. In the Philippines market, these codes are commonly used in bookstores, libraries, and other institutions. The ISBN is a 13-digit code that identifies a specific edition of a book, while the ISSN is an eight-digit code that identifies a specific magazine or periodical.
QR codes are another popular type of barcode that is used in the Philippines market and were extensively used during the COVID pandemic. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can store much more data than traditional barcodes. They are often used in marketing and advertising to provide additional information or to direct users to a website. QR codes can be scanned using a smartphone or other mobile device, making them a convenient way to access information on the go.
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