Best UPC Lookup – UPC Code Lookup, EAN & ASIN

UPC (Universal Product Code) is a barcode standard used in the USA. The main purpose is to track goods in retail chains. UPC barcodes are used to label and scan consumer products at points of sale worldwide, mainly in the United States, but also in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. The UPC-A variant encodes 12 digits, while the UPC-E is a smaller variant that encodes only 6 digits.

EAN (European Article Number) – used for labeling consumer goods around the world, especially in Europe. They are very similar to UPC codes, and the main difference is their geographical application. Although EAN-13 (13 digits) is the default form factor, you will find EAN-8 barcodes (including 8 digits) on products whose packaging has a fairly limited space, such as small candies.

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) is a unique product code that is generated automatically when a product is added to Amazon. It searches for products on the Amazon website. For many services and applications working with Amazon, just the ASIN code is enough to find a product or show analytics for this product. Similarly, Amazon customers often do not search by product name, but by ASIN code (if they know this code).

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) – the number of the book edition needed to distribute the book in retail chains and automate work with the publication. The international standard book number is part of the so-called publishing package, as well as the library and bibliographic classification index (BBK), universal decimal classification (UDC) and the copyright mark. Simply put, information about the book (title, author’s name, information about the editorial office) is encrypted in the ISBN code.

The history of the appearance and development of barcodes

A barcode is an optical, machine-readable dataset. Data usually contains information about an object that carries a barcode. Initially, barcodes systematically represented data by changing the width and spacing of parallel lines and may be referred to as linear or one-dimensional (1D).

Later two-dimensional (2D) codes were developed using rectangles, dots, hexagons, and other geometric patterns in two dimensions. At first, barcodes were designed to be scanned by special optical scanners called barcode readers. Later, software for smartphones appeared that can read code using the device’s camera.

The early use of one type of barcode in an industrial context was organized by the American Railways Association in the late 1960s. This scheme, developed by General Telephone and Electronics (GTE), called CarTrak ACI (Automatic Vehicle Identification), included the placement of color bars in various combinations on steel plates that were attached to the sides of a railway rolling stock.

For each carriage, two plates were used, one on both sides. They were marked with color bars encoding information such as ownership (who owned the train), type of equipment and identification number. The signs were read by a track scanner located, for example, at the entrance to the classification yard, while the car was moving past. The project was abandoned after about ten years, because after prolonged use the system turned out to be unreliable.

Barcodes became commercially successful when they were used to automate supermarket systems. Their use has spread to many other industries, which in general can be called automatic identification and data collection (AIDC). The first scan of such a ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) was on a pack of Wrigley chewing gum in June 1974.

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