For information about Barcode Symbologies and Specifications, please view page 9 and 10 of the Barcode Educational Guide.
BARCODE SYMBOLOGY AND SPECIFICATION
If you are a bit confused, do not worry, Barcode Symbologies and Specifications can be very confusing. I am going to explain the difference between a barcode symbology and a barcode specification.
A barcode symbology is basically a type of barcode. For example, UPC, Data Matrix, QR Code, and Code 128 are types of barcodes.
Code 128 barcode.
A barcode specification is a way a particular industry creates the barcode using a barcode symbology/type. For example, SSCC18 is an example of a specification created from the Code 128 symbology.
Think of Code 128 as a hamburger broken down in its simplest form: a bun and a burger. It is a type of food. Or, in the case of Code 128, a type of barcode.
Think of a specification as a particular way the barcode (hamburger) is made; the toppings used to make up the hamburger. For example, cheese, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes.
Let's call SSCC18 a hamburger with cheese (a cheeseburger). It is a specification that is created from a type/symbology (hamburger).
A symbology such as Code 128 may have several specific requirements just as a food item, such as a hamburger, may have different a combination of ingredients.
For example SSCC18 (cheeseburger), SCC14 (hamburger with lettuce and tomatoes), and GS1-128 (mustard and ketchup).
Code 39 is a barcode type that also creates several specifications including LOGMARS (Logistics Applications of Automated Marking and Reading Symbols) and HIBC (Health Industry Barcode).
LOGMARS is a specification used by the United States Department of Defense.
HIBC is a specification used by the Healthcare Industry.
Ultimately, a specification (standard) is how the data is handled using the symbology/type. SSCC18 is a barcode specification that identifies an Application Identifier and calculates a check digit based on 17 digits. SCC14 is a barcode specification that identifies an Application Identifier and calculates a check digit based on 13 digits. So, it is slightly different than SSCC18 just as a cheeseburger is slightly different than a hamburger with lettuce and tomatoes.
It is possible for a symbology to have 100s of different standards.
If you are unsure which barcode type to use for the specification that you need to generate, please refer to your specifications guide or contact us.
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